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December 20, 2017
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We had a blast working on last week’s Christmas gift guide for makers and crafters, but wait till you see what we have in store for you today. It’s all about the Lamp Maker. The person that works magic to bring light to any room, creates unique lighting fixture, gives old lamps a beautiful makeover, or makes lampshades from scratch with whimsical fabrics. If you have a lamp maker friend or family member, this gift guide will be a great place to start your research on what to get for the person who brings light.
If you’re a lamp maker reading this gift guide, let us know in a comment below what’s the one thing on this list you’d love to receive.
If you’ve been following us on Pinterest, you know we have a deep love for Edison light bulbs. And it’s hard not to fall in love with them. Their shape, their vintage look, their perfect fit with modern, minimalist lighting fixtures, making them a must for lamp makers.
60w Dimmable Industrial Pendant Filament Vintage Edison Light Bulbs
Classic Squirrel Cage Filament Incandescent Light BulbsShop here.
Edison Tubular Vintage Antique Light Bulbs
Antique Style Incandescent Light Bulbs - Squirrel Cage Filament
Choosing the right light bulb for a lamp should be pretty basic, right? Well, it’s not going to be just that hassle free if you don’t pay attention to a few details. Light bulbs come in many, many different options, shapes, wattage and lumen capabilities, color profiles and functions. However, when it comes to Edison light bulbs it’s hard to miss the mark. To help you find the right light bulbs for your friends, we put together this short guide.
The best part of being a lamp maker is possessing the knowledge that allows you to make anything into a lamp. Yes, that does mean there are some wiring skills involved. However, pre-assembled kits and easy-to-use UL listed supplies do make it a lot easier. We have two types of wiring kits. Electric Lamp Wiring Kit - this one is designed for the pro lamp maker, the person who loves to tinker with tiny elements and have full control of customization options. This kit includes all of the electrical and hardware components needed to make a brand new lamp, or rewire an old, broken lamp. It comes in several combinations to allow the lamp maker to choose the best fit for their project and we also include step-by-step instructions on how to use it and assemble it.Learn more and shop here.
Bottle Lamp Kit - this one is for the lamp maker who isn’t into handling wires and making connections. It comes pre-assembled and it has a nifty system that allows the lamp maker to use it on any base, without drilling holes to accommodate the electric wiring. Initially, it was designed to help makers create beautiful lamps using all kinds of bottles as a base (it comes with three different rubber adaptors), but it can also be used with other bases too, like musical instruments, jars, funnels, terrariums, wood elements and more.
The awesome part is that it will take them 5 minutes to wire a new base using this kit. That’s nifty. Learn more and shop here.
This is one of the coolest gifts you can give a lamp maker. We can imagine a gift box holding dozens of cord colors and patterns, all pretty and ready to be used for making new lamps. To tell you the truth, color fabric wire has become our latest obsessions ever since we researched 18 Creative Ideas to Use Fabric Wire for DIY Lamps. The awesome thing about color fabric wire is that it will give your lamp maker friend endless customization opportunities. This type of cord is used to conceal the wiring and rubber insulation, giving the lamp a flawless finish and great texture. So, it can be used both for restoring an old lamp and give new lamps a cool, upscale finish. Cloth covered wire comes in different designs: it could be twisted or flat, vibrant in color or monochrome, shiny or matte, made of rayon (shiny) or cotton (matte effect).
Burgundy twisted cotton covered lamp wire
Black and white zig-zag fabric covered cord
Red and black fabric covered electrical wire
Pink twisted rayon fabric-covered wire
When you know how easy and fun it is to make your own lampshades, it’s really hard to stop. We’ve been gifting lampshades to our friends for years now. We didn’t hear any complaints so far, but if your lamp maker friend is anything like us, they will need lots of supplies, at all times.
The basic DIY lampshade supplies are:
From our own experience, buying large quantities is best. Personally, we are the happiest when we get big rolls of adhesive styrene. So many possibilities for beautiful lampshades. And it can be used with all kinds of materials, not only fabrics.
If your friend is always working on new lampshades, then it’s safe to assume they will always need fabric. Many yards of beautiful, elegant, whimsical fabric. If you don’t know where to start, you’re welcome to start with our own wish list, below. By the way, T-shirts and blouses will work too.
Timeless Treasures Solar System Black Fabric By The Yard
Art Gallery Hello Bear Buck Forest Night Fabric By The Yard
Magnolia Home Fashions LaGrange Mist Fabric By The Yard
For more on choosing the right fabric for DIY lampshade projects, you can read our short guide here.When working with adhesive styrene to make DIY lampshades, you can also use other materials too, not just fabrics. We’ve seen lampshades and made some using wrapping paper, metallic paper (120 gsm), wallpaper scraps, maps, wood veneer, vinyl paper, twine, cork, raffia and more.
Lamp makers need a bunch of tools to help them achieve their projects. While lampshade makers might not need a drill or a wire stripper, they will be happy to receive a new rotary cutter or beautiful new scissors. However, lamps makers who have a lot of lamp renovations on their hands, a drill, and a wire stripper are essential.
WORX WX176L 20V Switch driver 2-in-1 Cordless Drill and Driver
Fiskars 45mm Contour Rotary Cutter
Wire stripperIRWIN VISE-GRIP 2078300 Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper, 8"
Wiss W20 10-3/8-Inch Inlaid Heavy Duty Industrial Shears
There are a couple of accessories that have become a lamp maker’s best friends. Most of the accessories below will appeal to those that upcycle old items or restore vintage lamps, but the paper tape is something that a lampshade maker is going to need if they’re using paper instead of fabric to make their shade.
Bar Keepers Friend
Cleaner and polisher for removing tarnish from unlacquered stainless steel, copper, brass, and other metals. Not to be used with lacquered metal.Shop here.
This is an easy way to customize metallic elements (harps, lampshade rings) and even the inside of styrene. Or it can be used to completely change how a lamp looks. Here’s an example.Shop here.
It is used for refinishing lacquered metal and there are specific types to match different materials, like brass for instance. This one is optional. For instance, we like the look of unfinished brass, so we don’t use the specialty lacquer.Shop here.
This is a smart, easy-to-use and cheap solution for makers who use paper to create lampshades. Since paper is usually to stiff to bend over the lampshade rings, you can use paper tape to secure the drum shade to the lampshade rings.Shop here.
Crafters always look for new ways to do things, to optimize their processes and to learn new skills. As their friend, you can help them do so, by offering the gift of know-how. Your lamp maker friend is going to love expanding their skills with books and workshops. One way to do go about it is to gift books. In a previous post, we looked at 7 books on antique and vintage lamps that have been a constant source of inspiration and knowledge for our own lamp making passion. It’s a good place to start, but you should also look at these:
Lighting Design Basics 2nd Editionby Mark Karlen
Lighting for Interior Design (Portfolio Skills) Paperback – IT Import, October 24, 2012, by Malcolm Innes
Old Lamps, New Life: The DIY Guide to Repurposing and Rewiring Vintage Lamps
If your friend is the kind of person who would rather do, than read, we suggest you start looking for workshops. Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera and others are some of the most popular online sources for all kinds of useful courses. We have one ourselves, created by our founder Kiri Masters, where she teaches how to make a modern drum lampshade.If online isn’t what you’re looking for, know there are lamp and lampshade making workshops all across the US and the UK. For more workshops and courses for crafters, you can also check with local schools to see what they have available. Here’s a list of schools across the US that offer craft workshops and courses.PS: If you’re organizing lampshade workshops, we’d love to hear from you. We’re building an extensive list of lamp and lampshade classes across the United States and we want to know about your event too. Send us an email at hello[@]ilikethatlamp.com.
Lamp makers love getting their hands on old items and transform them into amazing new lamps. We’ve seen all kinds of fabulous old items brought back to life with patience, love, and creativity. From cameras to toys, musical instruments, even doll houses, rotary phones, bottles and jars, typewriters, or farmhouse equipment and bicycle gear, there’s no end to what can be made into a lamp. Here are more examples of actual old items being transformed into lamps. Where do you find old items that can be transformed into lamps? As lamp maker Rick McMullen aka The Urban Alchemist says: “Everywhere! Flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores, rust and dust stores, antique malls, even friends’ and neighbors’ houses. If you are ill-advised enough to let me into your home, please know that I am ogling everything you own with a view to be it becoming mine, and becoming a lamp. I am not kidding.”So, it might just be time to hit the thrift stores on your block.
Read our list of 11 Christmas Gift Ideas that Make Crafters Say WOW! or check out the video below.
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