Monday 27 May 2013

Room for improvement #1

Twelve years ago, when we moved into our lovely new (to us) family house, someone, it might have been me, made the executive decision that we wouldn't go down the normal route of painting everything white, because I felt we would then loose the incentive to decorate properly...can you see where this is going? That's right, twelve years on and there are still parts of this house that haven't been touched. That is not to say that we have been resting on our laurels, we have had a loft conversion, an extension, reconstruction of the front garden into a fabulous drive, a new bathroom and kitchen, and decorated some of the bedrooms twice! However the front room and the hall are still the same as when we moved in. Although the decoration is perfectly fine, it really isn't my taste, and twelve years of hard wear have left them looking pretty sad. So, I decided that this year the front room was getting a make over. And, because we needed new flooring and plastering it will be cost effective to have the hall sorted out at the same time too. The first step of course, was to create a Pinterest board, and you can see mine here. Then lots of research and getting quotes for the work blah, blah etc.
However, this post is not about my living room! You have probably found this yourself ,but once you start to think about redecoration, then you see potential in every room. And our bedroom was starting to look a little unloved. It was the first room we decorated, so it has quite a few years wear and tear. Also two small children/house monsters have joined our ranks, and they tend to leave their detritus everywhere. I reach out to my bedside table to find dirty old tissues from a nosebleed, or ratty hair bands but also some small tender offerings of hama bead makes, or a picture, or two, or fifty. I already had some ideas to spruce it up a little, when asked me to take part in a competition they were running. They are asking bloggers to improve a room for just £50, it was serendipity, so I said yes! 

Here is the before picture.
Some weeks ago our lampshade broke and wasn't repairable. So I had been thinking about a new one. However one of my many problems, is that I am very fussy, which tends to lead to me not buying anything. I just couldn't find a shade I liked in the shops (at a price I could afford), and then in a flash realised that what I really wanted was a dipped dyed shade. I had a quick look online but the only ones I liked were over £200, again a recurring problem. So I decided to make my own, my normal solution. 

I started by cutting out the fabric into roughly the shape I would need for the lampshade. you need to use a 100% cotton product to get the shade shown on the dye packet. A polycotton will come out 50% lighter. 

There are lots of tutorials online, with various different ways to dip dye fabric, but this is how I did it. I started by mixing up the dye (Dylon Ocean blue, hand dye) in a washing-up bowl. I wet the fabric first and then I hung the fabric over  the bowl. Then, after about 15 mins, I lowered some more fabric into the bowl and again after another fifteen mins, and then I left it for a further 15mins. However when I took it out, it was too pale, I wanted a darker border. 

So I added some more dye to the bowl and went through the process again, just keep going until it is right. I left some white fabric at the top but you could dye it all a pale blue first if you wanted. I ironed the fabric while it was still damp to make sure it was as crease-free as I could get it.

Then I discovered this fabulous video by Martha Stewart showing you how to make your own shade. I spent an age searching for the styrene shown in the video, as I am in the UK so I didn't want to pay p&p to get the kit from the US. Fortunately I came upon this kit on ebay which was perfect...I will never buy a ready made shade again! You can even have your own images printed as part of this kit, or they will print a colour to match a Pantone shade.

After ironing the fabric, I stuck it to the styrene. It took a bit of pulling and re-positioning until I got it crease free, as I was using quite a flimsy material.

Then you cover  the metal frame with double-sided tape and stick the fabric to it. The kit comes with a full set of instructions and a tool to help push the excess fabric behind the frame, so it looks really professional.

I have to say making the shade was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I am so happy with the results, much better than a bare lamp bulb. I have two other projects that I made for this room and I will post about them soon.

Disclosure, I was provided with £50 from to improve my room.

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