DIY time with Philip: Lush of a Lamp or the Lamp of a Lush?

Flashback to an Oklahoma winter: a vicious storm had encased the tires of Dora, my Explorer, in 6 inches of solid ice, leaving me stranded for three days, eight miles from town, bored out of my mind, and stuck indoors. So, what to do? Quite obviously, this was the appropriate time for a crafting marathon.

So I set out to collage every surface I could: lampshade, desk, table, and empty wine bottles I’d collected from my parents. Since the electricity was out I was crafting by firelight when I noticed the interesting shadows being cast through the glass and collage. This prompted me to stuff red Christmas lights into the bottles to make lanterns, and using wire hangers and plant hooks, I hung them from my ceiling.

So to make your lush lanterns, you’ll need to acquire the following (photo 1):

– Glass bottles w/ mouths less than 1″ across. Wine and liquor bottles are great, and I suppose you could use forties if you wanted, either empty some or find them, whichever your age permits
– Water soluble adhesive (Elmer’s or Mod Podge work for me)
– Magazines to cut up, specialty papers, fabric, heavy gauge wire – I use wire hangers because I have them and they’re perfect
ceiling hooks for plants or decorations
– String of small lights, marked down to $2.99 @ Walgreens!
– Scissors
– X-acto knife or box blade
– Paint brush that can handle water soluble glue

Again, do not feel limited to the items listed above. The only stipulation for this project is that the media be translucent or transparent. Cellophane, paint, markers, etc., can be used in this process as well.

The process is fairly simple. First, decide on a color scheme. My lights were purple so I chose to do a red-pink bottle and a purple-blue. Then go through the magazines and cut roughs of images, textures, and colors that follow your scheme (photo 2).

After cutting the rough shapes into more specific shapes (photo 3), dilute your glue with water so that it is thinner but not runny, and coat each bottle in a thin primer of the new solution.

Then glue the collage elements to the bottles, either with or without the lights in the bottle. To get the lights into the bottle, fold a section of the string in half and starting at the fold feed the lights, one by one, into the bottle (photo 4 & 5).

To hang the lanterns, bend the hanger or wire, shaping it, according to the images (photos 6-9). Then insert the hanger into the bottle, the idea is to get the hanger to open up a bit after getting through the neck of the bottle.

Anchor the ceiling hooks in desired locations per the instructions on the box, making sure there is an electrical outlet nearby, then hang the lanterns (photo 10). It is important at this point to make sure the bottle is not going to slide off of the hanger. It if seems like it will, rework the hanger until it remains in its place. There you have it a recycled bit of mood lighting to accent what you choose (photo 11).

Written by: Philip Washington

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