20 March 2013

DIY Paper Lantern Ceiling Fixture

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on electrical safety or fire hazards, and I do not know if the project I'm sharing here is completely safe to execute. I've done this in my own home at my own risk, and I'm simply sharing my experience. I do not assume responsibility for any consequences of attempting to replicate this project.

For years I've had a relatively plain ceiling fixture to light my room, with an antique brass base and a small, fluted globe. It was inexpensive and looked somewhat Victorian, so it blended fairly well with my vintage-inspired decor. Recently, though, I've been working to spruce up my room a bit and have been adding a lot of garden-themed touches. I wanted to do something a little different with my ceiling lamp, so after some brainstorming with my mother we came up with this idea:

It's a paper lantern shade, the kind often used as lighting for outdoor parties at night. The one I'm using here is the largest in a set from Martha Stewart Crafts, and was plain white out of the package. I dressed mine up in an oriental-inspired style using stickers, also from Martha Stewart Crafts.

First, I assembled the lantern using the metal frame that keeps the lantern open. I actually didn't wind up needing the frame after the lantern had been stretched for a few days, which made it significantly easier to attach to my lighting fixture. I did need the lantern propped open for decorating, though.

The stickers stick well enough to plan out an arrangement before securing them more firmly. I used my floral branch stickers at the bottom, added some loose flowers drifting up to the top, and finished it out with the butterflies. The pattern only goes up a little more than halfway, which is all you see when the lantern is suspended from the ceiling.

To keep the stickers in place permanently, I used a product from Elmer's called Glue Spots. They're just like they sound--little sticky dots of glue--and come on a roll of waxed paper like icing candy dots. To apply, I pressed each sticker on top of the dot while it was still on the paper, and used the heat from my fingers to warm up the glue a little bit from the other side. Then I pulled the sticker off, taking the glue dot with it, and pressed it in place on the lantern. It takes a little practice to get right without tearing the sticker, so try it out on scrap paper first if you want to use glue spots in any of your craft projects.
After a few days, I carefully removed the metal frame from the lantern to hang it on my fixture. I unscrewed the glass globe from the base and raised the top opening of the lantern above the screws. By unscrewing the screws until they stuck out pretty far and balancing the two wire loops at the top of the lantern over them, I was able to get my lantern to stay balanced and secure without using any additional means of support.

I love this look, and it was way cheaper than anything that I could have bought ready-made. It looks equally pretty with the light on or off, and the glue dots seem to be holding everything in place nicely. I haven't had any problems so far regarding safety issues, since there's plenty of space between the paper and the low-wattage bulb I'm using. Again, as I said in the disclaimer, I'm just sharing my experience here--I can't guarantee that this is totally safe. I have seen plenty of similar projects on the internet, for what that's worth, and I took that into consideration when deciding whether or not I was comfortable doing this in my own room.

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