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Craft a Colorful Rope Lampshade

Mar 17, 2015

by Amanda Kingloff

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

There are two types of people in this world: basket people and non-basket people. I would say I’m a basket person — not because I buy a lot of baskets, but because I admire them everywhere: in stores, on Pinterest, in beautifully styled homes on the pages of my favorite glossies. But it seems that I married a non-basket person, so in lieu of indulging my obsession outright, I find ways to work them into my decor on the sly. Take this rope pendant lamp, for example: it’s basically a basket, upside down. The soft cotton texture feels warm, woven, and homemade, even when the lamp is off. So now I have this lovely “basket” hanging over my desk, and my husband is none the wiser.

You can make your own take on this lamp with thin rope, thick rope, jute rope or nylon, and you can coil the rope around almost anything — like a flower pot, a funnel, or a bowl — to get various shapes. For this project, I used a round vase with an inflated balloon in the top, but if you happen to have a glass display cloche sitting around, it would do the job just fine.

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What you’ll need:
• 20-25 feet of ½” twisted cotton rope
• Cylinder-shaped vase or can (approximately 4” x 6” )
• Balloon
• Painter’s tape
• White felt
• Scissors
• Hot glue gun
Simply Spray Soft Fabric Paint
Plug-in pendant light cord with LED or CFL bulb

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Step 1: Inflate balloon so that its circumference is slightly smaller than the opening of your cylinder. Press it into the cylinder’s opening and tape around the seam with painter’s tape.

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Step 2: Hot glue a small strip of white felt around the end of your rope to prevent the end from fraying. Cut the rope on a sharp angle.

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Step 3: Begin wrapping rope around the base of the cylinder, with the cut end facing up. As you wrap, apply glue in between the layers of rope. Apply the glue continuously, but be mindful not to let too much ooze out the front or the back (the latter will glue the rope to the cylinder and make it hard to release). Continue wrapping the rope up and around the balloon, making sure to closely follow its shape, until only about an inch of opening remains at the top for the light’s cord to pass through.

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Step 4: Pop the balloon, then glue another strip of felt around the first two inches of loose rope near the opening. Cut the felt-wrapped end, tuck it inside the opening, and hot glue it against the inside of the shade.

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Step 5: Remove the cylinder from the shade, using a ruler or a long dowel to help slide the cylinder out if needed.

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Step 6: Tape off the area that you intend to paint, covering at least a few inches of the part of the lamp you don’t want painted, and apply the paint of your choice. (You may need to apply a few coats, as the dye can soak into the cotton.) Let dry, remove the tape, and hang with a pendant light cord.

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Photographs by Amanda Kingloff. 

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