Saturday, February 9, 2013

Doily Lamp Issues

There are some people who's writing style makes me want to meet them. They just sound happy and witty. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not. Either way though, they sound like a character and someone I want to know. We received a submission from just such a person. They took what might seem like a simple and frustrating story and spun it into one of awesomeness and wit. I love it. Then to boot...this submission is from a man. About 95% of our submissions are from women and girls, so it's always fun to see projects done from a man's point of view (because let's face and women do think differently in general...neither is better or worse, we just think different). So today I give you witty and crafty Chris and his story of the doily lamp. I'll just fade out right here as Chris tells the story better than I ever could. I'll even just sign my name here rather than at the bottom because the rest of the post truly is Chris'. 

The Original Pin
I've attached the beautiful picture of my efforts.  GCT fail scale = 4.  This photo was not my first attempt but my second.  My wife found this delightful doilies lamp on Pinterest and asked if I would make it for our twin girls' nursery.  Sure!  Why not?  It's for the CHILDREN, after all, isn't it?  We had a measly two small doilies inherited from grandma.  I found an antique market where I picked up a few more.  At $6-8 a piece, I'd already dropped $50 bones on this project.

The instructions on the blog simply state: "The glue seemed to have just enough tack to hold them in place and I didn't have any problems with them falling off before they were dry."  I found that the glue was the source of much angst and cursing of the Pinterest gods.  The glue would not hold the doilies up against the bottom of the balloon.  I glued doilies on the top half and let it dry.  The next day I flipped the balloon over and glued doilies on the bottom half.  I was nearing completion and success.  The glue was dry, so I popped the balloon.  It looked ... okay.  A little distorted, but not bad.  One of the doilies was tan instead of white, so I decided to spray paint it white.  I took it out in the garage, hung it, and painted it.  The next it looked... not okay.  I don't know if it was the cold in the garage, or the moisture from the paint, but when I showed my wife, she just laughed and said, "Nailed it!"

I pulled up my boot straps and thought, "Now that I've done it once, I know how it works.  My second time will be Pinterest Perfect!"  I soaked and disassembled the doilies.  Cleaning of the paint was not very successful, so I had the bright idea of running them in the washing machine with hot water.  This choice gave me the opportunity of scraping tiny flecks of paint out of the inside of my washing machine.

Undeterred, I started on my second attempt.  Glue the top one day, the bottom the next.  You know what would make this job a lot easier?  Glue in a spray bottle.  Another $20 bones.  No problem.  I was just THINKING OF THE CHILDREN, and oh so happy.  Imagine the delightful shadows they'll see on the walls and ceiling as their precious little eyes droop closed to peaceful slumber...

I wanted to avoid the cold of the garage, just in case.  I carefully sprayed the glue onto my doilies right there over the kitchen counter.  I draped newspaper underneath to protect the countertop.

Now my doilies were quite sticky, but I didn't worry about that.  I was planning a coat of white spray paint.  Surely the paint would cover the glue stickiness, help the doilies stick together, and cover that one tan doilies.  One small corner of our unfinished basement would be a great place to spray paint.  It wasn't as cold as the garage, but wouldn't be that big a deal if overspray got on the floors and walls.  I spray painted, and thought, "Done!"

The next day I discovered what you see in the attached photo. 

The Pinstrosity
How did this happen?  Did the balloon pop on its own?  Was the glue too strong - did it make the doilies stick to the shriveled balloon?  Was the glue not strong enough so the doilies couldn't hold their shape?  These are questions that will remain unanswered by science, because I have a job and two twins to help take care of.  I don't have time in my life for a third attempt on this multi-day project.  I guess I'll be returning that lighting kit to Home Depot, so it's not a total loss.

And... what's this sticky stuff on the counter?


  1. Laughing completely out loud - love it when a Pinstrosity is so hilarious!


  2. Since he's using crocheted doilies that are likely made of a natural fiber, I would block two halves of the sphere using a stiffener (sugar or cornstarch and water) on something that won't deflate, then join them. A foam ball from the craft store wrapped in plastic wrap that he can sick with pins would be perfect for this. There are lots of websites that explain blocking and stiffening.

  3. I have been wanting to try this pin longer than I can even remember. Everything I've read says that it doesn't work, but just haven't had the courage to try. Kudos to Chris, and let's hope someone has mastered this to help the rest of us!!

  4. Thanks for the blog post and your kind words, Marquette. That was fun. Actually, when it looked the project was going to crash and burn, I thought, "At least it will be good fodder for pinstrosity. It's a win either way."

    I may write well, but I assure you, I am quite dull and boring in real life. I'm a dentist, after all.

  5. My thought would be this: use spray adhesive to temporarily adhere doilies to the balloon, spray or brush on fabric stiffener (I like the kind called "stiff" [giggle]). Allow to try for a million years and pop balloon.

  6. I love him. Love him, love him, love him. He can give me a root canal any day!

  7. After reading the links Pamela provided, my best guess as to what went wrong was a) type of glue and b) drying time. EmmmyLizzzy allowed hers to dry for multiple days and even touched up spots that didn't seem still enough a couple of times before popping the balloon. And while she only used Elmers, the original post used wallpaper glue and home-dzine used wood glue. I'm wondering if using modge podge wouldn't be the better way to go on this project.

  8. I've made doily bowls in the past, and I used a sugar starch (google the recipe, it's super simple) to stiffen them. It gets super super hard, and really holds it's shape. I'm tempted to try this. I'll let you know how it goes with the sugar starch.

  9. I've made fabric bowls and ghosts that have lasted 20 years by using a fabric stiffener, but I don't use the sugar starch on items I may have to clean. I've even gone as far as putting a clear coat on a couple of projects while still in "mold mode". I haven't used balloons. Dollar store dishes work great and are sturdier. I had to resist the urge to pick it up, I'm not sure if it's too long, but I left my projects for at least 3-5 days between molding, clear coating or painting, and always did the last two in light applications. Patience worked for me. Anyone who knows me, knows that that's a miracle. I eat every dessert during the process, I can't wait until things are done!

  10. When you retire from dentistry, you have a solid second career option in being the male Erma Bombeck...

  11. I have done multiple paper mache projects, and one thing that I've found that works is using a lot of Elmer's glue mixed with water and painting it on and large balloon. Then, instead of waiting for it to dry, use a blowdryer every so often. It keeps the balloon inflated, which is a plus, especially if your balloons have a tendency to deflate. And, put many layers of glue to keep it in place. But make sure it's dry before doing so!

  12. I had the exact same pinstrosity happen the other night. I used elmers and when I popped the ballon, the whole thing imploded just like the picture. I almost kept it as "modern art," but I peeled off the pieces of broken balloon, soaked the doilies in water to get the glue out, and now they're drying. I'm going to try with homemade paper mache paste (flour/water) and let dry for much much longer. I think I'm also just going to plunge the whole doily in the paste, then smooth it onto the balloon instead of trying to make sure that every inch is covered with elmers.

  13. Slowly deflating the balloon once the pva/water mix is completely dry is key.

    Old (stock) balloons tend to pop easier ... look for new ones

    Try spray starch as an optional extra step

    Vaseline your balloon prior to gluing

    Not tried ... but id say lightly spray paint once you have popped balloon .... if the balloon is still attached I think it would react to the paint chemicals and pop prematurely.

    PS ... I made mine on the first attempt ... failed then the next two times .. and now working on the 4th.


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