I love well-designed, beautiful, and unique products. So, when my friend sent me an image of a gorgeous lampshade and asked me if I could make one for her, I happily agreed! The lampshade was for her nursery, but it took me a few months to collect enough egg cartons, so I totally missed the deadline. Nonetheless, the lampshade was made and my new Thomas Shade, in honour of gorgeous baby Thomas, is proudly hanging in the playroom.
How to make your own designer half-dome paper maché lamp shade
You will need:
- Egg Cartons – lots and lots of them. I used about 30 large trays, but it all depends on the size of your lampshade.
- A packet of wallpaper glue powder
- 1 cup cold glue
- Yoga Ball
- Spray paint: I used matt black for the outside and dayglow yellow for the inside.
- Light cord and bulb
Tear the egg cartons into smaller pieces and throw them in a bucket. Then cover them with water and let it soak for 24 hours.
Use an electric mixer to beat the mixture to a pulp, roughly the consistency of sloppy oatmeal.
This is where it gets awesome! Add the packet of wallpaper glue powder, and use your hands to mix it up. It feels wonderfully gooey! Or you can use a wooden spoon, but hands are much better 😉
Let it rest for a while according to the instructions on the wallpaper glue manufacturer’s packaging. In the meantime, blow up the yoga ball and prepare your work surface: it’s going to get messy! I placed my yoga ball inside a flat bowl to prevent it from rolling around.
When the mixture is ready, add the cold glue and mix well. Then start creating the lampshade by applying handfuls of the paper maché to the yoga ball. It sticks remarkably easy and really goes quick. You are only going to create 1 layer* so make sure that you are happy with the thickness.
REMEMBER TO LEAVE A SMALL AREA AT THE TOP WHERE THE ELECTRICAL CORD IS GOING TO BE INSTALLED.
Allow to dry. This could take anything from 24 hours to 5 days, depending on your atmospheric moisture. My shade took 3 days, and when I took it off it was still wet on the inside and therefore very fragile. I placed it upside down inside a large bowl and left it for another 2 days.
Once everything is thoroughly dry, deflate the ball just a little and use your hand to loosen the edges of the lampshade.
Then slowly deflate the ball, ensuring that the lampshade doesn’t stick to it.
Use the electrical fitting as a template to ensure that the hole left at the top is large enough.
Spray the inside and outside in the colours of your choice.
Attach the electrical light cord, get an electrician to install, and switch on!
* I had to make this lampshade 3 TIMES before it worked. VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: you can’t add a second layer when the first one is dry. The moisture from the pulp makes the first layer soggy and then the whole thing falls apart.
** Explain to your kids that they cannot play with the yoga ball while mommy is busy with the project. You’d think this is obvious, but in my experience, it isn’t 😉