DIY Gypsy Lamps (and a Giveaway)

Today is my final guest post over at Samhain’s Sirens. We’ll be making Gypsy Lamps and giving away a lovely lilac colored necklace with amethysts and moonstones. I’m happily sharing the craft post with you here, but to enter the giveaway you’ll need to go to the Samhain’s Sirens blog and enter by Monday morning at 6:00 am EDT. Here is a picture of the necklace being offered.

Creations by RLC widget pic

Gypsy Lamps

They say lighting sets the mood. Whether your style is gypsy or ghoul, you can completely transform your home and have light anywhere with the magic of an LED light specifically made for paper lanterns. LED Paper Lantern Light

Craft Materials:

  • Paper Lantern LED light (available at most craft stores–$9.99)
  • Three AAA batteries
  • Plastic bottle to use as the lamp shade
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Cord, ribbon, or twine (length needed to tie around your LED and pass through your shade plus about 1 ft for gathering fabric. If you will be using the same cord for hanging the lamp include that measurement.)
  • Fashion chain (optional, for hanging lamp)
  • One or more large scarves or cuts of fabric for covering lampshade (old, torn & dyed pillow cases or rags will work as well)
  • Twist tie to help secure fabric around the shade (optional)
  • Twig or piece of wire to hold LED light (optional depending on type of bottle used)
  • Craft Paint or Wax Paper and tape (optional)

Craft Steps:

Choose your lamp shade.

The item you choose will ultimately determine the size and shape of your lantern. It should be sturdy enough to support the fabric and be at least three inches in diameter. Some ideas include the end of a 2 ½ gallon water jug, the bottom of a laundry detergent bottle, or a plastic sports bottle. Depending on which end of the bottle you use you will pass your hanging ribbon through either a small cut in the bottle or the neck of the bottle. If passing through the neck you will need to craft a support for your LED out of a twig or piece of wire. I’ll show an example of each version.

Prepare your bottle.

Remove any labels from your bottle. Decide which part of the bottle you will use and cut it down to the desired size. If the plastic is completely clear you can make it more opaque by taping large strip of wax paper around the bottle or applying a light coat of craft paint.

Place the batteries in the LED and insure it is working.

Measure your cord.

You will need enough cord to tie around the clip of the LED and pass back through the shade. To determine the length, measure from the top of your shade to the point at which you want the LED to hang. The length of cord needed will be twice this amount plus 10 inches if using a separate cord or chain for hanging. If using the same cord for hanging, figure the additional length needed into your measurement.

Version 1: Using the end of a bottle

Cut a small “x” in the center for means of threading the hanging cord.

Tie the cord around the clip of the LED, centering the LED on the cord.

Gypsy Lamp LED tie off

Decide how far above the LED you want the shade to sit and tie a knot at that point. Pass the ends of the cord through the underside of your shade (through the “x”) until the shade rests on the knot.

Gypsy Lamp thread through

If hanging your lamp directly from this cord, tie another knot just above your shade (so the cord does not fall back through. Braid or bead the remaining length of cord, forming a final loop at the end to allow for placement on a hook.

If you will be adding a separate hanging chain, create a small loop just above the shade to which you will attach your hanging chain

Version 2: Using the top of a bottle

Cut a piece of twig or wire to fit snug just below the neck of the bottle; this will act as a harp to support the shade.

Gypsy Lamp harp

Tie the cord around the clip of the LED.  Decide how far above the LED you want the shade to sit and tie a loose knot. Insert your twig through the knot and tighten. Pass the ends of the cord through the neck of the bottle until the shade rests on the twig.

If hanging your lamp directly from this cord, braid or bead the remaining length of cord and finish off with a loop to allow for placement on a hook.

If you will be adding a separate hanging chain, create a small loop just above the shade to which you will attach your hanging chain.

Drape the fabric.

Gathering and draping the fabric is easier to do while the lamp is hanging—allowing you to use both hands!  Play with the layers of fabric until you like the way it drapes. Secure with a twist tie either just above your shade (for Version 1) or around the bottle neck (Version 2).  Add a decorative ribbon or cord and you have a fabulous, magical (no outlet necessary), hanging lamp!

DIY Gypsy Lamp

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No Glue Burlap Wreath Dressed Up for Fall

Fall Burlap Wreath by RLCI finally invited autumn into our home. To me, a wreath is a sign of welcome and prosperity; an invitation for each season to share her gifts. So today, I re-dressed my No Sew No Glue Burlap Wreath in the colors of the season.

For those of you who missed the original post, below is a picture of my summer wreath. The beauty of this wreath is that it is so easy to change it up for each season or holiday. By creating decoration “picks” there is no need for glue. You can make the wreath as thick and “poufy” as you like just by altering the amount of material you use, how many sections you create and how much you “pouf” the fabric. (Click here for original instructions).  Burlap Wreath Summer by RLCA

For the fall makeover I removed all the buttons and ribbons from the original wreath. Next, I chose two types of ribbon—tucking one end of each under the wire behind the burlap fabric at the bottom (you could also pin the ends in place). I brought the ribbons around the wreath, tying them into place with some twine.

Imitation flowers tucked under the same hidden wire behind the fabric at the bottom along with a pick made from some fall leaves (clipped from a garland) create the focal point. The makeover took about ten minutes.

Burlap Wreath Fall Focal by RLC

Check Out Another Easy Wreath
This one is made in the same way but with wired stems that twist into place! Autumn Burlap Wreath by RLC

Do you enjoy making wreaths? Tell us about your favorite! What types of base do you prefer? Silk flowers or dried? Is there a family story that goes along with your wreath?

What’s on Your Craft Bench?

On the Workbench by rlcI thought I’d take a moment to share some of the of the things I’ve been working on and invite you to share your own projects.

Lately, I’ve been in jewelry mode. I decided to create some resin pendants using Halloween-themed pictures I drew a few years ago. It’s fun to take the original illustration and use photo editing to apply different techniques–each pendant comes out unique!

Red Flight bracelet by RLCJust to show the difference, here is a picture of bats flying with the moon in the background. But in one version the moon seems to be bleeding (and has an extra bat), the other (in the picture below) is more sepia toned.

 

On the Workbench Items by rlc

I reverse-painted some clear pendants and ended up with some really neat effects! I especially like the blue one (in the picture here), but there was a lovely, shimmering lilac colored pendant that became the focal for this necklace.

Creations by RLC widget pic

I’ll be adding the finished projects to my shop as I go along. I just recently added these two. One is original artwork in resin, the other is a Dia De Los Muertos lariat necklace featuring hand-formed and hand painted clay skulls. Passkey and Los Muertos by RLCby RLC

So, that’s what’s on my bench right now–what’s on your bench? Are you making crafts for Halloween or stitching gifts for Christmas? Are you trying something new? Do you have a craft to share? Let us know!

 

 

 

 

Create an Eerie Gallery of Illuminated Picture Boxes

Illuminated Picture Boxes for HalloweenBe the curator of your own ghostly museum! These DIY light boxes are a fun way to light up your hallway, bathroom, or fireplace mantel.

I shared this craft last Friday with the folks at Samhain’s Sirens but thought it was so fun I’d re-post the craft here!

 

Craft Materials:

  • Empty boxes—one for each illuminated picture. These will be your frames.
  • Ruler to measure the “window” size for your print.
  • Item to trace for “window” (optional)
  • Vellum for printed picture (about .99 cents at the craft store; scrapbook section)
  • Computer and computer printer for printing picture onto vellum
  • Paint, pretty paper, or other embellishments to decorate frame
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Tape
  • Glow stick or battery operated light source. (I used the submersible LED lights I talked about in Light Up Your Party. They have a clip on the back to hold them onto the box/frame)

 

Craft Steps:

Choose an empty box—an empty cereal box or tissue box will work nicely. Tape closed any open ends and cut a large opening out of the back side of the box.

Illuminated Picture Boxes one

Lay the box face down and measure or trace your desired picture window opening (I used the lid to a can). Cut out the opening.

Illuminated Picture Boxes two

Measure your window to determine the needed size of your printed picture. If you will be painting your box you might do this now so it has time to dry.

Illuminated Picture Boxes three

Using your computer, choose a photograph or illustration to print. You might want to manipulate the image using photo editing software. Save the image.

Decide how you will print the image and print a test page on regular paper.

How you print the image depends on your equipment. I use my Word program and insert the image onto a document. The rulers on my screen help me to size the image.

Check your test page against the window you cut from your box. If you are happy with the size then print a final copy onto a piece of vellum. Note: Vellum does not take ink as well as regular printing paper, so be prepared to allow a few minutes of drying time. Your image might have roller lines or other ink imperfections but that just adds character to your final work. (wink*)

Cut out your image allowing enough of a border for taping to the box.

Samhain Greetings by RLC

Place your box front down on a table. Place your image face down inside the box. Check the placement to be sure the image is correctly positioned in the window. Tape the image to the inside of the box.

Illuminated Picture Boxes five

Finish decorating your frame. When the time comes to illuminate your box simply tape a glow stick—those little sticks you break and shake—or a small, battery operated light source to the inside bottom ledge of your box.

Illuminated Picture Boxes Samhain Greetings

I’d love to see your gallery! Send me a note or leave a comment if you want to share your picture boxes with Museiddity readers.

Light Up Your Party!

You have your decorations up, your costume made, and your menu planned—have you thought about your lighting? When planning your Halloween gathering your choice of lighting is as important as your menu. After all, nothing ruins a mood faster than turning on the lights! This means your lighting needs to pull double duty—provide atmosphere and enough light for people to see by. One of the most versatile lighting options I’ve found is the submersible LED.

Basically, these are bright, tiny flashlights that possess a watertight seal when turned on—perfect for illuminating potions or specimen jars! You’ll findSubmersible LED Lights submersible LED lights in the floral section of your local craft store. Available in several colors, they turn on with a simple twist of cap and some of them have a handy clip on the back to allow for more flexible placement options.

Your buffet table is the perfect place to begin planning your lighting. How do you create a mood and keep the food looking appetizing while using a minimum amount of space? Illuminated jars will serve you well here by providing both light and acting as raised pedestals for serving dishes. Fill a few jars with water and place a submersible LED in each jar. You can add food coloring to the water, some fresh herbs for an underwater effect, or plastic body parts. Cover the jars with lace or gauzy fabric for a more muted light.

Submersible Lights in Buffett SettingA

The bathroom provides another lighting challenge. Try adding a couple of submersible LED lights to a vase of flowers; in addition to a fairly bright light the flowers will provide a nice shadow effect. (Tip: add purple or black food coloring to the water and the flowers will turn a darker color.) Illuminated jars will work here as well; try tucking one out of site behind the toilet or filling the shower with specimen jars. If you have a tub, fill the tub with colored water and anchor a few of these LED lights in the bottom. Create a scene in the tub—maybe a gruesome mask amongst floating vines.

The tiny size of these lights allows you to tuck them just about anywhere; they don’t have to be in water. Clip them to your other decorations, hide them on top of the cabinets…let your imaginations go! Just don’t let the dog eat them.