Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doily lamp tutorial. Finally!

Well, it only took me three months, but I promised that I'd finally get around to showing you how I made the doily light for Penelope's nursery.  Unfortunately I can't take credit for this awesome idea - I saw this version on Pinterest awhile back - but here's my version it and some tips that I found useful....

Doily lamp - construction

So a mere week before Christmas, and only ten days before I went into labor, my husband came home to this going on in the middle of our kitchen.  Luckily, we've been together for about 11 years, so he's pretty used to my crazy projects taking over our house.

I used one of those giant punching bag balloons that I found at the dollar store since they are perfectly spherical vs the typical balloon shape.  Plus, they seem to be a little thicker than a normal balloon, and less likely to pop during the process.

Doily lamp - construction

The original poster used wallpaper glue, but I just went with what I had on hand which was regular old Elmer's school glue, that I watered down a bit.  I simply placed the doilies on the balloon and painted them with the glue until they were completely saturated.  The glue seemed to have just enough tack to hold them in place and I didn't have any problems with them falling off before they were dry.

I let this dry for about 24 hours and then went back and touched up some areas that didn't feel quite stiff enough (if your doilies seem too pliable, just increase your glue to water ratio).  Then I let this dry for another day.  Then it hung there for another couple of days just because.

Doily light at night

Finally I popped the balloon (which was Phoebe's favorite part) and used this lighting kit from Ikea to hang it up.  I intentionally left an opening between a couple of the doilies so that I could fit the bulb and socket into the center without having to cut out a hole in the lamp.

Handmade doily light

And there you go!  It was incredibly simple, and it only cost me around $10.  Four for the lighting kit and I probably used about six doilies (thrifted at about $1 each) to cover the balloon. 

Shadows

The light has held up beautifully.  It gets turned on every evening, and I haven't had any problems with it warping, or getting too hot, or anything.  And Penelope just loves looking at it and all of the beautiful shadows that it makes on the walls.

The nursery at night

Next up - one for every room of the house!

69 comments:

  1. Omigosh this is beautiful. You've pretty much made my dream nursery.

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  2. Wow I want one as well :D thank you for sharing, I love that lamp :D gonna make one for myself :D

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  3. This looks gorgeous! I like it better than the main one on pinterest I keep seeing. Beautiful nursery too, love the blue wall!

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  4. I made one of these too a while back! :) Yours came out so pretty! :) I have a few extra doily ball tips over on my blog if anyone wants to check them out: http://valeriepaperie.blogspot.com/2011/05/doily-ball.html . :)

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  5. Where did you find doilies? I've had a hard time finding good ones for projects like this. -Christina

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    1. Estate sales and garage sales are the best place to look and have the best prices - I don't usually like to pay more than $1 per doily. My favorite source for finding estate sales in your area is estatesales.net.

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  6. Absolutely beautiful.
    Are the dollies fabric, plastice or paper???

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    1. They're all crocheted out of cotton thread.

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  7. It turned out great! I love how it looks.

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  8. Beautiful, I love the nursery too, very serene :).

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  9. The wall reflection is art itself. Love this! Thanks.

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  10. Wow! I love the patterns it makes on the walls. So pretty

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  11. Fantastic! I see this in my summer plans.

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing this - it's stunning!

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  13. I love, love, love this! I see endless possibilties from rustic to kitschy to elegant. THANK YOU!!!

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  14. This is an amazing and thrifty idea full of possibilities. Thank you!

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  15. Beautiful! I LOVE it! How do you get the doily ball attached to the lighting? Does it just hang on the collar of the light bulb holder? And what type of bulb and wattage did you use?

    Lovely job!!

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    1. See below for attaching the doily "shade" to the kit, and I'm simply using a regular 60W daylight bulb.

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  16. How did you put the actual life fixture in? Did you have to support the bulb somehow?

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  17. This is absolutely gorgeous!

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  18. Back in the day we used starch as a stiffening agent for doilies. Don't know if it would give you the desired tackiness needed to stick it to the balloon, but it might be less messy than glue. Worth a try.

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  19. I was wondering if you would share how you attached the "shade" to the light kit?

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    1. It's actually not really attached per se. The lighting kit has a small plastic ring that juts out above the light bulb socket that the doily shade is simply resting on. I found an opening in one of the doilies that was big enough to wiggle the light through, but still small enough so that it will sit on the ring without falling off. You could always measure this beforehand and plan for just such an opening with some well placed doilies. I hope that makes sense....

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  20. I am wondering how you change the light bulb inside? And how does the lighting kit attach to the new shade. This is just lovely. Craft stores also have doillies for sale. Maybe a smaller lamp is possible? Wonder too about doing this over a transparent lampshade for a desklamp? Hmmmm, lots to think about, but off to begin three Etsy order I got over the weekend. My life is full. I am a grama of twelve so keeping busy.

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  21. I am SO doing this for our baby girl's room. SO excited!

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  22. I'm going to do this but looking for some blue doilies and if I can't find them I figure I'll just dye them blue to match my room.

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  23. Love it! I have the material and tools on order, cant wait to get started. :) You may have just bought out the creative person in me.

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  24. Hi there
    I love this so much, and I wondered if you would be open to me using this tutorial in a wee publication I'm putting together as a charity fundraiser? Happy of course to do all the right acknowledgements. Can you email me and let me know if you have time! fabricabracwgtn@gmail.com. Thanks heaps!
    Josie B

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  25. Hi Emily,
    I came across your DIY Doily lamp on Pinterest & pinned it because I thought it was such a great idea. Very creative! Your friend Lisa Irwin left a comment with your link. So glad I came over!
    Jen

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  26. Emily,
    I have tried to make this lantern two times now. I am having troubles keeping my doilies on the balloon. They keep falling off do you have any suggestions on what I can do.
    Thanks
    Sara

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    1. I'm so sorry that you're having problems! Here's a couple of options off the top of my head -
      Make sure that the doilies that you're using aren't too heavy. Avoid doilies that have been made with a thicker, or heavier weight thread, and stick to the lightweight, fine doilies.
      Maybe your water to glue ratio is off? Try adding more glue to make the paste a thicker consistency.
      If all else fails, cover the top of the balloon with doilies, let it dry, then just keep turning the balloon and adding additional doilies, so that they will be sitting on the top and won't have the ability to slide off.
      Hope that helps!

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  27. I love it I am going to do one for my girls room and something similar for mine! How ubber cool!

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  28. I just wanted to say hello to a fellow Emily Elizabeth and also share my excited astonishment as to your lovely daughter's name, Penelope, for it is my fabulous mother's name ;)

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  29. Amazing craft Emily. Loved it completely, Make one for sure.. Thanks a lot for sharing. And the nursery looks very pretty :)

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  30. Amazing craft Emily.. .Loved it completely, Going to make one for sure, thanks for sharing!
    And your nursery looks pretty amazing too :)

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  31. I want to make one for my sewing/crafts room. I think I'll leave the bottom open to let more light down. I'll let you know how it goes.

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  32. Did u have trouble with the balloon sticking to the doilies after you popped it?

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  33. My Mom's name is Penelope :) I have always liked the name. LOVE your craft idea! Although, another way could be to put the glue and water mixture in a bowl big enough to dunk the doily in and then wring it out a bit so it's not dripping all over the place, and then stick it to the balloon. I have also heard that a little bit of flour to the mixture stiffens it up as well.

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  34. WOW! Only $10??? Amazing, it looks like a million!

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  35. I'm thinking I might try this with lace fabric. Any thoughts? What about paper ones? May catch fire? That'd be BAD. Just thought I'd adk

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  36. Pretty! I've seen these on pinterest, but never actually one who made them! I love the shadows in the corner of the room, so romantic!

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  37. thank you for your tutorial! I would love to make this. I posted about it my blog. Hope that was ok. I would like to make a small note that the $5 lighting kit is not available online anymore I do not think. I went to the website and it looks like they carry it in stores but it's not showing you can order it off website. I was wondering if you knew of anyone else who may carry this?

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  38. This is so creative...............love it!!!! I just may be using my old doilies soon.....:)

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  39. I am so happy to find this tutorial. My grandmother made me several doilies and I have no place to really display them. This is the answer to my problem. they will look so beautiful as a lamp. And they don't have to sit up in the closet anymore, like they have for the last 18 years. I am very inspired to do this. Thank you so much! P.S. i have an IKEA up the road too!

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  40. Wow that's beautiful!
    I love bringing doilies into my home in new ways.
    Had fun looking at your blog and like the way it stayed just because! I know that one.
    Thanks for a good tutorial I hadn't worked how to bring this idea to light yet!! Hehee
    Roselinde

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  41. I have to make one of these. It's gorgeous! Thanks for the excellent tutorial.

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  42. This is gorgeous! Thank you SO much for posting the tutorial. I've seen this on Pinterest and Craftgawker, and I wamted to learn how to do it. And I think Penelope's nursery looks gorgeous!

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  43. great idea! I'm thinking about using the same concept but inserting colored LEDs into it :)

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  44. I tried to make this and it was disaster. I used elmers glue and the doilies on the bottom all fell off. I had to wait for the top to dry to flip it and add the bottom ones. Then once it dried I popped the balloon and the whole thing collapsed with the balloon...You have any tips? I followed the directions so im not sure what happened. I made a mess in my art room but it was fun. Thanks for posting!

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    1. Oh no! The only thing I can think of is that your glue to water ratio might have been off? Once the doilies are dry, they should be quite hard and not have any give when you press on them. And yes, definitely form the lamp in two sessions - first do the top, let it dry, then flip it over and place them on the bottom. Sorry it didn't work out for you, but I'm glad you had a good time nonetheless - I would have liked to see the whole thing imploding on itself!

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  45. Love this clever idea. What would be the best way do you think to dye the doilies first? Won like to add a little color to this clever idea. Thanx

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    1. It would be gorgeous to make this with some dyed doilies! I would probably just soak them in some Rit dye, and you should be good to go.

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  46. I want to know how you took out the balloon.

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    1. I simply popped the balloon and it came right out

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  47. Absolutely stunning! I am just now learning to crochet doilies and everyone keeps asking me what I am going to do with them. Now I know!! Thank you

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  48. I tried making this with the same balloon however I used wallpaper glue and I also tried modge podge, did you have any problems when popping the balloon? When I did it the whole thing collapsed because the balloon was really stuck to the doilies in places.

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    1. I didn't have any issues like that... I did make sure that my doilies felt super hard after they had dried. Some areas had a little more give to them than others, so I applied a second coat in those spots.

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  49. So gonna make this for my Supervisor's baby [girl] shower. Gonna use a little "Stiffy Stuff" when doing the gluing part. Also gonna throw [on] some glitter during the drying sessions! Hope it wows the new mama! Thanks for sharing tutorial.

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  50. Working on this now, waiting on it to dry...we'll see how it turns out! Lol *crosses fingers*

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  51. Let me tell you, this isn't as easy as it looks!!! The doilies don't adhere to the balloon, as soon as it spins, every thing falls off. I just spent and hour and 1jar of elmers glue and 1 jar of modpodge and I still can't get anything to stick. The only thing covered with glue at this point is me. I think this whole thing is bogus!!!!

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    1. Oh man, I'm so sorry you had so many issues! I guess my recommendation is to just go slowly and make sure that each doily seems to be staying put before you apply the next one. And definitely make sure that you're overlapping them a little bit. I also had some craziness with the balloon spinning, but it wasn't too much of an issue. I promise you that it really did work for me and the lamp is still hanging intact in my daughters nursery a year and a half later!

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  52. Hi, just wanting a bit more detailed instructions on putting the light bulb fixture into the lamp please?

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  53. I have some questions; first off, would paper doily work? If so, since it's Christmas time, could I cut out snow flakes and create the same effect?

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  54. could you use mod podge or what is your ratio of glue to water.

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