How to build a wire frame for rice paper lampshade without wire hangers?
September 13, 2010 1:26 AM   Subscribe

How to build a wire frame for rice paper lampshade without wire hangers?

I have a column made out of rice paper that I would like to attach to a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. I know that I should build a wire frame, but how? What shape? How can I attach the paper column to the wire shape?

Also, I have no wire hangers. I haven't seen any in Germany at least. What kind of wire should I use?
posted by beautiful to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Try somewhere that sells gardening supplies; they usually sell a plastic-coated wire that would be suitable for this - it's a bit thinner than hanger wire, so it's easier to bend to shape, but it's still fairly stiff.

A lot of lampshades that I've seen have used bamboo for the frame, usually just glued to the paper. You could maybe glue a strip of paper over the wire so that it sits in a sort of pocket. Or use some invisible thread (or fishing line) to attach the wire to the paper via tiny holes in the paper; in that case I'd probably want to reinforce the area around the holes. maybe by gluing an extra layer of paper where the holes are, or just using a tiny strip of tape.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:07 AM on September 13, 2010

ummm... a little more info would be helpful, but...
so, you have some paper * that has been glued along one edge so that it is in the shape of a cylinder, is that right?
and you have a pre-existing bulb hanging from the ceiling, is that right?
and you want to make a simple shade for the bulb, I think, just a cylinder that sits around the bulb so it's not bare, right?

go to the hardware store and buy some wire. I've never been to a hardware store in Germany, but I suspect they'll have different gauges of wire available. I would recommend buying one that is JUST too heavy/stiff to manipulate easily by hand (but thinner would probably work ok too), and also buy the cheapest pair of needlenose pliers you can find. The German equivalent of a dollar store likely has some, if the hardware store is too pricey. Use the pliers to shape the wire to a circle the same size as your cylinder, with some overlap to allow you to make a solid circle using tape or paper&glue. Add a cross-piece, again attaching it using tape or paper&glue. Be sure to put a 'c-shaped bend' in the middle of the cross-piece that fits snugly around the wire from which the bulb is hanging. This "c" will sit around the wire and on top of the flange/socket (depending on what you have hanging from your ceiling, of course). Generally, it's not a good idea to use the electrical wire for support of the frame, but one piece of paper and a bit of wire is not a hazard (unless the paper is very large or thick). Cut two small slits in one end of the cylinder, equidistant from each other, then fold the two resulting 'flaps' over the wire circle (the slits allow for the cross-piece) and glue in place. After allowing to dry, set the "c" on your bulb/socket and enjoy.

Or not, depending on what you really mean and what setup you have.

Using bamboo and such is a whole different story, though ultimately not so difficult.

Does Germany have Ikeas? Ikea sells shades like this and you could go and look at the wire frame they use for inspiration (or buy one and be done with it!).

* by "rice paper", I presume you mean a thin, tissue-like paper, likely made someplace in Asia. "rice paper" is actually a misnomer, as very few papers are made of rice, or even include rice. In the paper world, people in the know are actually trying to eradicate the use of this word. Better to say Washi, or Japanese paper, or Thai paper, or even "thin paper". Just FYI. Kind of a pet-peeve of mine.
posted by segatakai at 2:16 AM on September 13, 2010

Response by poster: Hi,

thanks for the ideas!

Yes, segatakai, I mean Washi paper. I actually got the term 'rice paper' from the internet when I started googling about how to make the lamp shade frame.

So to attach the wire frame, I just make a cross-piece and let it hang out the bulb's electrical wire.

And to attach the paper to the frame, I just glue it on? Could it really be so simple?

The paper itself is actually very large, but I'll try to cut it down.

I'll go find some wire and try it out!

posted by beautiful at 3:04 AM on September 13, 2010

here's a pic of sort of what I have in mind (it's upside down, but you can probably get the idea).
But you don't have to be so fancy (with loops and so on). Just permanently attach the crosspiece, and make sure it has a place for the cord to fit into (in the middle), so that it will sit on top of the spot where the cord widens to the socket.

Glue seems the most simple to me, and least ugly, but you could tape it or staple it, or...

Sorry if I came across as snarky about "rice paper". It's misinformation that's unfortunately widely accepted. As I said, a pet-peeve.

Good luck!
posted by segatakai at 3:23 AM on September 13, 2010

Is the bulb low enough wattage and the shade big enough to not worry so much about fire?

And is it early or was plastic wrapped wire suggested to be on the shade and touching the bulb? Seems a mite dangerous.

Any way to cannibalize a right sized clip on bulb frame to make this work?
posted by tilde at 3:34 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I didn't read the answers, but I'd try bailing wire. Like a 14 gauge wire, comes on a little spool or just wound up tight... You can cut it to whatever length you want, bend it around... Then you could hot-glue the paper to it...
posted by Glendale at 3:44 AM on September 13, 2010

I'm paying way too much attention here, but...
as long as the cylinder is open at the top (and the bulb is at least a couple of inches from the paper all the way round), there is somewhere for the heat to go, so a 60W bulb should be no problem, and 100W would also be fine in my opinion though I am not an expert and make no guarantees and am not liable, etc. I would recommend bare wire (no plastic), though I'm not sure it ultimately matters. You should be careful not to actually "pinch" the electrical wire, but just have it sit on the part that flares out, letting gravity do the work. If the OP has a "traditional" shaped shade that is exactly the right size, the frame could be stripped of the old paper, inverted so that the larger, bottom hoop is at the top, from which the paper could be suspended.
posted by segatakai at 5:52 AM on September 13, 2010

Response by poster: We are using CFLs, so there isn't much heat.

I googled "clip on bulb frame" but couldn't find anything. That might be an interesting idea...

FYI: the cylinder is open at the top.
posted by beautiful at 8:23 AM on September 13, 2010

Wire hangers are available at every dry cleaner/launderette shop in Germany. THey're usually not sold but people get them when they have shirts done at the launderette. Just go in there and ask for one (Drahtkleiderb├╝gel would be the right word, in case you don't know. The shop would be called Reinigung or W├Ąscherei).
posted by The Toad at 10:12 AM on September 13, 2010

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