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A different lamp

*Versión en español aquí*

I made this craft six years ago. I was about to leave my parents’ home to start university, and I wanted something to decorate my new room. I had some weird idea that after talking to the family’s handyman started looking more feasible. It took several days of work and we had to solve some unexpected problems, but the result was pretty similar to the original idea:

Lámpara papel maché

I used the following materials:
1) An old plastic mug (one that you don’t like too much…)
2) Wire
3) Newspapers, kitchen paper, liquid glue, water, a brush and a container (for making papier mache)
4) A glass sphere or similar element (the idea started when I saw the egg-shaped glass globe at home). As our handyman said, this was the bulb of a lamp from a street lamp post, something that can be found at waste recycling centers. First, we’ll have to remove the metallic base using an emery, and then carefully remove the white powder that covers the inner side of the globe.
5) Glass paint, and tempera or acrylics.
6) A bulb and some electric cables.

First of all, we remove the mug handle. Then we use the wire around the mug to shape the arms and legs of the lamp. We use newspaper balls to add volume to the wire structure. After that, we make the papier mache mix and start applying it with pieces of newspaper to the structure. At this step it may all seem chaotic and about to collapse, but don’t lose hope!

This step requires some patience, and we may need some days to apply several layers of papier mache, since each layer should be dry before applying a new one. We should keep an eye on the shape of the arms that will hold the glass globe, since they may go out of shape. To avoid that, we can try periodically to fit the glass globe in the structure and thus correct any deformation before it turns permanent. When working with papier mache, I always start using newspaper that is a tough material and makes the structure strong, and finish using kitchen or toilet paper that is soft and allows making little details and getting a smooth finishing touch.

While the papier mache is drying, we can dye the glass globe. We decided to do it in the inside to make it easier to clean the lamp once it was finished. To get an even result we can put some paint inside the globe and start spinning it so the paint can cover all the surface. If there’s too much paint we can just let the excess drop out of the globe. We let it dry and repeat the process several times, since the paint is quite light.

When the papier mache is dry, we can paint and decorate it.

Now if we are not very skilled on electrical works we can ask (as I did) for some help to install the bulb and the electric cables. It is important to choose an energy-efficient (we want our lamp to be as “green” as possible) long light bulb, so that it fits in the base of the glass globe.

And finally, we only need to find a nice place for our new lamp. Maybe we won’t be able to use it for reading at bed, but it will provide a soft light that will make our room look very cozy =)

Lámpara 2 @

Unfortunately, and even using a special packaging for it, after five years of using and moving it to different homes the glass globe cracked. We took it to the emergency room and now it seems healthy, although it cannot travel any more. We’ll keep it well protected and stored until we find a definitive place for it.

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  1. Pingback: Una lámpara diferente | El Taller de Nelumbonita

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