Turn a boring lampshade on its head. Find two old matching lampshades at a junk store and put them together end to end to make a lamp with a sophisticated geometric feel. You can use a variety of sizes and styles of shades; each imparts a slightly different character to the finished product. These shades work great as pendants, hanging in groups of one, two, or more. We made ours into a cluster of table lamps to add a cosmopolitan glow to a dark corner. As always, use compact flourescent bulbs for safety and efficiency.
How to make the lamps:
1. Remove the wire harness from the lampshades using stout wire cutters, or use a pair of pliers to wiggle the solder joint loose where the wire connects to the metal circle at the top of the shade. Be patient and apply firm pressure for a nice, clean break.
2. Use cloth book-binding tape to connect the bottom edges of the two matching lampshades. Use a little strip of masking tape to temporarily hold them together. Circle the cloth tape around the seam, stopping to remove the masking tape before continuing. Smooth the tape as you go, keeping it nice and straight.
3. For a variation, use self-adhesive paper circles to decorate the seam.
4. The lamp base is easy to make if you have even the most rudimentary of wiring skills. Find terra-cotta pots that the inverted shades fit snugly down on to. Put a short piece of threaded pipe (called a “nipple” and found in the electrical aisle) through the hole in the pot and secure it with 2 nuts.
5. Thread a cord equipped with a roller switch up through the nipple and attach a light socket following the manufacturer’s wiring instructions.
6. To ensure that the lamp sits squarely on a tabletop without scratching, glue a circle of 1/4-inch-thick cork on the bottom edge of the pot. Cut a notch out of the cork for the cord to exit. Pop in a compact flourescent bulb, press the shade into place, and bathe in the glow.