After my last tirade, I think it’s about time we did something lovely with beads and ribbon.
The Wartime Housewife has a bit of a taste for the Victorian, but she does like shiny things. I detest harsh lighting, so tend to have lots of table lamps dotted about so that the light can be both subtle and adaptable to one’s activities. But table lamps are often very expensive and even plain shades are rarely less than £7 or £8.
My first port of call whenever I need anything new in the household department is the local tip. Many council tips now have a shop where one can buy all sorts of useful things that often just need a good scrub down or a coat of paint and are very reasonably priced. Charity shops don’t sell electricals so leave those out, but car boot sales and jumble sales are full of treasures. I found the lamp (incl the shade) featured in this article at a local antique/collectable shop for £2.50. It should have been £3 but naturally I haggled. Always haggle – you’ve nothing to lose.
Lamps are so hard to photograph so I’ll describe it. It has a marble base, a crystal stem and a plain shade. I have decorated several lamps before using crystal drops and mirrored ribbon and I had just the corner to put it in.
I bought the ribbon with crystal drops and the mirrored ribbon from a haberdashery stall at the market for about £2.00/metre each. A good haberdasher is a wonderful thing and it’s worth wandering round these and other craft shops just to see what they have in stock and one can get so many ideas just from seeing what’s available. I like bold, sparkly things but you may like something more subtle, so look around and see what there is. Measure your lampshade circumference top and bottom and then get half a metre more than you actually need, just in case. Any spare will always come in useful for other projects.
The next essential is a hot glue gun. These are available from all good craft shops and I would recommend getting a small one which is light in your hand and can do finer work. Mine cost about £5 and the replacement glue sticks are around £2.25. The glue sets very quickly so you can attach things to each other without having to stand there like Soft Ned while everything sets. Take some time to practice with it first on scraps of fabric or card until you get the hang of it. You do get tiny strands of glue hanging about but these pull of easily when you’ve finished. Do remember that this is a HOT GLUE gun and be careful as the glue will be unsurprisingly hot.
Firstly, lay out your beaded ribbon, right side up. Starting at the seam of the shade, apply two thin parallel lines of hot glue, the width of the ribbon, to the base of the shade about 2″ (5cm) at a time. Apply the ribbon immediately and do another strip. I would recommend NOT cutting the ribbon to the circumference of the shade as you will waste less this way. Work you way along the base of the shade, pressing the ribbon down firmly, until you come back to the seam. Cut the ribbon neatly, allowing a small overlap.
Then do the same with the mirrored ribbon, making sure you cover the ribbon neatly underneath. Pull off any tiny strands of glue. You could try layering the beaded ribbon to create a cascade effect or even using two colours which would look very dramatic.
And that’s it, and it took about half an hour. As I say, lamps are difficult to photograph, especially at 11.30 at night when my eyes feel like they’ve been sandpapered, but it really does
look very effective.
Switch off the television and do something creative instead, it’s incredibly satisfying. Put your own stamp on things; it doesn’t have to be perfect and it’ll be a heck of a lot more interesting than some homogenous lump of plastic from Ikea.