Fan Fail

(First and foremost, if you’ve been reading my writings for some time now you probably know that I usually post on Saturdays.  I’m switching that pattern up on y’all though and am going to start posting on Mondays with a few posts sprinkled in between due to family scheduling around here.  So, look for me at week’s beginning from now on!)

I tried something that’s been on my to-do list for awhile this week – updating the ceiling fan in our master with some sort of DIY light kit.  Success wasn’t on my side this week though so I’m considering the whole project a semi-fail.  But, I’m going to blab about it anyway just so you know it’s not all sunshine and roses, perfection and bliss over here when it comes to showcasing completed projects.  :)

So, at the beginning of the week, this is what our fan looked like:
fan 002 
Blah.  Thank the heavens it’s brass and not shiny gold but…blah.

Well, a couple of months ago I found this lamp shade on clearance at a local gem, Old Time Pottery, for $6 and thought it had great bones and once I put my crafty pants on, would look great hanging from any one of the boring ceiling fans in our house.  (I actually hung a shade from the ceiling fan in the girls’ room and love it, so I knew it could work.)
fan 001

The fabric however, had to go.  I could’ve just glued my new fabric right over the old but I was planning on using a white fabric that was a tad bit transparent and didn’t want the old fabric’s pattern showing through.  Also, as the old fabric was a darker color, it would’ve let less light through.  I removed it by running a seam ripper along the frame, bottom and top, in between the fabric and plastic lining. 
 fan 004

After that I was left with this: fan 005

The old fabric was glued to the plastic liner so all I did to remove that was gently pull.
 fan 007

Unfortunately, the plastic liner wasn’t as durable as I thought and when I first starting ripping at a corner, I tore it…boo.  Thankfully, the next step saved me…
 fan 008

The last change I made to the original shade was cutting it down a notch.  I simply made a bunch of marks two inches above the bottom (making sure I was cutting off the edge with the tear), drew a line, and cut.fan 009

And this is where things all went slightly downhill.  Before I started the reupholstering process, I wanted to make sure I had cut the shade down enough so I had Anthony hold it up to the fan for me.  It was then that I realized that with the  plastic being an off-white color and not white or clear, it looked a little dingy.  Had I planned on using a dark fabric for reupholstery it wouldn’t have mattered, but I wasn’t.  Dang.  To make a long story short, I searched Lowe’s, Home Depot, the internet, and finally some craft stores with zero luck.  The only stiff white or clear plastic I could find that was at least the 42 inches wide I needed it to be was on ebay for $49.99 a sheet.  Umm, “no thanks” said the chick.  “I’m cheep, cheep, cheep.”  So with the brainstorming help of a Hobby Lobby employee, I finally decided to see how a half yard of thick tablecloth vinyl would work.  Cost me $3.  What was there to lose, right?  Hmmm…

Back to work, I cut myself a piece of vinyl the same size as the original liner.
fan 011

And then I cut out my fabric…both layers.
fan 013

You see, I never make things easy for myself.  I used some leftover white lining fabric from our dining area valances on top of the clear vinyl but under the sheer portion of a patterned Target shower curtain I found at Dirt Cheap for $2.  I really liked the idea of the pattern on the shower curtain to be subtle, white on white, but ‘in yo face’ when the lights were on…you’ll see.

(Side note:  The next few pictures are bee ay dee.  Sorry.  They were taken after bedtime and under the soft-white (why do they call it soft white?  It’s yellowy/orange/ugly.) lighting of our dining room chandelier.)

fan 014

So after cutting both layers of fabric a smidge larger than my vinyl (1/2 inch on all sides), I grabbed some spray adhesive (Loctite from Walmart) and first sprayed the vinyl, attached the lining fabric, then sprayed the sheer fabric, and attached it to the lining.  You have to be really careful when you’re laying the fabric down on your adhesive that 1) it’s straight and 2) there aren’t any air bubbles/folds.  If you’re using a pattern like me, you also have to make sure it’s straight…read, pain in the butt but so worth it.  After my fabric was securely attached to the vinyl, I used hot glue to attach both short ends of fabric before gluing the tops and bottoms to the frame.
 fan 015

This is where, if you make a shade from scratch for yourself, you’ll need an extra set of hands to hold the frame while you glue.  It’s also where you’d need a whole ‘nother set of hands to take pictures…we didn’t have that luxury so I hope my explanation suffices.

While Anthony held both frames and the fabric-covered vinyl was laid out across our dining room table, I started at one end and glued small sections at a time, top and bottom.  Anthony rolled the frames along as I went.  As for how I situated the fabric and vinyl, the frame was set on the very edge of the vinyl and the fabric was folded right over  it and glued to the vinyl on the inside of the shade.  See?fan 016

[Update:  And then she finds this forgotten iPhone shot which she promptly adds.]
photo

Behold, the finished product:
 fan 018
But wait, I know what you’re thinking.  “It looks all wavy and stuff!"  I know, I almost cried.  So the vinyl wasn’t a great idea.  Because it’s not as stiff as real plastic, it rippled, therefore ruining my idea, therefore ruining my shade.  I tried to make sure it was nice and flat as we glued it to the frame but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be part of a lampshade. 

Here’s a closer look at the mess:
fan 019

Howeverrrr, the ripples aren’t noticeable at all when the light is on.
  fan 021

And see what I was talking about with the subtle pattern?fan 020
It’s hard to capture via camera but it’s looks so cool in person.  :)

At this point I was annoyed/frustrated/felt like I just wasted a ton of precious time.  I didn’t even feel like starting Part II…but just because I had a naptime and a crazy hair the next day, I did, just for kicks.

The large shade was not made to be alone.  No.  It was made for a smaller shade to complete it.  Namely, this one:fan 017
It was a Dirt Cheap find that only cost me a few bucks.

It had a white plastic liner and instead of cutting a new vinyl one (my original intention but seeing how the first turned out…), I just used the same process to attach, remove, and reupholster it as I did the larger shade, minus replacing the liner. 

After that was all done, I grabbed a couple of twisty-ties and attached the middle bars of each shade to each other like so: fan 022

Except when I went to hang the shade I realized the light bulb was too big to fit in between the two crossbars.  Enter the sign for Wits End with this project.  Sheesh…what next?

String?  No.  Fishing line?  We don’t have any………..  Paper clips?  Yes!
 fan 023

TA-DA!!
fan 025

Last, not wanting the view from below to be all wires and stuff, I cut out a piece of cardstock and stuck it to the bottom of the small shades frame with some sticky tack. 
fan 034
Once again, I know, it’s much too small and not any easier on the eyes.  I just haven’t gotten the chance to cut a larger circle but I think that should solve that problem.

So, ripples and all, here’s the finished product.
 fan 031

I’m definitely not in love with it and it definitely looks “homemade”, something I try to stray far from when DIYing home decor but for now, I’m going to live with it until I get another dose of motivation to switch it up or fix the large shade…speaking of, anyone have any recommendations on where to find some plastic lining?

fan 032  

I’ll be back sometime this week with details on what I’m thinking of whipping up next for this sorry fan and lots of other DIY light kit ideas, including where I got the inspiration for this shade.  Stay tuned!  It’s gonna to be good!

fan 030

6 comments

  1. That's too bad about the waviness, but it really does look neat when the light is on! We just moved and I am all excited about DIY stuff now! (Although realistically? probably not gonna happen this year, what with getting ready for the twins to arrive and then, you know, two newborns and a toddler. :) I have high hopes for a few months out, however!)

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  2. Gorgeous Sheena! It looks great with the whole feel of the room as well! I have some ugly, ugly came with the lamp shades that need updated and this is giving me the itch to get on it!!

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  3. It looks really good when the lights are on, and it's not terrible when they're off. Maybe you'll run across another lamp shade with a white lining you can scoop up for cheap. Thanks for sharing even though it didn't turn out quite how you hoped.

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    1. Oh it'd be so easy to fix if I just found another shade...here's to hoping!!!! :)

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  4. I saw the title of the post & thought it had to be a joke...Sheena doesn't fail at DIY! Having laid mine own eyes on this shade in person, I wouldn't call it a fail...maybe: Did not meet expectations! I love the last pic, by the way.

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    1. Hah! Oh but I do Jesse. Just wait, the longer you know me the more fails you'll see I'm sure.

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