Seasonal Bowl From Nutcrackers and a Lamp Shade

3 Materials
2 Hours

A glass lampshade is literally elevated to become a holiday centrepiece.

I discovered an unused bathroom light shade that we had bought a while ago. It had been a replacement shade but was too small for the fitting and was therefore languishing in an already crowded cupboard. Time to make it work.

I bought an unpainted place-mat from a charity shop and some cheap nutcracker decorations from another. Any similiar item such as a wood cutting-board, small plastic tray or frame or perhaps even a mirror could also serve as a base for this project. I was just happy to find the placemat because it didn’t need any special preparation to paint. In retrospect, a round one would have been even better but I was very happy to find this one.

I already had the glue-gun, paper, pen, scissors, spray-paint and gold nail varnish that was needed.

I gave the place-mat a couple of coats of gold spray-paint. If this is too plain for you you could always decoupage yours or use a couple of strips of washi tape to liven it up.

Next I had to determine how far apart the nutcrackers had to stand for the shade to nestle into them. I drew the circumference of the shade onto paper and then cut it out. This took a bit of planning since the shade is rounded and I couldn’t work on the very widest circumference because that would mean there would be nothing for the shade to rest on. I decided to play it safe and drew the circle 1cm or so smaller. A rounded object can rest on almost any smaller circular base after all. Once I had the paper circle I had a template from which to work.

I positioned the circle on the place-mat and positioned the figures around it. I used some Prestik (sticky tack?) - small blob visible in the picture above- to keep them in place whilst I tested the position of the shade on top of them.

Mind the gap

There was just one major flaw with my plan: the nutcrackers were not equally tall. I solved this by adding a blob or two of glue to the short ones, starting with one blob, letting it dry and then adding subsequent ones. I must admit, at this point I had visions of uneven chair legs being sawn repeatedly

until there were only still uneven stumps left. Was I going to keep adding glue blobs until I matched the tower of Babel?

I painted the dried blobs with gold nail polish. Nobody is going to notice one extra piece of brass on a soldier’s helmet, are they? The more obvious solution to this would have been to use multiples of the same figure.

After gluing the guard into place with the glue-gun and taking care not to stick it as well, I removed the paper. Finally I took a deep breath and rested the shade on top of the base. It worked! Now it can be used for sweets, fairy lights or candles.

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3 of 26 comments
  • Kathy from KY
    Kathy from KY
    on Jan 5, 2020

    I would fill the bowl with NUTS! LOL!

    • Thea
      on Jan 5, 2020

      Yes! But those guys couldn’t even crack sesame seeds.😂

  • Marnidarr
    on Jun 23, 2020

    Very cute idea! I know you mentioned that it would've looked better with a round base, but I also think it would look really cool with no base at all!

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