Friday, January 30, 2015

Monthly Projects--Update2

The second project that I will be doing a monthly basis is the Lampshade Project. Because of the success that I had with the shoji screen lampshade from my first Iron Craft 2015 challenge, I want to design and make a new lampshade each month.

I want to experiment with forms and papers. I will also experiment with the bases but most of the shades will be based on the pre-existing base that was designed for the first challenge.

For example, how tall can the shade be and still provide adequate lighting? What colors of paper work best? What happens when you layer papers on top of each other before wrapping around the wooden uprights? What happens when you increase the height of the spanners and how much light will still be emitted?

There are many questions to explore and hopefully some beautiful lampshades will be made.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Monthly Projects--Update

Doodle Book
(waiting to be filled)

Today, I wanted to share with you one of my new monthly projects for 2015. Continuing the doodling project from last year (the 365 Envelope Project) I decided to do one doodle project per month. Each month, I will make a large accordion book (12 pages/surfaces). Once it is complete, I will bind each into its own case. Each month, I will also create a separate portfolio to carry the unmounted sheets as a protective device that will allow me to carry the doodle along with me.

The  beauty of this structure is that it allows you to play with the size of the doodle in that you can do one doodle per page, a two page spread, a four page spread, etc. As the year goes along, I hope to make larger books to allow for a super-doodle.

I am already behind but I hope to catch up in February. 

Protective Portfolio

To make a larger book, all you have to so is seam pages together until you get the length/size that you want. To get to the 12 pages, I simply glue two sections together using a one inch tab.

Two sections glued together

I hope that you follow along with the progress.

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.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Project 1--Insert Box

Gift Box (top view)
This year's first project is a handmade box that will hold theater inserts. These are the inserts that are placed in the Playbills at a Broadway theater when an understudy goes on. These were gifts given to understudies and swings. The size of this box will hold standard half-sheets of 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper (4.25 by 5.5 inches).

Step One: Assembling the top and bottom trays out of Binder's Board.

Step Two: Selecting the covering materials (Marbled papers and Canson paper)

Step Three: Covering the trays. Making the relief cuts.

Step Four: Top and Bottom trays covered.

Step Five: Covering the bottom and top liners (velvet paper covered matt board).

Top View
Side View

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2014--Year in Review

Image from Yahoo! Images
Last year was a great  year for me regarding crafting and being creative. Here is a list my resolutions from last year and their results.
  1. Similar to doing the 31 days of Halloween, this year I want to do a 31 Days of Christmas. I don't quite know how I will organize it but will work out those logistics later. COMPLETED. Check out the Christmas in November series here.
  2. Several years ago, I designed a Advent project for Kat's Advent project. Of course, life and commissions got in the way. This year, I would like to complete that project. FAIL. Didn't even make one challenge.
  3. I would like to continue to post craft entries Monday through Friday, without fail. COMPLETED thanks to the 365 Day Challenge.
  4. I would like to complete a craft a day project and share it with people. I have chosen to complete a decorated envelope per day and to post it to my Flikr account (DrRuss2011) and my blog. Here is the summary of challenge that I completed last year. This year, I will continue the challenge but only decorate the front side of the envelope. COMPLETED. Check out the Envelope Challenge here.
  5. I have chosen to participate in Iron Craft 2014. I postponed my decision to participate because for the 2013 Challenge, I was able to complete all 26 challenges. I just don't want to feel like a failure if I don't complete all of the challenges for 2014. There is no pressure other than the pressure that I put on myself. I have really enjoyed getting to know the people that have participated and that was the factor that tipped the balance to continue in 2014. COMPLETED. Check out the Iron Craft Challenges here.
  6. Take more art classes. I enjoy taking classes at The Center for Book Arts in NYC and will try and save up some money to add a couple of weekend classes. FAIL. I didn't even make it to one class.
  7. Take a dance class. I never really took dance classes when I was growing up and felt too awkward to take them when I was an adult. This year, I finally realized my reticence--I could not stand to look in the mirror at myself. I might actually take a HipHop class at the Broadway Dance Center. FAIL. I didn't even make it for one class.
  8. Print more. I want to use my Print Gocco more this year or at least screen printing or letterpress. COMPLETED. I designed and used several postcards and a Thank You card using my Print Gocco.
  9. I want to make more postcards this year. These could be doodle cards like the envelopes or printed postcards. I have always loved sending a quick postcard to people. COMPLETED with success.
  10. I want to write more letters/postcards. I want to be primarily responsible for the recover of the USPS financial woes by sending out more mail. COMPLETED with success.
Not only did I complete the Iron Craft Challenges, I complete 26 other weekly projects (check them out here) in order to complete one project every week. So, all in all-- I great year.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy 2015

Photo from Yahoo! Images

No--I haven't fallen off the face of the world. I just decided to take the New Year's extended weekend off from blogging. I have lots of new stuff to share. I have decided not to do a 365 Challenge this year in order for me to share other spectacularness with you this year.

Please follow along for a fantastic 2015. BTW, I WILL be participating in the Iron Craft Challenges for 2015. If you want to play along, please visit my friends at Just Crafty Enough for the details.

Much Love--(dr)Russ