Wednesday, January 7, 2009

On calendars, lampshades and lessons learned

Within the pile of old calendars I had amassed, there was one which particularly appealed to my 10 year old apprentice. It was full of flowers, butterflies, twinkles and a little fairy with attitude, called Tinkerbell. What to do with these nice big images full of Tink-a-tude? My apprentice and I decided to cover her old lampshade with Tink. So we set about tearing off the old fabric from the shade and stripped it down to a tacky, sticky, plastic shell. We chose 4 pages from the calendar that we thought wouldn't be too dark to have on a lampshade. Then we measured the shade and cut the paper into lampshade shaped panels. We got two foam brushes and proceeded to paint some ModPodge onto a section of the shade. Having quickly covered an area with glue, we pressed on one of the cut pages. We smoothed it and and admired the first stage of our project taking shape. As soon as our smiles had formed, they quickly faded as Tink became covered in puckers and wrinkles that no amount of smoothing would remove. So we made the decision to peel the page off the lamp. This wasn't working...

So we thought and thought and finally we agreed to try a different glue, our Perfect Paper Adhesive, which my apprentice fetched, along with two new foam brushes. We squeezed the glue onto the lampshade and proceeded to spread a nice thin coat then we slapped on a pic of Tink again. This time Tink was lifting off, curling up around the edges. She wasn't sticking at all! It seems that this time the glue was drying quicker than we could apply the image. Back to the drawing board again as we peeled Tink off for the second time. Tink was getting ticked.

I didn't want to use a glue stick because it tends to become loose after a while. Finally my apprentice suggested the Xyron. That just might work. It took a bit of trimming on the paper panels but we got them down to just the right size to fit through the adhesive rollers. She cranked Tink through, we peeled, applied and voila! A Tinkerbell lamp! We cut out a few extra flowers and butterflies from the calendar and stuck them here and there on the newly covered shade. We also punched holes in some of the twinkles in the images to let extra light through. The apprentice was very happy with our project.

Lessons learned? Well besides the glue issues, when the lamp is on, you can't see Tink at all. What you see instead is the calendar dates and writing on the back side of the paper. But that doesn't really matter in the end. Our purpose was to re-use something that was bound for the garbage, and we made a lamp prettier than it was before, and I know a 10 year old apprentice who is very pleased with that.

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