How to Make a Photo Lampshade

Display memories on a lampshade with photo transparencies.
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For this project, you'll need color copies of photos you want to display. Even if the images are black and white, it's best to use color copies because they retain the detail better. Here's how to bond them to a lampshade:

Materials and Tools:

color photocopies of photographs
glossy gel medium
lampshade and lamp
40-watt bulb


1. Paint three to four coats of glossy gel medium onto the photocopies. Be sure to let each coat dry before applying the next one.

2. After the gel medium is completely dry, run water over the paper backing of the photocopies. Then gently rub the paper away with your hands. Try to get as much of the paper off the back as possible. Let dry. There will probably still be some paper fibers on the back. A little is okay.

3. After the gel transparencies are dry, cut them into pieces. If a page has a collage of images, just cut them apart.

4. Paint some of the gel medium onto the inside of the lampshade. It dries fairly slowly, so you'll be able to move the images around as you try to fit them together. To achieve a solid look all over the lampshade, try to butt the pieces together rather than overlapping them. Since the transparencies are flexible, you can stretch it to get the edges together so no white shows through. Overlapping will cause the edges of the pieces to show up darker. Note: If you don't want an all-over design and want the background to be white, you can print photos off your computer onto transparencies. This is quicker and easier, since you don't need to use the gel medium. You can just cut the pictures out and glue them into the inside of the lampshade. Just be sure you put the glue on the smooth side. The rough side is the side you print on, and computer ink isn't waterproof, so the glue will smear the picture.

5. Let the glue dry. Attach the lampshade to your lamp. Be sure you use a 40-watt bulb or less and never leave the lamp on unattended.

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