To upcycle or upcycling has become a pretty trendy thing to do but, when you think about it, generations before us have been doing the same thing over and over again.
To upcycle today has a huge meaning, from taking broken furniture and making it into something completely different (for example a chair turned into a side table) or just to sand something down and re-paint it. Even repurposing things is a form of upcycling, like turning a dresser into a home office space.
Upcycling does not stop at furniture either, clothes can be upcycled from jeans and dresses into bags and tops, old blankets into cozy jumpers, plastic bags into rugs…the list is almost as endless as our imagination.
The definition talks about creating a product of higher quality or value than the original and the meaning of the word value is not one just of monetary value but of emotional value too, taking something that you dislike and adding your own touch to it and making it something that you are proud of and like, something that fits your life and style.
For me, upcyling is about adding my own personality to something, from chairs and lamps to my desk and storage space, clothes and accessories, and making things stand out, become unique and a piece of artwork in its own right.
I’ve been meaning to write a post about this lamp for a while now as it’s probably the one thing I get most compliments and questions about when people visit my home. I was going to share how I upcycled the lamp from being a plain lamp to having a dinosaur fringe but it seems that, at the time I didn’t take as many photos as I should have. The good thing is that I can still talk you through the process!
Items You Will Need
Lamp with shade
Round nosed jewellery pliers
Flat nosed jewellery pliers
*unless you own a dremel or other drill with a super fine drill bit….
Using a dremel or other drill with a super fine drill bit, drill holes through all of the dinosaurs. (If you don’t own a dremel or other drill, then you can heat up a darning needle with a lighter and use this to create a hole through each dinosaur…PLEASE be careful if using this method)
Thread headpin through the created hole with the flat part to the underside of the dinosaur.
Using the round nose pliers, create a loop at the top of the dinosaur with the excess headpin metal.
Attach an eyepin to the created loop using a jump ring.
Thread on a couple of pony beads before using the round nose pliers to create another loop at the end of the eye pin.
Work out where you want the dinosaurs to hang on the lampshade and mark faintly in pencil where you want the holes to go that you will attach the dinosaur to.
Using the flat nosed pliers, open up a jump ring and attach to the bottom of the lampshade. I made sure that my jump ring went over the wire at the base of the shade.
Before closing the jump ring, add the dinosaur bead loop to the ring then close.
I worked on this project for my Mum, she had bought a little pot of fake flowers to sit in her living room on one of the shelves but they were plain white with not much interest to them, and in her words “they look too fake…”. After having a chat with her about what she wanted I said I may be able to help and dutifully carried them home to work on.
I thought about the best way to add colour to the flowers without it looking too bright, Mum wanted something a bit natural looking, and as these were similar flowers to a hydrangea I decided that I would use colours similar to those of the hydrangea.
I chose to use some of my excess hair dye – Bleach London dye and some Superdrug own brand dye, as I had used it for my floor lamp and it had worked really well and I knew I could control the intensity of the colour by diluting the dye with water and conditioner.
Here’s the before and after pics
I didn’t take that many pics during the process as it was a bit messy…each flower needed to be dabbed with dye using a paintbrush and I ended up with the dye mix all over my hands. However, this was a really simple and easy upcycle project to undertake and Mum was really pleased with the outcome!
I’ve had the same plain floor lamp for as long as I can remember and while I love the actual lamp itself I’ve not really been liking the shade. I bought the lamp from Ikea years ago (so long ago that they don’t sell it anymore!), it has a fold out hinge so you can move the light around without disturbing the stand which I find perfect for reading under in the evenings. The shade that came with it was cream and seemed to pick up dirt and dust really quickly and forever looked a bit grubby which I really didn’t like so I decided that I would make it into something that I did like. I have to issue an apology now because I don’t have any proper “before” pictures except for this one where you can see the lamp in the corner behind my chair…
The first thing I did was to wash and dry the shade after removing it from the stand. I scrubbed it off in the kitchen sink with dish soap and a scrubbing-brush which seemed to remove most of the dirt and dust. I left it overnight to dry off.
The next morning I decided that I was going to either paint it with acrylic paint or attempt to dye it. As I was running low on paints I figured I’d have a go at dying it. I had some leftover semi permanent hair colours in yellow, orange and pink shades so watered them down a bit. I then began applying the dye in bands around the shade with a paint brush.
I started with the yellow then worked my way down to orange before finishing with the pink. I left it to dry overnight again before rinsing off any residue in the sink. The colours blended together a bit and they faded down once rinsed and dried off again but I was happy with the outcome.
I then decided to add a beaded fringe so raided my bead collection for suitable beads
I decided to use small pony beads and finish the fringe off with small brass bells. I measured the circumference of the shade at its widest end, marked 1 inch sections and marked with a small pencil mark then, working from the inside rim, used a needle and thread to puncture a hole where I wanted the fringe to be. I added beads then a bell before passing the needle back through the beads and back through the hole I had made, then moved on to the next 1 inch mark before repeating. I worked this way, all around the rim before tying off and completing. Once finished I reattached the shade to the lamp.
What do you think of my handiwork? What other uses do you think hair dye has?