Help me repurpose my old Moroccan lamps!

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by Astellus
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lampI have some old red Moroccan lamps similar to this image that are getting a little worse for wear. Over the years they have accumulated dust, rips, tears, stains and have taken an overall beating. While the metal holding the lamp shades in place is still perfectly usable, the material has definitely seen better days. However, because they are such an odd design, I am having a difficult time coming up with something crafty to do with them.

Can anyone suggest a quick, cheap fix for these Moroccan lamps? I'm not nearly as crafty as I would like to be and the silk surrounding the shades is so dry and brittle it tears easily if you attempt to clean it. I would however, like to maintain a Moroccan feel to them.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! -Astellus

  1. Does the metal frame part extend all the way down the shade? Or is it frame that the fabric hangs loose from? If it's a metal frame that keeps its shape even without the fabric, maybe you could do something like this?http://www.rubylane.com/item/825459-RVC790/Vintage-Brass-Amber-Glass-Beaded ? Obviously, this is an antique one for sale, it was the best picture I could find of what I'm talking about in detail though. There are several DIY beaded lampshade tutorials out there, and it does not seem like it would be hard to string and wrap the beads, maybe just a little time consuming. It could be cool, while still keeping the Moroccan feel.

    • Yes, the shades themselves do have metal all the way through them. I hadn't considered beading them, but it would certainly keep the Moroccan feel intact! Thank you for the suggestion.

    • This was going to be my suggestion. As long as you buy beads that match well, even if you're not a crafty person it shouldn't be too hard to string and wrap them/weave them through the frame. You don't even need to string them in a pattern. My suggestion for how to get strands that stay in place is to buy clamps, the kind with a hold in one end, two little metal disks (http://www.artfire.com/uploads/product/8/188/47188/3747188/3747188/large/bead_tips_bottom_clamp_raw_brass_50_fi174_4862d761.jpg), fishing line or plastic-coated wire (not plain wire, it can break), and a pair of pliers to clamp the clamp in place. Double string the fishing line, tying it in a triple or quadruple knot at the end. String the clamp, with the metal disks facing down so they cover the knot, and clamp it over the knot, trimming any excess. The double stringed fishing line will help prevent the line from stretching with time (not necessary if you use plastic-coated wire, but then getting the clamp with the other end on with no slack is a challenge. With double stringed line, you can just tie regularly and clamp over that). Then bead and bead and bead, and when your line runs out (about three inches from the end), add another clamp (discs up), tie a bunch of knots, and clamp over the discs.

      The hooks will help you attach it to the frame, and pliers will close them into loops (some clamps come with closeable loops, others come with closed loops through which you can insert little metal circles, called jump beads, that are closed with pliers). Or you can loop two together if your original string is not long enough, like connecting strands of Christmas lights.

  2. Could you try cutting the fabric off one and using it as a template for cutting fabric or paper to make new shades?
    A hot glue gun would probably be your best friend in reattaching the new shade

    • It's a good suggestion and certainly possible. However, I tried doing that with lanterns and it was a horrendous failure (they just didn't look professional, or even good-amateur, at all)…and I'm pretty crafty. Someone who is not crafty might not be able to pull it off.

  3. If your not attached to the lamp aspect of them you could use the base to display decorative hanging objects and mix them up throughout the year.

  4. I'm with Mich, that buying some fabric and making your own shades should be pretty doable if there is a metal frame. Hot glue does work wonders, especially if paired with a couple quick stitches.

    Alternately, I've seen faux moroccan jars lately and I bet if you bought some acetate (the stuff used for overhead projector transparencies), you could put that on the metal frame and then use puff paint to decorate it. (or use tissue paper and do something like papel picado.)

  5. If these were mine, I would either:

    Turn them into tiny hanging plant hangers with a tiny succulent, an air plant, or a cutting from another plant in a tiny jar/lightbulb/salt shaker…

    Turn the lamp sideways, attach it to the wall, recover the shade, and use it sconce style.

    Use one of the bases as a banana stand.

    Or,

    Use the stand as a hanger for something else, photos, ornaments, necklaces, or whatever.

  6. You can certainly re finish them with more fabric or beading, but have you considered tearing all of the fabric off and filling them with different mosses, like peat moss and using them as hanging herb gardens around the house or outside? You can be really fancy and get some (or make some) beaded or crystal tassels or charms to hang from the bottoms of them. *note if you use Crystals- hunt local flea markets, thrifts, estate sales for pieces of broken chandeliers and things; they will cast beautiful rainbows around the house or outside when the sun hits.*

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