Make your own magic shroom light

Guestpost by Julie F.

2012-12-28 14.17.21I am so happy with how my magical shroom lamp came out — it brings a little bit of craziness in my living room, and I desperately needed some right now!

If you'd like a little bit of craziness in your home, here's how you can make your own magic mushroom decor.

What you need:

  • Old newspaper, thin cardboard and scissors
  • Flour, water and a bowl
  • Christmas lights
  • Tape (any kind)
  • Paint and primer

Step 1: Design

Definitely the most important step. I Googled a couple of fantasy images to inspire me, set my mind on a mushroom type and drew a basic sketch of what I was going for, both in terms of proportion, final look, and structure. Here's how it looks as a sketch…

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.25.34 PM-14

Step 2: Cardboard decoupage

One disk will be the base of my mushroom top and one rectangle (taped into a tube) will be the trunk of the fungus.

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.24.01 PM-7

Step 3: Taking form

I used crumpled paper to give a pear shape to my trunk, holding it in place with some tape.

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.22.45 PM-1

For the top, I filled the corner of a plastic grocery bag with some more crumpled paper. I fixed the bag to the cardboard base with tape as well.

Screen shot 2012-12-23 at 2.01.48 PMScreen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.23.13 PM-4

Step 4: Papier-maché until you die

To make papier-maché glue, mix all-purpose flour with water in a large bowl. Try to go for a pancake mix consistency as it will be easier to work with. Add water or flour until you're satisfied. And use warm water or you'll get cold fingers!

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.23.22 PM-5

The first layer of papier-maché is the most important because it will define the shape of your mushroom. I carefully layered strips of paper on my forms, adjusting pressure to get the general look I wanted. Don't worry at this point if things are not perfect — you'll get the chance to fix everything with the subsequent layers.

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.24.33 PM-8

I strongly advise to wait until a layer is mostly dry before applying another one. Also, you will find it easier to work with small bits of paper to cover the curvy parts of your form. To make a sturdy papier-maché, keep in mind that the glue is only the mortar — it's the paper that is the brick. Entirely submerge your strips of paper into the glue, then remove glue as much as possible by pressing and sliding the paper between two fingers. About five to six layers should be enough. More is just better.

Step 5: Assembling

Open the plastic bag and remove all the crumple paper. Remove plastic bag all together. Cut slits in the top cardboard base.

Screen shot 2012-12-23 at 2.25.26 PM

Step 6: Paint

Prime it first. Papier-maché drinks a lot of water so prime it until you can't see the newsprint. I chose to go for a traditional red and white mushroom this edition, but anything goes! I recommend applying a spray varnish when you're done to preserve your work.

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.24.45 PM-9

Step 7: Fiat lux!

I used my old Christmas lights! I figured that if they were safe to go in a tree, they would be safe to go in a mushroom. It took bit of gymnastics to place them correctly, but with some patience, it was all good.

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.25.12 PM-12

Bonus Step: Relax and Enjoy

Plug in and enjoy the magic of the mushroom. Or replace your holiday tree with it, add fake presents, and decorate it with Christmas ornaments.

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 3.25.22 PM-13

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About Julie F.

Hi. My name is Julie. I'm a geeky gamer, amateur cook, ren faire costume maker, loving wife, former goth, devoted friend, cat lady on the side, decoration freak, Miss Cupcakes, ecologist lawyer and larp enthusiast. Yeah, that sums it up. Nice to meet you!