Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Project 4--Another Insert Box

This week's project is another insert box that was given to one of the actors from a previous show.  I have been under the weather lately with all of the weather changes here in NYC which has caused me to be a little behind in my blogging.

This is one of my favorite marbled papers that I have in my stash.

Top View

Side View

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Project 3--Another Insert Box

Here is another Insert Box that I made for one of the cast members from my last show. This is one of my favorite marbled papers. Rather than the "pebbles" pattern, I decided to use the "flame" pattern. And of course, Orange is my favorite color.

Top View
Side View

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lamp and Shoji Screen Lampshade Tutorial

I was so happy with the way that this project turned out that I wanted to share the tutorial with you. As I mentioned yesterday, this was a project that had been percolating in my mind for years. I didn't have the time to research the individual elements and I thought about making the lampshade to fit a pre-existing lamp but I never could find just the right lamp base. I knew what I wanted but could never find it.

As I was out shopping in Manhattan, I ran across a lighting store and since I had some spare time on my hands, I decided to go inside and this was were I found the component parts for the lamp base. The other materials were purchased at Michaels and the paper was already a part of my stockpile.

Materials Needed:
A porcelain bulb unit
Electrical cord with plug at one end
Wooden Base (mine is 5.5 inches square)

Balsa Wood cubed sticks for the uprights
Balsa Wood thin sheets for the spanners
Wood Glue
Cutting tool for the Balsa Wood
Mounting Screws for the porcelain bulb unit 

Decorative Paper of Choice
Good Paper Paste/Glue
60 W (or less) bulb

Step One: Take the electrical cord and wire the porcelain fitting for power. My cord was already stripped at one end for the wiring but you might need to strip the non-plug end yourself.

Step Two: Center the porcelain fitting on your wooden base. Take mounting screws and screw into the base.  
Lamp Supplies
 Step Three: Screw  the bulb into the lamp base and test.
Lamp Base tested
Step Four: Build the box for the lampshade. Cut the Balsa Wood cubed uprights to the desired height. Make four identical pieces.

Step Five: Measure and cut the spanners. Measuring the sides of your lamp base, add 1/4 to 1.2 inch to this measurement. This should be the length of each spanner. Make four.

Step Six: Take a spanner and glue it to the outside edge of two of the uprights. Be sure to have enough space from the bottom of the uprights to the spanner so that the lighting cord can pass underneath the spanner. I started the first spanner 1.5 inches from the bottom of the upright.

Step Seven: Repeat step six for the second set of uprights.

Step Eight: Place one of the upright sets face down (with the spanner facing down--very important to get the orientation right). Take of of the loose spanners and place glue on right and left edges. Put the second upright set in your left hand (with the spanner facing up). Place the glued spanner in place at the top edge of the face down upright set. Take the upright set in your left hand and hold in place until the glue becomes tacky and holds. The spanner should be flush with the top edge of the uprights and with the left and right edges of the uprights. See notes below for the interior spanners. Once the glue is set up and still tacky, I rotated the developing box 90 degrees so that the gluing pieces were facing down. I glued one of the interior spanners to help hold the shape of the box.

Step Nine: Repeat step eight but the surfaces should be facing up and facing you. Place all interior spanners to help keep the boxes shape. I also used small bean bag weights to keep the uprights from shifting.

Finished Lamp Shade box
Step Ten: Cut the decorative paper to size. Take a tape measure or piece of strip and wrap around the box to determine the length of paper that you will need. You want a short overlap so add 1/4 to 1/2 inch to your measurement. Also keep in mind, your paper will stretch when it is wet and tightens against your box frame.

For the height of your paper, you need to decide how much opening you want on the top and bottom of your lamp shade. I decided to cut my paper flush to the top edge of the box and to the bottom edge of the bottom spanner. For my first attempts at making this, I wanted straight guidelines to wrap the screen so I used the spanners as guides.

Step Eleven: Take one edge of the paper and start flush with one edge of the upright and wrap the box. Make a small mark where the completed wrapping ends. If you have excess paper now is the time to trim it. You want 1/4 to 1/2 inch of paper to the left of this mark (as the paper is face down).Place the paper face down on a flat surface. Glue the left half of the paper. Place your box so that the left side of the box is on the mark you made on the paper. Make sure that the paper is flush with the top edge of your box. Take the left edge of the paper (the excess) and wrap the left edge of the box. Press firmly (but not too hard) so that the paper adheres to left hand spanner and uprights.

Press the spanners and uprights that are now on the face down surface. Rotate the box to your right one rotation being sure to keep all edges flush. Press the spanners and uprights against the paper and check that there are no wrinkles in your paper. See notes about wrinkles.

Glue out the second half of your paper. Rotate one more rotation and press down. Rotate the box for the final side.Your paper should end where you started and should end with the left edge of the starting upright. If your paper has stretched, just wrap the excess around the upright. Because this is where you started, this will be the back side of the lampshade. This one corner should be the only place where there is a double thickness of paper. When the lamp is lit this will show so you want this to be towards the back of the unit.

Set the lampshade aside to dry (in an upright position).

Finished lampshade
Place the shade over the base and plug in your lamp and enjoy.

Finished Lamp and Shade

(1) I kept all of the wood in its natural state. Feel free to paint the wooden pieces if you prefer. You should paint them and let them fully dry before mounting the porcelain fitting.

(2) There are all sorts of switches you can wire into your electrical cord. For my first attempt, I wanted to keep it simple and just use a plug in type of cord.

(3) After finishing step seven, I measured the interior distance between the uprights to make interior spanners. You can cut these in advance and have them ready when gluing.

(4) When you are gluing the paper to the box, take your time. Reverse any step if the paper becomes wrinkled. Usually when the paper wrinkles your edges are not flush. Once the glue has set, you will not be able to remove the wrinkles without destroying the project. SO. TAKE. YOUR. TIME.

(5) To test how your decorative paper will look once it is backlit simply hold the paper against a lit bulb. Darker Japanese papers didn't admit light as well as others. Also, some of the darker papers only let light shine through the light patterns of the paper which was interesting in itself.

(6) To ensure that there wasn't a fire hazard, I sprayed the decorative paper on both sides with a fire retardant to lessen the possibility of something bad happening. Regardless, I would not keep this lamp on for excessive periods of time nor would I ever leave it unattended.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #1--Lamp and Lamp Shade

Welcome to Iron Craft 2015. The theme for this challenge is fourth year anniversary gifts. The traditional gifts are fruit and flowers. The non-traditional gifts are appliances. Of course, me being a clueless male, I chose appliances.

This is a project that has been in development in my mind for years. I never had the appropriate pieces available or just never knew where to find them. As I was walking the Union Square area of Manhattan, I ran across a lighting store that had the ceramic bulb holders that were separate from bases.

I found the wood bases and balsa wood at Michaels. The Japanese paper I brought back from a trip to Japan. I am so happy with the way that this turned out that I will be making one per month. The photo really doesn't indicate the luminous quality of the paper. 

I will share the tutorial on how you can make your own lamp and lamp shade later this week.
Mounted lamp base on
pine base

I was so paranoid that this wouldn't qualify as an appliance that I resorted to going to the internet to get affirmation. Hopefully, you will agree that it is applicable to the challenge.

Shoji Screen Lamp Shade

Sunday, January 18, 2015

This Week

This year, I want to introduce a new feature for the each week. Hopefully each Sunday, I will share with you the upcoming projects/posts that you might be able to expect in the following days.

This week will be the first Iron Craft Challenge for 2015. The theme of the challenge was Fourth Year Anniversary gifts--either traditional or modern. Traditional gifts are fruit or flowers. Modern gifts are appliances. Being a man, I chose appliances. Tuesday will be the reveal date.

I was so happy with the way that the project turned out that I will be sharing the tutorial on Wednesday and/or Thursday.

On Friday, I will be sharing my weekly challenge--Project Number 3--another pretty little box.

Finally, this week, I will share one of my monthly projects with you--another doodle project.

Next week, I will share with you my other monthly project but I can't tell you what it is until my Iron Craft Reveal.

In summary, this year I have decided to do the following projects:

  • Iron Craft Challenge every two weeks.
  • Weekly Craft challenge (excluding the Iron Craft Challenges)
  • One monthly challenge (revealed later this week)
  • A second monthly challenge (revealed next week)
  • Several seasonal/holiday projects as available.
Thanks for following along--(dr)Russ

Friday, January 16, 2015

Project 2--Another Insert Box

Box and Liner
This was another insert box that was given to one of the cast members of the show that just closed. The inserts for this box were smaller so these were designed to fit that size. The  paper is one of my favorite hand marbled papers.
Top View
Side View
I never really tire of making this boxes and they truly seem to be appreciated by those who receive them.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Saying Hello

Washi Tape TV
I am sorry that I haven't been blogging lately--it hasn't been due to a lack of projects. I started a new schedule at the theater in order to help out since my co-worker quit with very little notice. I have been working days at the theater (normally, I work nights) and it has thrown a wrench into my blogging schedule.

On top of this change, all of the weather changes in NYC have caused me to feel a little under the weather with sniffles, colds, sneezes, etc.

One of the organizational projects that I wanted to share with you is how to use washi tape to better organize all of those cables and cords. I am constantly annoyed when I can't figure which cord belongs to which device. You pull out one cord and the cable box goes out and then you have to wait 20 minutes for it to re-boot by which time you have missed finding out who the killer was during the latest rerun of Murder She Wrote.

Since I have all of this extra time at my day job, I decided to color code the wires/cables/cords at work. I use a piece of washi tape at the plug end of the cord that connects to the outlet or power strip. I then take a matching piece of tape and place it on the device belonging to that cord.

Since I have so many colors/patterns of washi tape, I never needed to duplicate tape on a single device/power strip.

Washi Tape Cord
It was an easy project and one that I will repeat at home.