Monday 7 February 2011

DIY Lamp

Happy Monday! Once again the weekend was far too short. The weather was lovely, fresh but blue skies. We went to a wildlife park with the boys on Sunday and stopped by at my parents house for a traditional german "Kaffee und Kuchen" (coffee and cake).

Today I want to share a DIY project with you. This is my second attempt at making a string lamp. The first one I made about 2 years ago collapsed on me after a few months. I wasn't sure why but it was either not wrapped tightly enough or the thread was synthetic and didn't absorb the glue properly.

So after we had a bare bulb hanging of our double height ceiling for ages I finally got my act together and had another go.

For anyone looking at making one, it's pretty easy but does require a bit of time and lots of patience.

You will need:
a gym ball (or if you want to do a mini version a balloon or any deflatable ball will do)
2 buckets
1 packet of wallpaper glue
about 5 rolls of cotton wool yarn (I used crochet wool at 1 Euro each)

  • First cover the entire ball in vaseline (this helps prevent the wool sticking to it when you deflate it.
  • Draw a round circle of about 15cm to leave for the opening.
  • Mix your wallpaper glue in a bucket and soak the wool in it. 
  • Start wrapping tightly. (I did this while the ball sat on a bucket)
  • The tighter you wrap the ball the stronger the lamp will be. 
  • Leave to dry for at least 2 days.
  • Deflate the ball and pull it out.
  • You can wash and re-use your gym ball afterwards.

Turning the shape into an actual lamp was my husbands superb job. Being an electrical engineer he's very good in that department. I'll try and explain how he put the fitting in, but I suggest you get it done by someone who knows what they are doing to prevent injury.

We used a white metal ring that sits inside the opening and is about 2 cm wider than the opening. I attached the ring to the lamp with thin cotton thread. We used a basic fitting from IKEA and attached it to the ring with some wire. I would also recommend using a dimmable bulb as that makes for a much nicer light at night.

Even though they are having a bit of a revival, string lamps have been around for a long time. I remember having a small one in my kids bedroom that my mum and dad made with coloured string - that was in the 80s. 

Moooi sells this style of lamp if you don't want to go through the hassle of making one.



Anette Willemine said...

It is such a simple and elegant shape to your lamp. I love to try your way of doing it. :)

Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!
If I get it right I will put it on my blog and on Stylizimo. :)

You are welcome to visit my blog as well!

Anette Willemine :)

Monica said...

Die ist aber wunderschoen geworden!!

Claudia said...

Hi Nina,
Just bought everything I need to create a lamp like yours. It's gorgeous.
I have a couple of questions
a) How thick does the glue have to be? As advised on package for glueing wallpaper to the wall?
b) Is a 15" round balloon a good size or could the lamp melt with a 100W bulb in it?
c) Any other tips?

Thanks heaps!


Nina - Living In said...

Hi Claudia,
I hope you get this reply.
I didn't really follow the instructions on the packet to mix the glue but instead just went by what felt right. It ended up being really quite thick and I ran the string through my fingers (wearing gloves) to get rid of any lumps or access glue.
My lamp measures about 1 meter in diameter and I used a dimmable light as it didn't want it to be too glary - I never have it on full brightness as you would end up looking straight into the light.
The most important thing is to use lots of string and make sure it's even and there are no weak areas where it might "cave in".
Good luck and I hope you have fun with the finished lamp.

Claudia said...

First try was a train wreck... Used too much glue and didn't manage to get the strings to stay n the ball when trying to achieve the nice criss cross pattern you did. Will have another go tonight. You are right, it takes practise. But good fun though and I'll get there ;-) Thanks for sharing this DIY idea.


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