How To: Make Your Own Solar-Powered "Sun Jars"!

by Capree K

How To: Make Your Own Solar-Powered "Sun Jars"!

We've shared quite a few mason jar projects here on Curbly (did you see our roundup of 15 awesome uses for mason jars?) and we've even highlighted a purchasable sun jar, too.  Of course, it couldn't be too long before we found a DIYable version, right?  Well, at least not if the industrious people of the Internet have their way.  So, if you haven't yet exhausted your supply of jars from all those other rad projects and are looking for a fun, eco-friendly lighting solution, read on!  

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Back to School: Colorful Essentials for Happy Dorm Living!

by Capree K

Back to School: Colorful Essentials for Happy Dorm Living!

It's back to school season and for many starting or returning to college, a white cinder block room awaits.  Hooray for student housing!  Balancing school, jobs, and a social life is difficult enough, so we're making sure your home away from home is as non-depressing as possible.  We've rounded up a few of our favorite colorful essentials to make dorm life happy on the inside - and friendly on your student budget!   

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DIY Roundup: 10 Stylish, Budget-Friendly Lights to Make This Weekend!

by Capree K

DIY Roundup: 10 Stylish, Budget-Friendly Lights to Make This Weekend!

Well, you probably can't make all ten this weekend (if you somehow manage to actually accomplish that feat, well, let's say I owe you a lollipop).  But, if you're itchin' for a new light fixture that's both stylish and easy on the wallet, here are ten separate weekend projects for your consideration!  (Pick and choose, people.  We don't want anyone getting hurt.)  

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Give a Thrift Store Lamp a DIY Decorative Spirally Update

by Kelly B
Images removed at the request of Better Homes and Gardens. Sorry, everyone!

It's no secret that we all have pieces in our homes that we once loved and now are just tired of looking at. Maybe they're tucked away in a closet because we feel guilty about tossing them just yet, or they're still out because you've yet to buy a replacement piece, or maybe they're in the Goodwill pile in your guest room (Guilty.). But sometimes all it takes is a glimmer of potential to renew your love of something. Like, oh, say maybe a plain ceramic lamp.

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Stumped? Log Some Inspiration With These DIY Lights!

by Capree K

Stumped? Log Some Inspiration With These DIY Lights!

Oh snap!  Looks like we've got stumps on the brain.  Stump stools, stump tables, and now stump lights!  If you're ready and willing to embrace the stump craze, we have not one but two DIY lighting projects for your consideration.  

I was going to make a comment about how these lights are TREE-ific... but decided against it.  (See what I did there?)  Instead, I'll just get right on down to business and show you a sweet table lamp and an awesomely rustic/modern* pendant light.  Ready?  Let's do this.

created at: 06/29/2011

First up, Stumpy Table Lamp.  This woodsy beauty is the creation of crafty blogger Lydia Pudel and comes to us via IKEA Hackers.  After selecting a perfectly-sized log from her stack of firewood, she drilled a hole down the middle and attached a JANUARI lamp base ($13).  Choose your favorite shade and voila!  Insta-stump light!

created at: 06/29/2011

So, this pendant light is more of a log, really.  But let's not get hung up on technicalities.  Instead, let's make a rad light!  HJ Geel shares this clever creation on IKEA Hackers, noting that it'll take about half a day to build the light, but 6 months of drying time if you happen to start out with a fresh log.  Parts needed?  Three GRUNDTAL lights and two DEKA cables.  The process is a bit more involved than the stump table lamp, so hit up IKEA Hackers for the full tutorial.

And there you have it!  Two stump-tastic DIY lights.

*NOT an oxymoron, I swear.

(Also, I'd like to apologize for the uninhibited use of stump- and tree-related puns in this post.)

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Make it: Hip Hemp Pendant Lamps

by Kelly B

Make it: Hip Hemp Pendant Lamps

The entryway to my home is small, but I love the idea of having some sort of statement piece present. Every space needs a little interest, but because all the real estate I can offer is in ceiling height I'm mainly limited to a killer light fixture. The second I saw this project for hemp pendant lamps I knew I'd found the one to fit my style. And my champagne tastes can rest easy, knowing that I'll be spending less than on a nice dinner out!

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Outdoor Decor: 5 Beautiful DIY Paper Lantern Projects

by Craftmel

Outdoor Decor: 5 Beautiful DIY Paper Lantern Projects

I know what you are thinking: paper and outdoors?? Well, perhaps not permanantly, but for those non-rainy summer gatherings, you will want your outdoors do be as fun and welcoming as your indoors. Paper is inexpensive, comes in a bazillion varieties, and makes a big impact! Here's a big tip: start with a ready-made paper lantern and gussy it up a bit!     

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How to: Make a Modern Paper Lamp Shade

by Chris Gardner

How to: Make a Modern Paper Lamp Shade

Q: What's more fun than a brightly colored, modern, pleated paper lamp shade?

A: A brightly colored, modern, pleated paper lamp shade you made yourself!

Because paper is somewhat rigid and requires only minimal interior framing, it is perfect for making lamp shades. You start this project with a rectangular sheet of paper, pleat it in two different directions, and then, to make a sphere, reshape the pleats by arching them open one row at a time—no cutting involved. It’s a really cool process with beautiful results. This project comes to Curbly from the fantastic new book, Modern Paper Crafts by Margaret Van Sicklen.

SUPPLIES

  • Practice paper: One 8½"-wide x 11"-long sheet of copy paper 
  • One 24"-wide x 37"-long rectangle of thin, crisp, translucent paper 
  • 24" metal ruler 
  • Pencil Bone or wood folder 
  • Removable tape 
  • Glue stick 
  • ¹⁄8"-round paper punch 
  • Kitchen twine
  • lamp kit
created at: 06/15/2011

1. Measure and mark the outside edges of the practice paper. Then, starting at the top of the paper and working your way down, fold the marked alternating mountain and valley folds in Drawing.  Use a bone folder to crease the folded edges flat. The resulting pleats will overlap, like pleats in a kilt.

created at: 06/15/2011

2. In this step, the pleating technique produces stacked pleats all the same size that sit atop one another like pleats in a closed fan. Mark 1" increments for 7" at the top and bottom edges. Starting on the left edge and working across the paper, mountain-fold and then valley-fold the marked lines. Use a bone folder to firmly crease the folded edges flat. Then rotate the paper, so it’s horizontal, with the long extending edge positioned at the back.

created at: 06/15/2011

3. Holding the paper firmly where marked with stars, pull the center pleats, and then the surrounding pleats, outward in an arc. Continue to shape the paper by arching the pleats of each row. Isn’t that cool? I love shaping these pleats and seeing a sphere emerge (note that the practice sheet produces a quarter-slice of a sphere).

created at: 06/15/2011

4. Now that you have successfully completed the practice pleats, repeat Step 1 to measure and mark your paper for the lamp shade. To reinforce the paper’s top edge, fold this edge 1" to the back side so that the shade’s edge will be double-layered. Continue to work your way down the paper as you did with the practice paper, mountain-folding and valley-folding the marked lines. Since this paper is much larger than your practice sheet, I suggest using removable tape to hold the pleats in place as you work. Otherwise the pleats can splay out, and things can get out of whack quickly. To secure the pleats, place long vertical strips of tape across several pleats at a time, spacing the tape about every 8" to 10".

created at: 06/15/2011

5. Repeat step 2 to fold the vertical stacked pleats every inch, alternating the mountain and valley folds and stacking the pleats accurately atop one another. In the left upper corner of the stacked pleats, punch a hole about ¼" down and in from the edge through all the pleats.

6. Thread a piece of twine through the hole, and cinch the top of the shade. Loosely tie the twine in a bow rather than a knot since you may need to adjust the size of the opening.

7. To begin shaping the sphere, remove the tape securing the pleats, and overlap the end pleats, right over left, so the seam sits in the valley of the pleat. Once you’ve seen how to position the seam, lift up the upper edge, and swipe glue stick along the lower edge. Reposition the edges to make the seam, this time interlocking the horizontal pleats on the back of one edge with the horizontal pleats on the front of the other edge, so the form appears continuous. Pinch the top and bottom edges together until the glue sets.

8. Once the glue has set, repeat step 3 to shape the sphere. Holding the paper firmly, pull each pleat in one row outward in an arc. Continue shaping the pleats of each row into arcs. Take your time as you move through the shaping process, and be sure that the shade is evenly shaped on all sides (looking at the shape in profile will help you see if it’s balanced). I like to hang this shade as one of a group of pendant lights, placing it over an inexpensive shade that’s fire-resistant. And keep in mind that the heat from the bulb needs to escape through the top of the shade, so don’t cinch the top too tight.

When attaching this lamp shade to a light source, always follow the UL-recommended maximum wattage on the fixture and shade. Do not use this shade with a halogen or quartz lamp as they get much too hot. The least complicated way to use this shade is to slip it over a premade shade, adhering the two by placing beads of tack glue, such as Aleene's Tacky Glue, at the top and bottom edges of the premade shade. Don’t cinch the top or bottom of your shade tightly. Leave an opening, so the heat from the bulb can escape and air can circulate. The other option is to secure the pleated shade to a metal frame. For the pendant-style lamp pictured, purchase a frame fitted with a butterfly clip that snaps over the bulb. Using a needle threaded with cord, stitch around the inside edge, catching both the lamp shade and the ring at the top of the frame with each stitch. Again, don’t cinch the top or bot¬tom tightly, and leave an opening, so the heat from the bulb can escape and air can circulate.

Learn more about Modern Paper Crafts at Melanie Falick Books, and about Margaret Van Sicklen at her website.

Modern Paper Crafts: A 21st-Century Guide to Folding, Cutting, Scoring, Pleating, and Recycling by Margaret Van Sicklen, published by STC Craft | Melanie Falick Books, an imprint of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011.

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Make It: A Sleek Outdoor Fire Pit on the Cheap!

by Capree K

Make It: A Sleek Outdoor Fire Pit on the Cheap!

Well, I don't know about you, but I think I just found my next project!  But, first things first...  

...are y'all reading The Art of Doing Stuff??  Now, I'm not one to tell people what to do, but this is one site you don't want to miss.  So, bookmark it, add it to your RSS feed, whatever you have to do, but READ IT.  Daily.

Update: Chris, Curbly's own editor-in-chief, came up with this great DIY concrete fire pit design using about $40 in materials. Get the full how-to here.

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How To: DIY Spherical Base Lamp

by Chris Gardner

How To: DIY Spherical Base Lamp

Brooke says, "I have seen some SAWEEEEEET lamps out there right now with spheres on the lamp bases. I wanted to try and make my own version, but it has taken me a few weeks to come up with a worthy alternative for the lamp base. If I used styrofoam, it wouldn't look smooth. If I used circles of wood, it would cost too much."

And then she figured it out, and the results are mighty clever. Can you guess what she used?

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Newlywed Masterful Bedroom Makeover: Lighting Can Make All the Difference (How-To Included!)

by Erinh

Newlywed Masterful Bedroom Makeover: Lighting Can Make All the Difference (How-To Included!)


In making over our bedroom as part of the SYLVANIA Blogger Makover Challenge, replacing the old light fixtures was one of the bigger projects we tackled (making over your room? Check out their daily sweepstakes on Facebook). Need a little reminder? They're very 1996:

created at: 04/13/2011

Why replace our existing bedroom lighting?    
Not only were our existing lamps, frankly, hideous, but they also made the ceilings feel about two feet shorter than they actually were. Perhaps most importantly, they used a total of 350 watts of energy and made the room feel like a sauna. Hot!

What were the considerations when selecting our light solution?
It was immediately clear we need to go with recessed lights to raise the ceiling height. It was also imperative to find something that put out enough light to illuminate the room and the nether-regions of our closets. 
 
What did we end up choosing?
We settled on 5-inch remodel-style cans. Also, since we were in contact with insulation we wanted to ensure that the housings were airtight and IC-rated. They were the correct size, held the right type of bulbs, enabled easy installation, and would be safe. The final (and key) piece was a set of SYLVANIA ULTRA LED Dimmable PAR30 LED floodlights (you can also use the 12 watt Aline dimmable LED bulbs for standard lamps and fixtures).

created at: 04/12/2011

Now, rather than using 350 watts of energy to provide mediocre light, we're using just 60 watts of energy to generate great illumination coverage. It saves a ton of space and really makes the room seem larger. We love the clean, bright lights from these lamps – and they generate no perceptible heat. Cool!

Check out our video to see just how easy the change-out was.

And here's the entire process in 10 simple steps that we DO enourage you to try at home!

How did we make the switch?

  1. Turn off the power at the circuit breaker, then remove the existing surface mount light and hardware.
  2. Select the new location(s) for the recessed cans, and mark them. Confirm that you will not interfere with a joist prior to cutting into the drywall in a substantial way (see tip below).
  3. Scribe the holes in the drywall and use a drywall saw to cut the holes for the remodel cans.

created at: 04/12/2011
created at: 04/12/2011

4. Run wire to the first can, and run a new piece of wire from the first can to the location of the second can.

created at: 04/12/2011

5. Connect the wires appropriately (as indicated on the instructions) to both cans. Turn the power back on to test that the lights work properly. 

6. Install the cans and use the included clips to secure the cans in place. Re-confirm the lights work properly.

7. Install the trim and button up the lights. 

created at: 04/12/2011

created at: 04/12/2011

8. Remove the old surface-mount box from the ceiling and use a piece of circular drywall (see tip below) to patch the hole. 

9. Use spray texture and paint to match the surface to the existing ceiling

10. Enjoy!

Please be careful working with lighting fixtures and electrical wiring.
If you're unsure or uncomfortable, call a pro to help.

Erin and Chris' Light Replacement Tips:

  • Use a piece of wire (like a bent coat-hanger) inserted in a nail-size hole in your ceiling to check for obstructions like a joist or low hanging insulation.
  • Use a circular piece of cut-out ceiling drywall to patch the hole you created when removing the surface-mount box. 
  • Wear glasses and a mask when cutting into overhead drywall – avoid a large amount of dust and insulation landing in your face! (We probably should have done this ... cough).
  • If your remodel can “clips” cannot be secured easily, don’t fret! Just bend the clips a bit to make it easier to secure the can in place.

Be sure to check out all the SYLVANIA blogger room makeovers  on the SYLVANIA Facebook page. If you “like” the page, you can enter the daily sweeps to win your own SYLVANIA lighting products and Lowe’s gift cards so you can perform you own room makeover!

Erin Hiemstra is the style-maven behind Apartment 34, a daily blog that reflects her love for all things beautiful. Recently married, Erin and her husband Chris decided to apply her passion for design and decor to their Seattle, WA home. We're thrilled that they're sharing this DIY master bedroom makeover with Curbly.

This post was sponosored by SYLVANIA.
Curbly received monetary compensation, but all opinions are our own

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