Always in style, hurricane lampshades are tremendously versatile. They can stand alone, be used to create a beautiful centerpiece for a formal dining room or be used with a single candle for evening patio lighting.
For the simple centerpiece pictured, I used three hurricane lampshades with bases. I always use a base under my hurricane shades to prevent any candle wax from marring the surface of my table. I added a pewter candlestick and a red taper candle to each shade and put a wreath of apples and greenery around the base of the center shade, and my winter centerpiece was complete.
To change the centerpiece for spring and summer, I simply replaced the red candles with yellow and replaced the apple wreath with a pastel floral one. In the fall, I used rust-colored candles and a wreath of colorful autumn leaves.
Not fond of candle wreaths? No problem. Consider these other ideas for decorating with hurricane lampshades.
- Colored glass or marbles can be used with a large pillar candle to provide color and interest to your table. Small seashells would also make an interesting filler.
- Create seasonal table decorations by painting a design on a clear hurricane shade. You'll need paint made specifically for glass¾the transparent type produces the prettiest results¾and several small artist brushes. Cut a piece of plain paper the same length as the circumference of the top of the shade, and draw a design on the paper. When your design is complete, tape it to the inside of the shade. Using your design as your pattern, paint the shade. This will probably require several painting sessions, since you have to let one color dry before adding the next. Don't be afraid to layer the colors if you're using transparent paint¾this will create a multi-tonal effect in the design. When you've finished your design, add a color-coordinating candle. Pillar candles are always a good choice. For a slightly more formal look, try using a candlestick with a taper candle.
- Use pressed flowers to decorate the rim of a shade. To press and dry flowers, place the flowers on a microwave-safe plate between paper towels. Put a stone or other heavy object on top. Microwave on high for about two minutes. To decorate, start by brushing glue on the shade where the flowers will be placed. Carefully apply a pressed flower on top of the glue. Continue this process until you have applied flowers all around the rim of the shade. Let the glue dry completely. The shade could be considered complete at this point, but you can take it a step further by using a coordinating color of glass paint to paint the rim. Allow the paint to dry and then spray on several coats of sealant to complete this project.
- Add the look of etched glass with decorative etchings or decals available at most craft stores. They're usually stick-on and can add interesting detail to your shade. Or to design it yourself, draw a design on a wide type of tape and cut it out with a utility knife. Apply the tape design to the glass, and then three light coats of clear spray paint. After the paint dries, trace around the edge of the taped design with the tip of your utility knife and remove the tape.
(Shari Hiller is co-author with Matt Fox of Real Decorating for Real People.)