D.I.Y Skull Lamp

I've had a lot of you asking "how did you do that" with a lot of my little boredom buster projects. So I decided to show you this one from start to finish so you too can have a go! This is a really easy but super effective lamp to make yourself!

What you need:

A lamp to "build" from, easier with a straight stemmed lamp
Plastic, hollow skulls (Halloween is the best time to find these babies)
Craft Knife
A lamp shade
Hot Glue Gun
Clay (air dry is best)
Spray Glue or other fabric glue
Your favourite Fabric

How to....

1. Dismantle your lamp as much as you can without touching the wiring. Set aside the Lamp Shade for covering later on.

2. Cut holes in the top and bottom of your hollow plastic skulls using a craft knife. You can position your skulls however you like, just make sure the hole is big enough to fit over your fitting etc. Don't worry if you slip with the knife, or the hole isn't round, this will get covered.

3. Place your skulls over the lamp's "stem" and tack skulls in place using a Hot Glue Gun. Once in place, add a little more glue to secure the skulls so they won't fall or move around

4. Once the glue has dried and your skulls are secure, you can start "covering" the gaps and moulding the skulls into the "stems". For this, mould some clay around the gaps and smooth over until you have achieved your desired "look". I used oven bake clay for this as I had no air-dry clay. I "baked" it carefully using a Heat Gun on low so as not to melt the plastic or cause any other damage. Once your clay is dry, you can sand or scrape any "ugly" bits you may wish to hide. I chose to leave my ugly bits to add to the finished "rough" appearance

5. Your lamp is now ready for paint! Tape/cover any parts which you do not want painted, such as the lamp fitting and cord, maybe even the base if you wish to keep the lamp base "as is".

6. Depending on the material of your lamp, I recommend covering your lamp in a spray can primer first to ensure the best adherence of your paint. You can then paint your lamp. I used spray enamel white paint, which is readily available from hardware and automotive shops for relatively cheap. You may require several coats, and be sure to check the skull's undersides to make sure they are well painted too.

7. Once the spray paint is dry, you can add detailing to your lamp. I decided on a "stone" like look, and achieved this with diluted acrylic paint (available in the art section of most department stores). I wiped & dabbed the paint with paper towelling, and added more in some places to achieve depth, particularly in the eyes, nose, between the teeth, and under the chin/neck area.

8. To give a glossy finish and to set in the acrylic paint,  apply clear spray paint or a clear polyurethane type paint. I applied clear spray paint quite thickly to achieve a "yellowing" effect, which almost makes the lamp/skulls appear resin coated!

Your lamp base is now complete!

Now for the lamp shade! No sewing required!

1. Select your favourite fabric, I recommend a thin fabric such as cotton so that the light can still show through the lamp well. I chose Michael Miller's Nevermore fabric as I not only love the awesome elements of this fabric, but I think the colours fit well with the look I am trying to achieve.
NOTE: If your lamp is conical in shape, stay away from fabrics with straight lines etc, as this will be obviously "out of line" when it wraps around your shade.

2. Measure your lamp shade both width as well as the diameter and measure out your fabric then cut. Allow a little bit of extra width to wrap around the edge of your lamp shade and to overlap the end and create a seam. I gave myself around 1cm extra on each side and on one end. If using a conical lamp shade, you may need to roll your shade and you mark the cut lines around it, to ensure a proper fit.


3. I highly recommend ironing your fabric before continuing, otherwise you could end up with difficulties while wrapping your fabric around your shade.

4.Ensure you have a clean surface to work on and apply your glue according to the manufacturer directions. I used ADOS spray glue. I sprayed the glue on both surfaces, paying particular attention to the edges and ends.

5. Line up the end of your fabric with any seam which may already exist in your lamp shade so to create your seam in the same place. Slowly roll your lampshade onto the flat, glued fabric until your lampshade is covered. Smooth over your fabric to ensure there are no wrinkles or creases as these will show up when light shines through. Ensure the Seam is secure so no future fraying can occur. Roll the excess edges around your lamp and tuck in if possible, creating a nice smooth edge. Trim off any excess threads.


Your lamp shade is now complete!

All that is left to do, is to re-assemble your lamp and you're done!

I advise the use of an LED bulb where possible to keep heat emission's down.

Some alternative ideas could include painting your lampshade instead of covering, and adding "cobwebs" to the finished lamp which you can find in most stores at Halloween.