Mother Earth Living

Try This: Family Photo Lamp Shade

Light up your face.
By Susan Wasinger
May/June 2004

While portraits make beguiling subject matter, any photo or illustration could be used on a lamp shade. The subtle texture of details played out in shadow and light gives images a life of their own.
Photo By Susan Wasinger

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By day, this shade is a plain, white cube you’d never guess held a secret. But turning it on brings beloved photos to light. The process is simple: You’ll need digital photos, your computer printer, some translucent paper and a little glue. Just about any lampshade will do, although shades with sloping sides require more complicated measuring and cutting for photos to fit. A cube or rectangular shade is easiest to work with. Compact fluorescent bulbs light the lamp without heating it so the paper and glue stay safely put.

1. Use any digital image in your computer. We turned family vacation shots black and white to give the lamp shade an old-fashioned, sepia-tone look.

2. Measure the sides of the lamp shade and size your images accordingly.

3. Print them on translucent vellum (available at office supply stores), which is laser printer friendly.

4. Cut the photos to fit on the shade's interior surfaces.

5. Use a photo archival nontoxic glue-stick to coat the back of the prints. Carefully position the prints inside the shade and burnish thoroughly to make good contact between photo and shade.

6. Allow to dry and set before placing the shade over the lamp.

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