Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Housefrau’s Craft Corner: Let’s Ruin a Lampshade!

Let’s face facts, people: I am not what one would call “competent.” Sure, I’d like to make gorgeous crafty/arty type objects with which to dazzle my friends and family. I’d love to be handy with a knitting needle like this lady or be brilliant with household waste like this lady or even just moderately inventive like these folks.

But the fact is, I’m a mess in the crafty department. Mostly I make stuff to give my mom and dad as presents, since they seem to interpret my lack of skill as “precious.” I did recently make a magnet out of a Barbie leg and a plastic horse, but the glue didn’t hold. Of course, the glue I got all over the kitchen table while making the magnet held just fine, and continues to do so.

Today, however, I was going to take a bold step into the artistic world and paint something for display in my own home. All and sundry who visit me can now be privy to my masterworks!

My dad found a gorgeous lamp in an abandoned building and gave it to me. It was in perfect shape except for one tiny thing: some kid had drawn and written his name all over one side of the shade (wherever you are, Kris, I am going to hunt you down and write my name all over one side of you, you little bugger [guess which side]).

My plan was to somehow cover up most of the damage without utterly destroying the lampshade. I considered a variety of tactics, but finally settled on stencils. How hard can it be to tape something down and slather paint all over it?

Oh, damn you, rhetorical questions.

I found some peel-and-stick stencils at the craft store, along with little tubs of what purported to be “stencil paint.” Once home, I set to work peeling and sticking, as well as investigating the substance in the tubs.

The paint wasn’t so much paint as completely solid spheres of color. I didn’t brush or dab it on so much as mash the sponge-brush-thing against the fabric as hard as I could, leaving little blotches of what looked like dried alien blood.

It wasn’t looking so good. I decided to let it “settle” and go read about video games for a while. You go too now; it will be fun, like you were right there with me.

Back from reading? Now go have some cake and maybe walk around the house aimlessly for a while, just to get the full crafting experience effect. Whoops, look out for that upturned laundry basket. Hm, should you maybe actually do some laundry? Nah. You’re busy waiting for paint to dry.

After a while I spread a few more coats of paint-the-consistency-of-cold-butter on the lampshade and, since my efforts seemed to have no effect whatsoever, decided the project was completed! (It is possible that the success of my projects is somewhat affected by the fact that I decide they are finished when I get bored, and they are usually very wet and sticky at that point.)

I peeled off the stencils and, well, it didn’t look all that bad.

You can still se the writing a bit in some places, but luckily those spots correspond to the places where I got paint all over the place, so it goes together.

I popped the shade onto the lamp and discovered that when the lamp is actually in operation, the light shows through the splotchy paint in a decidedly unflattering way.

Whoops. I suppose it’s better to have a lampshade with bad-adult-craft-work than with evil-child-pen-work.

Oh, boy! A completed craft project! As an added bonus, I “stenciled” my kitchen counters and walls by not washing my hands very well after painting, then touching things before noticing the paint all over my fingertips. Two projects for the price of one!

I’d say don’t try this at home, but honestly, you’re likely to have much better results than I, so go ahead.


Blogger Q said...

You Savy Frau!
How cool!
Maybe I could be released to stencil!
I have been banned from spray painting.

6:12 PM  

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