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Topic: My version of an inkblot lamp (with tute and mucho pictars)  (Read 14168 times)
Tags for this thread: watchmen , tutorial  Add new tag
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« on: January 29, 2009 06:06:34 PM »

So i saw this thread a lil while ago


and i fell in love

1) because im a science nerd
2) my sister is just finishing her thesis in "dance therapy" (psychology thru movement and such) and i knew i needed to make her one
3) i'm in love with Watchmen, (the most highly acclaimed graphic novel ever) and one of the characters name is Rorschach and his mask has changing ink blots on it.

hence i started n my own! and i figured out that this is a pretty cool way to make any type of lamp shade.  pic your own pictures, print things off, whatever paper you want!

so here's how i did it......

First of all i googled Rorschach and ink blots.  i found some highly used ones and used photoshop to tweak them a little.  upped the contrast and darkened them a bit.

i printed them out and got to constructing.

i didnt get any photos of the panel construction, so i went back and faked some with leftovers  Tongue

i took some balsa wood, painted it black (or whatever color your little heart desires) and made a square.  (NOTE: the pieces of wood are all the same length, so when you put them together like i did its a bit taller than it is wide.  you can cut them to be exact squares if you want, but i liked the taller look and thought this would be easier)

i cut the paper to the exact measurements of the square by taking a scrap piece of paper and tracing the square. 

then i taped the square to the picture (folding it in half to get it centered, which is easy to do since the pictures have very apparent middles).

i traced the paper onto pictures

then cut it out and you have a paper panel! (NOTE: this panel is an oopsie because i cut it out horizontally instead of vertically.  make sure you remember that everything is a little rectangular so nothing goes sideways, unless you decided to trim the wood to make everything square Tongue )

now you have a panel, YAY!

then we glue on the wood (NOTE: as these are faked pictures, the wood is not painted...the ones you'll glue on at this point should have already been painted.)

the way that worked best for me was placing the paper on a flat surface (that also wont be ruined if a little glue gets on it) and placing all of my wood so its all angled right and such.  use masking tape on three of the four pieces to keep them in place.  place glue on the back of the free piece and put it in its place.  tape that one down.  it may take a few pieces of tape on each end and the middle because the wood likes to bow a little bit, so it make stick up a little on the ends or whatever.  so taping it makes it stay flush on the paper.  pull the tape off another piece and glue and tape down again.  i liked putting pieces right on the corners so it keeps them down and the corners together.

now that all the panels are made, its time to make your cube.

masking tape is very much your friend in the project.  this part it a wee bit annoying just because you have to put the pieces together and balance them like a house of cards before you glue them.  balance them however you choose and then tape the corners together.  once you have your cube, you can start gluing. 

set it on its side and glue up and down each corner.  feel free to go back once its fried to glue some more so make it more secure.

i left it on its side and placed 2 boxes (that i knew were straight) against its sides, that way i knew it would dry straight and not be all parallelogram-y.

while waiting for that to dry, start workin on the base.  i got mine at a thrift store for 6 bucks, and it came with a lampshade that i didn't feel bad about tearing apart.  it was wooden, so i knew i could just sand it and the spray paint would stick well.  and of course i forgot to take a pic until i had sanded half of it already  Tongue  and a lovely pic of it masked and ready to spray paint.

when it comes to adding the shade holder...thingy... it may take some planning since it really depends on the shape of your lamp and what you have when it comes to lampshades.  on mine there was a little lip where the base and the electronics met.  i figured that if i placed the (un torn apart) shade there, then it fits perfectly.  that meant that i could tear out the metal part and install it into MY lampshade at the same place and my shade would hang the right way as well. 

Now, sometimes there are spots where you can screw on the lampshade, but mine had no such luck.  the metal part just sat there and wiggled around.  and i realized that if i glued the metal part down AND to the shade i'd never be able to change the lightbulb!  soooooo...i figured id glue the metal thingy to the lamp and make something on the shade to sit on the metal thing.  BUT i'm gonna wait till after i make the top so i can use the metal thing to measure stuff.

now that the cube has dried you'll use it to make the top panel

two pieces of balsa wood will fit perfectly in the top of the cube, but you'll need to trim the other 2 sides of the cube to make it fit.  (technically i guess you could just make it to sit on top of the cube, it may be easier, but i dunno, i make it so it sat inside the cube...had cleaner i lines i liked  Tongue  ) make sure everything's trimmed by putting it together (and taping it if you like) and putting the cube on top of it.  it should fit perfectly inside the cube.  now go ahead and glue it together using the same tape and glue method so nothing starts moving around while you're trying to glue.

now's the time where you get to be creative...or not if you want.  i made mine kind of an Asian geometric type shape.  if you want to make a fully covered top, or an abstract shape or whatever, go ahead, have fun.  only thing you have to make sure of is that there's a shape in the middle that you can make into a "stand" for sitting on top of the metal thingy.  set the metal part in the middle of the top and make sure it can fit, whether you want the metal part to show, whatever.

now for making it sit on the metal holder thingy.  set the metal thingy on the top youve made, right in the middle.  set some pieces next to the base so you can make a little "lip" that the metal thing can sit in.  take the pieces of balsa wood and cut them down to fit my shape (in mine, its the square in the middle.  i made my square big enough so you cant see the metal thingy cuz its ugly and gold).  now glue them on sitting upwards to create the little lip.

now paint the thing and the top's done.

to attach it to the cube, glue the sides of the top (where it'll attach to the cube) and set it down bottom side up.  now set the cube right on top of it (making sure you place it upside down so you don't glue the top onto the bottom of the cube  Tongue  ).  you may want to tape the top to the cube, as you did with the other parts.  this makes it a little bit more flush.  it may be a bit messy, but you can always repaint any little spots for finishing touches.

now that the shade is done, you can install the metal thingy.

yay for hot glue...i used a level my dad had sitting around.  i taped it to the top of the metal thing and set it on the lamp to make sure i could get it so the shade wouldn't sit cockeyed.  i hot glued the lamp and set the metal thing on it, while making sure it was still level.  i reinforced it with a little bit more glue and there we go. 

now that the glue is all dried and the tape has been pulled off, place the shade on the lamp and TAH DAH!

and lit up (tho the pic doesn't do it justice)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009 06:10:49 PM by silverhart » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2009 06:16:40 PM »

Awesome work! Very Creative! Thank you for the step by step tut! It will be on my list to do.
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009 06:22:42 PM »

that's just gorgeous, im definetly going to try to make one!
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2009 06:24:16 PM »

wow, it looks so elegant and chic and I love the pop of red.

I would buy that in a store.
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009 06:33:06 PM »

Holy crap this is awesome! We are redoing our bedroom in black and white and I think something like this would be perfect in there!!! Fantastic!

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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2009 07:04:37 PM »

This is beautiful! My bedroom is purple and black and this would be brilliant in there! Thank you for the inspiration to craft outside the box! That's why I love this site!!

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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009 07:10:08 PM »

very original lamp. two thumbs up.

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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009 07:12:13 PM »

WOW!!!  That looks awesome!!!  Well done!!  I didn't look at the link you provided so I was expecting a circular shade!  Roll Eyes  And it made much more sense when I saw the finished lamp!!


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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2009 07:42:56 PM »

oooo pretty! *wists Wink*
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2009 12:05:18 AM »

This is very cool! I want to make one myself.

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