Lamp Revamp: A Second Chance Upcycle Makeover for the Family "Ugly Lamp"

Yes, "Lamp Revamp" is probably way overdone, but really it just works too well to pass.


Something that my family is never short of is hand-me-downs, heirlooms, antiques, etc. etc. We like our passed-through-the-generations furniture and our ancient handpainted china. Christopher Lowell would probably categorize us among the "Heartfelt Hoarders," since every item is tied to a person, a memory, or a pinch of history. Yet we don't like clutter. That's what basements are for.

A trip to the basement can be one of three things: 1) a mundane must, where you're probably getting something out of the freezer, 2) an imagined nightmare, where you just know there is something lurking in the shadows, prompting you to bolt up the stairs at lightning speed when you turn the lights off, or-- the most likely -- 3) a small adventure in which you are the explorer and the basement is some kind of Egyptian tomb where everything is intriguing... and a little dusty. Lately, I've had the third experience several times, enhanced by the prospect of taking some "treasures" to the new apartment. On one expedition, I noticed this lamp posted next to some furniture. I'd completely forgotten it was there (this isn't particularly new) -- it was known in our house as the "ugly lamp." When I asked my grandma if I could take it to the apartment, she laughed (like she couldn't imagine why anyone would want it) and told me I could alter it however I wanted (like she couldn't imagine the "ugly lamp" being redeemed). Challenge accepted.


So this is what I had to work with. (I'm actually sparing you by only picturing the lamp's body -- the lampshade was an entirely different burlap-like beast). This cylinder section about 9.5" tall, 15" around, and the lamp from head to toe is about 30". What you can't see well in the picture is that the center cylinder is actually painted metal. The metal was dented in several places and the paint, in addition to being unflatteringly bland, was chipping. Time for some I-believe-in-you love.

The original plan was short and sweet: slap some glue on, wrap around a piece of scrapbook paper, voila. But the scrapbook paper wasn't wide enough, and I wasn't convinced any of the designs would look good if I used two pieces of trimmed paper together. Well, what do you do if one medium fails?...

Yes, obviously, turn to yarn.

Rather than knit a sort of cylinder sweater for the lamp, I went for the wrapping option. I experimented with a few skeins of leftover yarn and decided on cotton.

Wrapping commenced. I used Elmer's glue at the very beginning, pressing the yarn into it with my finger so that the yarn started as close to the base as possible. When wrapping, I would wrap around two or three times, push the yarn down so there were no spaces between the strands, and pull the yarn end firmly to tighten the wrap. I used up the leftover yarn (maybe 50 yds or so? -- got me up two thirds of the way) and switched to cream cotton yarn, using Elmer's again to end the first color and begin the next, maintaining the wrap tension. Finally, I used Elmer's at the very top and cut the end of the yarn.

It took about an hour total. My back was shamefully sore -- I swear, it's about thirty years older than the rest of my body.. But I'm happy with it. I took the lamp shopping with me and found its new lampshade.


And that's it! Easy as could be -- "ugly lamp" no more!


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