Polymer Clay Talk -  Lampshades (308 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: Steven Rowe (StevenRowe1)7/29/15 3:35 PM 
To: All  (1 of 8) 

Hi, Newbie here taking first steps, I have a project in mind to make a lamp shade from polymer clay.  I've seen a post that says polymer clay is not suitable for this kind of application because it gets too hot and gives off bad fumes.  On the other hand I see plenty of pictures of lampshades that claim to have been made with Polymer clay.   Soo... can it be done and what sort of clay should I get to a see through effect?  Is it just a case of rolling it thin enough?

Thanks in advance for any help or guidance.



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From: betsykins77/29/15 3:58 PM 
To: Steven Rowe (StevenRowe1)  (2 of 8) 
 71153.2 in reply to 71153.1 

Hi Steve,


I am sure there are lots of people more experienced than I with polymer,, but I just can't imagine the whole lampshade being made with polymer clay. do you suppose that it was trimmed with polymer clay? Do you have a picture of what you're wanting to make? Polymer clay does give off fumes, but only when the temperature gets to a certain point, usually when it is about to burn, or does burn. It might help to see a picture because perhaps the light bulb won't be too close to the polymer. You can see light through some clays, but they would have to be very thin. So there must have been a few supports in the lampshade to hold it together. People are so creative, so if this was done, and it worked great, then I'm impressed. I'm a stained glass artist, and early on I was told that to fix a cracked piece of glass in the middle of an elaborate stained glass design you had to take it all apart to get to the broken piece!!! Can you imagine? And people did it!!! What they didn't know, was that you can crack out the broken piece and fix it. It was scary because you had to take something to crack the glass out, but then there is a technique to fix it. I've been doing it. What if I thought it wasn't possible? So someone must have figured out how to do that lampshade. Could you contact the website where you saw it, or maybe someone here can help you. Best of luck.


From: Steven Rowe (StevenRowe1)7/29/15 4:18 PM 
To: betsykins7  (3 of 8) 
 71153.3 in reply to 71153.2 

Here is an example, one of these clearly states electric wall mounted.


but I just looked at google images for polymer clay lampshades.

I don't have a specific design yet just exploring the practicalities before I go out and buy a bunch of stuff and end up gassing my family!

Some like this (https://srebrna.wordpress.com/tag/polymer-clay-3/) (scroll down for pics) seem to be glass with clay over which would protect the clay from heat issues.

My basic idea of what to do is

A.  Make a bunch of pretty sheets from clay.

B.  Mould this over a large glass bowl / dish that provides the basic form of the lampshade.

C.  With the sheet still on the mould cut the sheet into shapes.  Pierce shapes with adjacent holes so that they can be linked together with metal loops.

D. Bake and remove from mould.

E. Connect the various shapes together with metal loops, some discrete internal framework to hold the pieces in shape as required and somehow make a mount for the light...

If heat is really a problem I can probably use a LED bulb and dodge the problem all together.

The above is probably too hard for what would be my second clay "project"!  So will need to hunt around for something that will push me in that direction.

Any advice or pointers appreciated.



From: betsykins77/29/15 4:38 PM 
To: Steven Rowe (StevenRowe1)  (4 of 8) 
 71153.4 in reply to 71153.3 

I'm so glad you sent pics. Yes, this can be done. I was picturing large lampshades, like for traditional lamps. The wattage in these lamps you are interested in will be low. And attaching the clay to glass is very doable. If you type in google, attaching polymer clay to glass, you'll get some info. It will probably take you to glassattic.com. There is a section on that site that has a few ways to do it. The site isn't manned anymore, but they left the info up. If you can't find it, maybe I can and I'll send you a link. I just found it. Scroll down to glass:







From: SherryBinNH7/30/15 2:02 PM 
To: Steven Rowe (StevenRowe1)  (5 of 8) 
 71153.5 in reply to 71153.1 

A lot depends on the size and structure of the lampshade.

Polymer clay is wondrous stuff, but it doesn't have tons of structural integrity, especially if you want a normal living-room sized lampshade that allows light to pass through. (Tiny votive candle holders maybe, as long as the flame cannot burn the clay. These are often clay covered glass holders, with the glass protecting the clay.)

I think you might like to start smaller to build some skills before you attempt a full lampshade -- it will take lots of clay and conditioning and tools to get something that would work on a regular lamp, and that seems more advanced to me. (What if you don't like working with the clay?)

But say you were either adventurous enough or advanced enough to do this. Here's my brainstorming on the idea -- nothing I have ever actually tried, by the way...

I would get a simple (not fancy) wire frame for a cloth lampshade and cut paper patterns that would fit the frame sections, and use them as patterns.

I would condition my clay VERY well, using a lot of translucent in the mix, both because it emits light better and because it has a little elasticity to improve the odds of this working.

I would roll out the clay using hand rollers or find/borrow/buy a "Dream Machine" to make very thin, even sheets -- no more than 2-3 mm thick. (Dream machines cost more than $900 -- see what I mean about tools? But regular pasta machines (also a serious investment, especially if motorized -- although sometimes found at thrift shops) are only 6-7 inches wide, and patching strips together will give thicker seams that will be darker when light passes through. You maybe could work that into the design, but...)

I'd lay the sheets of clay out on paper on a cookie sheet, trace the patterns for the lampshade segments (a tiny bit bigger, for trimming to a good fit later) onto the clay, then bake according to manufacturer's instructions for the brand of clay you buy -- NOT Sculpey!!! (It just won't work for this.)

I'd consider wrapping the wires of the lampshade frame with glued-on ribbon or seam binding or other decorative fabric covering to give the clay something extra to grip, but maybe this isn't necessary.

Then I would use a good adhesive, maybe 2-part epoxy, to attach alternating segments onto the frame. When dry, I'd trim off any scrap and fit in the rest of the pieces, and trim them.

Hopefully that gives you a pretty clear idea of steps *I* would take so you can figure out what you want to do. Use Premo, Fimo, or Kato clay -- I use Premo and ma less familiar with the "flexibility" of the other brands baked in thin sheets, but that's what you will need almost for sure, for a lamp shade.

Heat from light bulbs safe enough for a fabric shade won't do anything to the clay. You basically only get odor or fumes when you bake, and potentially hazardous fumes when you burn polymer clay -- so don't burn it! (It won't kill you, but it's not good for you or your pets.)

Good luck


Sherry Bailey


From: Eva (mejsel) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host7/30/15 3:39 PM 
To: Steven Rowe (StevenRowe1)  (6 of 8) 
 71153.6 in reply to 71153.1 

Hi Steven - and welcome to the wonderfully addicting fun of polymer clay! You've already gotten a lot of good advice here, so I'll just tell you about Sue Heaser's book: "Creative Home Decor In Polymer Clay". In it there's step by step instructions for making a lampshade over a metal lampshade frame. She recommends the use of a strong clay like Premo (but Fimo, Kato and Pardo also have translucent clay and are equally strong and flexible clays).
I'm sure you can find the book on Amazon or maybe even in your local library.

I'd recommend the use of LED bulbs, too. Better safe than sorry, right?









From: Steven Rowe (StevenRowe1)7/31/15 11:14 AM 
To: Eva (mejsel) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (7 of 8) 
 71153.7 in reply to 71153.6 

Hi thanks all for the tips and advice, rest assured I'm going to start small and have few practices.




From: gilladian8/10/15 11:30 PM 
To: Steven Rowe (StevenRowe1) unread  (8 of 8) 
 71153.8 in reply to 71153.7 

I definitely second the recommendation of Sue Heaser's book; it isn't "new" any more, but the methods she uses are reliable and will work.

For attaching metal and clay together and getting a strong, lasting bond after baking, I've had very good luck with Genesis Heat-set paint - the "thick medium" as shown here: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/oil-color-paints-and-mediums/genesis-heat-set-artist-oil-colors-and-mediums/genesis-heat-set-artist-oil-color-mediums.htm

You can use it almost like glue on metal - it won't be "sticky" but will strengthen the bond after baking. I've glued thin translucent to wire with it, and mounted a copper "splash" ornament to a flat sheet of clay - and it has stayed for years of wear. I've also used it to strengthen the bond between smaller bits of clay on sculptures (horns and teeth, etc...).

For the translucent in your lampshade, I'd recommend trying Pardo brand translucent. It can be hard to get, but it is the MOST translucent of all the clays, and is quite strong. Otherwise, I'd go with Kato as possibly the strongest, though not as translucent.


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