Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Gift of Gab

A few months ago, I walked into my college's English offices suite to find these sitting sadly on the used book shelf:

A stack of old French romances, apparently used in "teacher colleges" judging from the stamps on the covers. A friend told me that they are called "yellowbacks." The oldest is from the 1890s and the youngest from around 1925 or so. They needed a home and for 25 cents each...they found one.

They relocated: from the used bookshelf to my cluttered but happy home bookshelf. Unforunately, I read Spanish, not French. So their original purpose remained unfulfilled. However, they looked like a decorating or craft project just waiting to happen.

I can't take credit for the original idea. But I can thank my Grandmama Thomas for giving me her most recent issue of Country Living, which published the craft tutorial I used (and will share in just a moment). In their May 2012 issue, Country Living showcased a Charlotte, NC home decorated completely with vintage finds and DIY projects. One of the projects: DIY lamp shade

As soon as I saw it, I knew I had the materials perfect for the job. Moving out of my dorm just a few weeks ago had supplied me with the lamp shade in need of a redo. When I first bought the lamp at Ikea four years ago, its black and white paint-splotch design seemed perfect...for a 17 year old freshmen. It looked somewhat incongruous in my bedroom at home, however. And something tells me that my fiancee wouldn't be too wild about me bringing my dorm-room style (pink and black) to our new home.

Feeling only a little guilty (as an English student, I'm sure cutting up a book qualifies as a cardinal sin...unless the book is offense), I took scissors and glue to one of the French romances.

Here's a step by step guide to my process. This is also available through Country Living, and their instructions may be easier than mine! So feel free to look there as well; they have many other great DIY ideas in addition to this one.

1. Gather your supplies: Mod Podge (bought mine at WalMart at about $5 for 16 oz...may be a little cheaper at craft stores), a few foam brushes, the book pages, and a lamp-shade. I also used a lightly dampened hand towel, because I hate dried glue on my hands.

2. Gently wipe off the lamp-shade with a damp towel to remove any dust particles.

3. Apply the Mod Podge to one side of each piece of paper; then, affix the paper to the lamp-shade,overlapping slighlty as you go. I glued the strips of paper to the top and bottom of the lampshade before filling in the middle.
NOTE: If you're using antique book pages, be very careful and apply the glue gently as the paper will be very brittle.

4. Once all the pieces are glued to the shade, allow them to dry for about 2 hours.

5. Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire shade, to make sure they're all firmly stuck! Don't worry, it dries clear. Allow to dry for a few more hours. It doesn't take that long, but I wanted to make sure it was good and dry before moving it.

6. You're done! Enjoy your pretty new lamp!

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