For more than a year, now, I have been trying to find a solution for our bedside lamp situation. We currently have one lamp, wth a tarnished metal base and a naked bulb (so no lampshades), and that is on my side of the bed, because I am the late-night reader. I mean, it does look pretty darn sophisticated, but we were ready for a change.
A recent trip to Bunnings’ discounted section found me looking over a couple of table lamps in battered and slightly faded boxes. There was no price tag, so I called the guy over and asked how much they were. $99 a pop. Ouch. A bit more than I was prepared to pay. He ummed and ahed for a bit, then offered them to me for $35. $198 worth of lamps for $35?! That’s more like it. I snatched them up before he could change his mind, found some bulbs and was outta there.
The lamps were discontinued stock, and the bulb frames were loose. That was why they weren’t selling. Mr Hammer fixed that within ten seconds by taking off the felt bottom, reaching up inside and tightening them.
I knew Mr Hammer wouldn’t be wowed by them, and he wasn’t particularly. They are quite a modern design, and when we took them out of the box, they were huge. Basically the top surface of our bedside tables will be for the lamps. But, as I had been looking for something that both of us would love for so long without luck, these will do nicely in the interim (and because I will stop looking now, they’ll last a good long while, too).
Our bedroom colours are black, purple and turquoise, kind of a peacock theme. So these babies need some work.
First, the lamp shade.
I bought some ‘Intense Violet’ Dylon fabric dye from Lincraft for about $14. I have no idea what kind of fabric the shades are, but the inner lining is plastic, so I am doubting that will dye or even stain. The outer fabric seems to be some type of cotton blend, so fingers are crossed the dye will take to it.
So it was all mixed up at a stronger strength than suggested on the back of the packet. The dye crystals were meant to be dissolved in 500mL of warm water, then 6L of warm water was to be added to it. I used the ol’ eyeball measurement system, which is totally proven to be an accurate system of measurement, so I probably had a total of 2L of water. I wanted the colour to pack a punch.
The packet also suggested the item to be dyed be dampened before dyeing. I did this with one.
Why only one?
At our last house, we had some white Roman blinds. The first time I attempted to clean them, a coating of some sort started pilling and rubbing off. It was a bit of a disaster. When I dampened the shade, it looked like the same thing was happening. So I kinda panicked and stopped. I don’t think the same thing was happening.
Of course, when we have children present at DIY jobs, children want to participate. This is a good thing, and we encourage it. This time, however, I am thinking I needed to do the first coat, then let the kiddies splash about with the dye as they wished. As it was, we started with two white shades (one dampened):
The two smallest Hammerlings took turns painting the dampened one with the dye.
When they grew bored, I continued.
Two completed purple shades:
It is hard to see in the image (but not so hard to see in person), that when the babies were having a turn, the dye dried as they stroked, so there are dried stroke marks in the finished job. (Sad face).
When I began painting the second, undampened shade, I thought I would run into problems – the dye was rolling off the surface before it had a chance to soak in. I worked fast and scrubbed the rolled tracks. If you’ve ever seen a lampshade painted with dye, I can guarantee you’ve never seen one painted so fast. There was *ahem* a bit of clean-up required.
The end result, however, is flawless.
So the breakdown:
Lamps cost $198.
We purchased for $35.
Saving of $163.
Purchased dye for $14.
Total saving of $149.
It’s not quite the $150 the title claims, I will admit, but $1 doesn’t get you far these days. So it’s close enough, right?
We’re not quite finished with these lamps yet. You can read what else we did with these lamps here!
By the way, despite many adventures in my late teens with tie-dying, I didn’t wear gloves. Wear gloves! As a hairdresser, I often have hands and nails stained various colours, but fabric dye stains your skin longer than hair colour!
What do you think? Is painting with fabric dye something you could see yourself doing? Does anyone have any ideas how we could disguise those brushstrokes?