Have been wanting to make a string lampshade for ages but I wanted a really big one for the dining room. Doing a clean out the other day I found my pilates ball – the one that was bought with good intentions and ended up never using! Well now I have a use for it – it’s the perfect size for making my large string lampshade.
YOU WILL NEED:
Large roll of twine (I used the entire roll)
Pilates ball or extra, extra, large balloon
Large bottle of Alcolin wood glue
2 Empty paint container as a bucket and holder
Tub of vaseline
Gloves – definitely!
Brick or heavy object
Note: Cover the floor with plenty of newspaper or a dropcloth, or do this outdoors where clean up will be easier. It’s a very messy process and you need to wear old clothes. When I was finished I ducked into the shower to peel off all the glue that was on me!
1. Pour the entire bottle of wood glue into your plastic container (empty paint pot) and add a small amount of water. It’s about 70% glue to 30% water. Add enough string that it fills the glue mix. It’s a lot of string and you need to press down every so often so that the twine soaks up the glue and it also stops the twine for getting tangled up when you start pilling it out.
2. Cut the twine and soak the end. Hold the end as you soak it so it doesn’t get lost. Make sure that every single piece of twine is submerged in the glue, or this won’t become hard when it dries and the ball won’t hold its shape properly.
3. Leave the twine and glue mixture while you coat the ball with vaseline – and plenty of it. You don’t want the gluey twine to stick to the ball once you’re done.
4. Place the ball on an empty paint container (or bucket) and drop in a couple of bricks to make it heavy. This way it’s easy to wrap the ball in all directions without having to keep moving the ball around.
5. Wrap from top to bottom, around the side and in a diagonal direction to create the framework for the rest of the wrapping. When the piece of twine comes to and end, tuck this under a couple of times before repeating the twine/glue soaking process to start with the next piece.
6. Continue wrapping the ball with twine until you are happy. I don’t want to close up too much and left quite a few open gaps in the lampshade for effect.
7. Put the wrapped ball in a sunny spot, turning as each area dries until the entire ball is hard and dry. If you notice any loose strands, add a blob of glue to these and let this dry.
8. When the glue is nice and hard, you can remove the valve and deflate the ball – or pop your balloon. As the ball deflated, I pushed the ball away from the sides where it had stuck.
9. To remove the ball and create a place the hang, use sharp scissors to cut a circular opening in the top. It’s easy to remove the deflated ball through the opening.
10. For mounting the string ball I used the same fitting as for the recycled plastic bottle chandelier, but this time I sprayed it with Rust-Oleum Universal – titanium silver. I also sprayed the twine with the same colour.
This was an aluminium braai plate, and I used it because it had a curved shape, but you can even cut a piece of 3mm masonite or thick cardboard to serve as a light plate.
11. After cutting out the hole you will have plenty of gaps where you can fit the light plate inside the string ball.
My dining room is double volume, so the lampholder is mounted onto a long chain to hang low. The chain has a keyring on the end and I bent medium-gauge wire to fit into the lampholder mounting holes and through the keyring.