People Need Custom Lamp Shades For Different Reasons
There are a few reasons why people need a custom created lamp shape. One reason is to replace a broken one. In this case the broken pieces are often used as a template for the glass maker on which to base the renovation designs.
This type of custom shade is the easiest to do, as the original design is known, and the pieces are available for examination. Another reason is to fashion a completely new lamp cover - this may be for a new lamp, or it may serve as a replacement for an old one. This type of custom shade is more difficult as the glass maker must conceive of a new design or at least bring to fruition one that the customer has thought up.Replacing Discontinued Items
Most of the time the work lies somewhere in between the two. For example suppose a manufacturer has discontinued work on a particular lamp. The replacement you want is out of stock but you can find a similar style in a different color. Then you can ask a craftsman to use the old style to create a version that matches the kind you have in mind.
Do It Yourself? Sure!
If you are skilled working with your hands, using materials such as glass, thick gauge wire and fine foil, then it is possible to take on a project of creating your own stained glass lamp shade. An excellent resource is a DVD by Charles Kapp, in which the author details many of the techniques and tools used in the field. A small demo of the DVD tutorial is given here. The video talks about methods such as scoring, cutting, grinding, smoothing, foiling (wrapping edges in foil), and soldering glass. It's a must for those who are interested in a one-time project or in starting up his or her own exploratory business.
Here we list some places that give great directions on how to make your own lamp shades.
- Custom Lamp Shade Tutorial - specifically for making custom glass pieces. You don't blow your own but rather take panels of pre-existing glass, cut them to size, and then piece together using a "jig" to hold the parts together before foiling and soldering the edges.
- Lamps Plus Custom Lamp Shades - order your own design. The shades are made of metal and are all cylindrical. But besides that limitation, you are free to pick your own colors and design to put on the outer surface.
- DIY Life's Instructions For A Custom Lamp Shade - too cheap to ask a company to do it for you? Following these instructions learn to wrap an existing shade with a fabric of your choice.
- Lowerys Glass Custom Lamp Shade - beautiful custom-made hand-blown glass pieces. They have an extensive gallery featuring different styles, such as pendant, hanging, and standing torchieres.
Restoring An Old Shade
For people who are interested in the process of creating custom shades, it is useful to take a look at the nearest thing: restoring or refurbishing an old product. The store Hoyle Lamps displays many pictures of the different aspects of restoration, to the point of including work done on the fixture or frame that serves as the base of the light. One can see the photos here. The famous German craftsman Dr. Grotepass also has a nicely annotated page of high resolution pictures showing the type of skills and processes that are used on a really beat-up old Tiffany shade. In the picture series, he takes apart the lamp, pane by pane until the lamp is nothing more than a collection of glass chips and a twisted wire frame. The picture series is accessible here.