December 13, 2012

at home in the curious city

If I had to dislike something about Christmas, it would be those gift wrapping bows. You know the exploding star looking ones that for some reason are only brought out during Christmas, but are not acceptable to use on any other holiday. This DIY aims to remedy this awful bow predicament.
glue stick
butcher paper
nail polish (preferably metallic or with glitter)
loose eye shadow powder (metallic)
sprig from xmas tree
red ribbon
cotton pad/cotton ball

Tear a piece of butcher paper and start rolling/twisting it up tightly. Once you are at the end of the butcher paper, use the glue stick to finish it and keep it scrunched up. Repeat to create 3-4 "twigs."
After the glue on the twigs dry, begin to paint them with the nail polish. You might need a few coats for more saturated color. Play around with the design like adding stripes or dots. Also while the nail polish is still wet, you can apply metallic eye shadow powder to add more texture and color. While the paint is still a little sticky, pull some cotton from the cotton pad and loosely press it onto the twigs to add a snowflake effect. Allow the paint and powder to set and dry.
Once everything is dry, glue the separate twigs into one large branch. One way to secure the twigs together is to tear another piece of butcher paper and glue it to them by wrapping it around them. Add a sprig from your Christmas tree and tie a ribbon around the bundle. Tape it down to your present and voila, festive-branch-thing beats exploding-star-bow any day.

Last year my DIY Christmas gift to some of my friends was a blanket. This year, I thought a great DIY gift would be a thoughtful piece of home decor. You could definitely DIY some art or sew something up, but I thought it would be fun to refurbish a vintage piece.

Step 1: Find a pretty lamp base. Use your imagination because most lamps are pretty ugly when they're naked. My secret method is called "squinting." Inspired by the lamps I saw on Hommemaker, I was on the lookout for some tall lamps. Little did I know I would actually find the exact same ones! However, you can definitely look on Etsy, Ebay, or your local thrift store.

Step 2: Pick out some shades. I think simple white ones are usually pretty safe, and you can change it up later. I really liked these pretty pretty PRETTY Kilsmo shades from Ikea, but their shades are notoriously ill fitting on non-Ikea lamps. The reason why I say pick the shades first, is that it may or may not change the hardware you need to buy in Step 3. (P.S. Do you like my festive winter slippers?)

Step 3: Change the wiring, socket, whatever else is wacky about the vintage lamp. You can buy rewiring kits at your local hardware store for under $10! To figure out what you need, it's pretty easy. You can just google "lamp diagram." This simple one is useful.

In my case, what I needed was this socket ring to stabilize one shaky socket. The other lamp was perfect. A lot of times, lamps are missing harps, which is what holds up the shade. I was going to buy harps, but the shade I chose actually clips onto the bulb. Easy.

Here they are on display on my piano. All done and ready to gift!

Total Price:
Lamp bases: $18 x 2
Shades: $7 x2
Socket ring: $2 (at Lowe's)
Total: $52 (or $26 each!)


  1. I'm lazy so I would just use real twigs :p

    I wonder if you can paint twigs.

    This reminds me of this tutorial:

    1. I was too lazy to go find twigs last night in the rain...otherwise yeah i'm pretty sure you can paint real twigs :D