Art Deco Lampshade (part 2)

Art Deco Lampshade (part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of this experiment (Part 1 was featured on June 20th).  If you have not already done so, you may find it useful to read the first part and then reading this will, hopefully, make more sense to you.

My first attempt at this experiment was not a complete disaster.  I was happy with the way the expanded design had shrunk back to its original size.  You might remember that because the layout was only one way (top/bottom) and little merino fibre was used (20 grams), I was working off a shrinkage rate of 100% on the vertical and 30% on the horizontal.  The pattern maintained its geometric shape which was a real positive.  However I needed to solve three issues:

  1. How to control the amount of viscose I used on the design (the viscose used for the first experiment resulted in the piece weighing over 50 grams when my previous lampshades averaged 30 grams)
  2. I needed to see if I could find a quicker method to lay the thin black roving I used for the outlines.
  3. I wanted to see if I could control the amount of wool fibre which travelled through the viscose (while at the same time fully felting the shade down to its desired size.

Three issues to sort.  I set to work.

Issue #1 controlling the viscose weight:

I felt it would be good if I could weigh out the viscose before laying it down. This might have been a straightforward exercise if I was working in only one colour but, given there were six colours to consider, (all of which covered different area sizes) it would be a big challenge to divide out the weights per colour.  For example, if I added 2 grams of each colour to the design the larger areas would be more scantily covered and the denser smaller areas might not let the light through.  Time to sleep on it!  By morning I felt I had the solution.  I would use viscose paper.  Last February I was kindly invited to make a video tutorial for my national association, Feltmakers Ireland and as part of my preparation work and work for the tutorial I made the paper.

Next I needed to make some pattern pieces from my expanded design which I could use to cut out the viscose paper. The symmetrical design meant that I could limit my pattern pieces so I noted the number of cut outs I would need for each piece.  Also, I worked out my colour scheme as some of the pattern pieces fitted into different parts of the design but required different colours.  Lastly, I weighed all the cut out pieces and was happy that the overall weight of the shade would not exceed my previous ‘successful’ ones:


Issue #2 Black Roving:

Next, it was time to see if I could tackle the issue with the roving.  You might remember that it was laborious to lay in the first experiment as the strands at the edges tended to ramble once I sprayed them with water.  This time, I decided to dry roll the strips of roving prior to laying it down.  It did not take very long and was quite soothing to do.  By the way, the wooden tray you can see in the photo has a non slip surface (Ikea) which is great for carrying drinks and also provides enough friction to roll the fibre.  I love multipurpose tools! I did not over-roll the roving – I just tidied it as you can see in the photo.

Then, I started outlining the design using the method Ildi showed in her wonderful blog.  I found it a lot quicker to lay out and the design stayed in place.  That said, I will investigate the pencil roving to see if there are stockists in Europe.  I sprayed water on the roving as I worked which helped keep it in place.

Next, I filled in the colour using my cut out viscose paper, spraying it with water as I filled in each colour.

After this, I laid out the merino tops (20 grams).  I decided this time to use a white for the background.  The layout of the merino is identical to that described in Part 1.  The method used for bringing the piece to pre-felt stage is covered in Part 1 so I will just insert some photos here (apologies if the narrative looks a little fuzzy).  When it came to joining the sides, I added a little extra viscose paper to cover the split (plus a little of the black roving for the lines):



Issue # 3 the transfer of merino through the viscose:

Once it was ready to roll, I rolled the piece leaving the decorators plastic and the resist in place.  I determined this time that I would use rolling to get most of the shrinkage so I kept rolling it until I was happy that it was well on its way to the final size.  (Apologies, I lost count!).  Also I wanted to handle the outside as little as possible so, when I removed all the ‘protectors’ I used gloves to handle the piece.  Then I turned the piece inside out and continued rolling.


Next, keeping the gloves on I did a little kneading and throwing but it was a lot gentler than last time.  Also, the duration was quite short as I was quickly reaching the required shrinkage.  I kept the measuring tape close by and regularly checked:

I turned the piece and, with the right side showing, fully rinsed the piece and compared the sizing and pattern to the one made in Part 1.  I knew immediately that the shade required a little more work as the central design was still an oval and it needed to be a circle.  I sprinkled it with a little hot soapy water and continued rolling until it was the required dimensions.  Then I rinsed it again and ironed it, shaping it as I worked:


Thoughts on the result:

I am quite pleased with the finished lampshade.  The colours were dictated by the viscose paper I had to hand but the overall result is quite interesting.  The colours definitely come into their own when the light shines through (yes! It worked!) I had mixed various colours when making the paper so I wonder what would be the outcome if each ‘page’ was a solid colour.  The outlines were pretty structured and the lines remained straight.  Also, because I ‘protected’ the viscose and either kept it covered or wore gloves when working it (and, of course, rolled it a lot more) there was very little transfer of fibre through to the viscose.  Part 2 was a lot more successful than Part 1.

The biggest challenge now is how to photograph using my phone!  To be honest, I don’t think the photos do not do it justice.  So I took identical photos, with a flash so that the colours are visible and without the flash (which shows the light shining through the lamp).  Here is the finished piece:


15 thoughts on “Art Deco Lampshade (part 2)

  1. That’s lovely with the light both on and off and the design is spot-on. I’d love to know how you made the viscose paper, though. Was it just two layers laid randomly? Thanks for sharing this project. BTW I think you will find DHG sells pencil roving….

    1. Thanks a million Nancy! Photographing the finished piece to show the actual colours was the most challenging part of the process (lol)
      On the viscose paper, here is a link to the video I uploaded on the Feltmakers Ireland youtube site. Can you let me know if you have any issues with the link. (you may need to copy and paste the link.

  2. Fascinating! I really like the results you’ve achieved. Your mathematical exercise has really paid off. I suppose you could use the first effort as a vase cover if it won’t let enough light through, or you could carve holes for light and shade effects. I’m sure something looking as good as that won’t go to waste.

    I assume that silk paper would work in the same way as the viscose. It’s worth thinking about, especially as I’ve lots of it and, more to the point, I am not at all keen on the manufacturing process of viscose – very nasty.

    It looks like Ildi’s method is here to stay. After seeing Lyn’s key dish, it’s one that I am in the middle of having a go at. I have also been thinking about making lampshades for some time but have not been sure about the possible fire risk. I have now found out that there isn’t one so I’m going to have a go. (add it to the list!)

  3. That’s super Ann. I have been using the Ikea lamps for a number of years now and I have never had an issue with over heating. I don’t think the LED lights heat up in the same way as the old ones. I have even used the base of their globe light for a bigger piece with no issue.

    I reckon the silk paper will work a treat. I like your idea of cutting into the first one – I may yet do that if I can’t find a suitable vase. My big mistake on #1 was not weighing as I went along – that was why I was over generous with the viscose – I was like a child colouring between the lines!

    Best of luck with Lyn’s key dish – it is absolutely gorgeous and thanks once again to Ildi for sharing her method – yes I agree it is here to stay!

    Be sure to share your pieces. 🙂

  4. The colours you’ve achieved with the viscose paper are fabulous (and don’t worry – we all know how difficult it is to photograph something lit up – it’s frustrating when your camera lens can’t see what your eye can see!)

    I hope you also get to use version 1 because although it was too thick to use as a lampshade it’s too beautiful not to go on display.

    1. Thanks Lyn. it will be like Cinderella’s slipper and the Prince. I will be checking out every possible object in the house to find a fit! lol

  5. Thanks for such an informative set of posts, Helene! I’m glad you got all the solutions to your problems in the first post worked out. The result is fantastic and yes, photographing lamps is very difficult. I agree that using a pre-made pencil roving of pre yarn is the best idea for this technique. But the cheap wool yarn I used work too. Is the surface shiny from the viscose? You can’t really tell from the photos.

    1. Thanks Ruth and that is a super alternative to the pencil roving. I actually have a ball of black wool I could have used. All set for next time. Yes, the sheen is from the viscose. I suspect the same could be achieved from silk fibre.

  6. This is just what I have been hoping to tackle, so really appreciate your generosity in going step by step. I have never covered a lamp before, so am wondering what you use to secure the felt to the structure? Thanks

    1. Hi Deb! I’m delighted that this post will spur you on to creating a lamp. Just a few things to bear in mind especially if you are using the Ikea lamp as a base (please see Sunday’s post for lamp details).
      A) I used 20 grams of merino fibre all running in one direction. The earlier post gives you the dimensions of the layout
      B) The viscose is tangled as per the photo. This keeps the merino in place – think of the viscose like a loose weave material to which the merino is felting onto. So, if you want to try something plainer as an experiment you might consider using something like bandage cotton (what you use to wrap wounds) or a light scrim as an alternative to the viscose. Cut it to the dimensions of the size of the layout, wet it to keep it flat and then lay your merino on top (adding a few embellishments if you wish).
      C) I joined the two ends of the felt in the piece and I added some light resist material to the inside. This formed a cylinder which I then felted down to fit the lamp base. The particular lamp base I use is a glass one (the white version – it is also available in pink and blue but the white gives the best light). Before I fit the light fitting inside the base I use the base to shape and shrink the cylinder shape. Once it fits snugly to the base, it does not need to be sewn on or anything, it will not fall off.
      I hope this helps. Best of luck with your project and please share a photo of your work.
      Helene x

  7. Fabulous Helene….can I now speak?
    Just goes to show great minds etc…..we won’t go to the next part of the saying!

    Love the sheen from the viscose it worked a treat with minimal wool fibres migrating through. A good job.

    A question (actually my second)….why did you lay the Merino only in one direction as opposed to a standard or ‘cloud’ layout? Obviously herringbone would have too much give although over a small object maybe not enough to cause a problem.

    Photographing is always difficult but you have certainly achieved a great visual story with yours.

    1. Paraphrasing the words of Ali G ‘Dere are no fools is da house”. (or either houses at that lol). Thanks for your kind words and keeping schtum for the few days.

      Now, to answer your second question (btw, did I answer your first one?). I chose a north south layout using very little merino (20g) to cover the area as I wanted to achieve a 100% shrinkage in that direction. Normally I would use a bandage cotton (the big on that you get in Boots – great value!) as the backing – the weave gives the merino something to hang on to. But I left it out, replacing it with the viscose, the fibres of which I ran in all directions when I was making the paper. I suppose it imitated the bandage cotton with regard to thread direction. The sideways shrinkage words out at c.30% even though there is no fibre laid out in that direction. Just wondering if the herringbone would achieve the same degree of transparency as the straight lay. Also, would it be more inclined to shrink uniformly rather than 100% N/S x 30% E/W.

      Where would we be without the camera on the phone eh? I’m just sitting here reminiscing on the days of the floppy discs and big PCs with very little memory capability.

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