When D and I moved into our first apartment together almost 6 years ago, I took a trip to IKEA to get some furniture and decor. One of the things that I chose for our bedroom were the Orgel Table Lamps. They were cute, and really inexpensive at about $10 each.
They were perfect, until we moved to this house. They had survived five moves, but that isn't what ruined them. When we moved to Indiana, we adopted our second cat from the shelter, Oberon. He is adorable, but like most cats, loves paper, especially the noise that it makes.
Also, our cats aren't normal cats. They aren't the type where you can put food down and leave it there all day and they will graze. If there is a single kibble that lands on the floor, I can guarantee you that it will be gone in less than five seconds. Our cats are hounds, so they get fed once in the morning and once in the evening.
The Orgel lamps from IKEA are handmade with crepe paper. Every morning, if we haven't gotten out of bed before the cats have decided that it's breakfast time, a.k.a approximately 5:00am, Oberon takes his anger out on the lamp, by chomping on it and clawing it.
Which leads me back to this DIY. The paper lamp shade was in really really rough condition. The lamp used to sit nicely, as you can see in the picture below.
But now, the lamp looks more like this.
And a closeup of the rips and full separation from the frame.
Instead of just getting different lamps, I decided to redo the existing shades, and change them up a bit. I bought some green linen print duck cloth a while back, and I decided to use it for these lamp shades.
One last thing before I get to the DIY part of this project. I have split this up into two different posts. There are a lot of steps to this project, and I didn't want to be too long-winded, so I have this part now and later this week I will have the second part.
The first thing that I did to start this project was to take the paper off of the lamp shade frame. Make sure that you get all of the glue and paper off of the frame. You will likely need to use some goo-gone or sandpaper to help get all of the residue off.
The frame is technically two pieces and the rigidity of the paper holds the shape in a rectangular tube. Since I will be using fabric as my lamp shades, I needed to do something to attach the two pieces of frame and make it sturdy so it didn't collapse. I decided to solder some welding metal onto the frame.
I picked up two 1/8"x4' rods of welding metal from the hardware store and used my hack saw to cut them into 11" sections, which is how tall the paper lamp shades were. You can find the welding metal in the mailbox and sheet metal aisle of Lowe's or Home Depot. It is important to make sure that your pieces are all the same length, as you don't want your frame to be crooked. A hack saw with a metal blade will cut the metal, as will a chisel and a hammer.
While I was at the hardware store, I also picked up some lead-free solder and some flux. The solder was over by the power tools, near the welding supplies, and the flux was actually in the plumbing aisle.
For this part of the project, you will also need a soldering iron, which can be found in the welding aisle by the power tools, but I didn't need to purchase one since I already had one.
Before you actually get to soldering, make sure that your material is dry, clean of dust, oils, and fingerprints, and is sanded down to the raw metal.
Now I will show you how to solder. First, using a small brush, paint a generous amount of flux onto the area that you want to solder. You will need to apply the flux to all of the metal pieces that you wish to attach. The flux will prep the surface for the solder to stick and attach your additional pieces of metal.
Next, using your soldering iron, heat the metal where you have painted on the flux. The flux will melt and once it starts bubbling, you are ready to add your solder. Make sure that your metal does not cool down too much, because it needs to be hot in order for the solder to adhere.
Unwind some of the solder from the roll and melt it onto your lamp shade frame using your soldering iron. Never use the tip of your iron. Always use the angled side and the stem.
Once you have a small amount of solder on the frame, take your welding rod and using the soldering iron and solder, attach it to the frame. You will need a second hand to help you hold the welding rod in place while you attach it with the solder.
Once the rod is attached from the top, flip the frame over quickly and carefully, and add some solder to the bottom to make sure that the welding rod will stay attached to the frame. If this isn't done immediately after you attach the welding rod to the top, the metal will cool and the solder will not stick. Don't be afraid to add too much solder. You will be sanding it down later to make it smoother, and you can shape it then.
Repeat this step for all of the corners of your frame. Don't forget to the flip over the frame and attach the welding rods to the other part of the frame.
Once you have all four welding rods attached to both parts of the lamp shade frame, go back and add additional solder as needed. You can add solder to solder without it needing to be hot, but in order to attach solder to metal, the metal must be hot. You may need to reheat your frame or welding rods if they have gotten too cool. Fill any gaps that you may see, then let the frame cool completely.
Once the frame is cooled, you can use medium grit sandpaper to gently sand down the solder to make it smooth. This is important because solder can be very sharp and not only do you want to make sure that you don't scrape yourself on the metal, but you also want to make sure that your fabric will not snag on the rough spots.
In the next post, I'll show you the steps that I took to make the fabric shade for the frame. It was really simple and quick, and something that you could easily do in less than an hour.
Have you ever soldered before? What did you use it for?