Paper Lace Doily Lamp

Back from Christmas Break and still not tired of crafting from ideas on Pinterest! Nevermind my project in Interior Architecture to design a chair out of cardboard to hold a person…I’m making lamps instead. I’m so good with time management ;) Anywho, I saw this doily lamp and have been dying to make it. So, finally, I remembered to take step by step pictures & instructions to show you how I made it and how readers can make them too!

(original picure found on DOS family that startled my inspiration.)

I remembered the project when I was walking through the dollar section at Target here in Bloomington. I swear I’ve spent more money in those aisles than in any other part of the store. (Okay let’s be serious that’s not true, though I did just snag this Missoni Ottoman for $12 at Target the other day.) I was looking at their cute Valentine’s Day decorations and found these paper doilies for $1 for a pack of 20. I bought 6 packs in both red and white and brought them home to my roommate Leah who also wanted to do this craft. The original calls for actual crocheted doilies, which I’m sure are a lot more expensive and hard to find. I prayed these paper ones would work just the same.

Next, my other roommate Nicole & I headed to the Dollar Store to find big round punch balloons, which form the the “mold” that the lamp is made from. It took us at least half an hour before we found them, right next to traditional balloons which I figured I’d buy incase I wanted to make smaller lamps too.

To begin this project, you blow up the balloon and hang it by a string a bit below eye level (to make it easier to hold onto and glue onto). I hung mine from the ceiling fan pull strings in the dining room. Then, to make the adhesive, you can either use wallpaper glue which they advised in the tutorial (though I’m guessing that’s because they needed more heavy duty glue for their fabric lace doilies), or use my wallet-friendly/conserving method of mixing a little bit of elmers glue with water so it becomes a liquidy form. This conserves glue (that I need for class projects) and also makes it a lot easier to coat each paper doily with a paintbrush. I tried sugar starch, and I do NOT advise it because it takes forever to dry, makes the paper fragile and watery, and really just does not try in the same effect.)

Next, you take a paintbrush, put a little watery glue on the balloon, but the doily on top, then coat the whole thing with a layer of glue just enough so that it sticks flat to the surface. If you want to coat it thickly, be careful. This method will ensure that the paper doily doesn’t fall off, but it also can make the doily rip from all the wetness and takes longer to dry.

When adding additional doilies, make sure you’re overlapping them at least on the corners to make sure that when it all dries, there are no gaping holes that prevent the lamp from maintaining a circular shape. Also, make sure to leave a whole big enough for a light bulb at the top of the balloon so that if you do want to hang it from a light cord, you can.

After you’ve finished covering the whole balloon, allow to dry completely, still hanging. I would occasionally push my fingers on the blank spaces of the balloon once it was nearly dry to make sure that the paper wasn’t sticking to the balloon anymore. That way, when it pops, the doilies don’t shrink with the balloon itself.

Once finally dry, you’re ready to pop the balloon and pull the remnants out through the opening at the top. Then hang it alone with a string or hang it from a light cord so that the spaces in the doilies make cool light patterns on the walls.

Here is one of my balloons in its final product. I hope to make more later.

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12 thoughts on “Paper Lace Doily Lamp

  1. Julie says:

    Madelyn, I pinned the same light idea. Is the final picture your final picture? If not, upload the final project. I have to see this. The directions were very straight forward and easy to follow. Must try for babies room?!?

  2. misty says:

    thank you so much for posting with paper doilies! i have searched everywhere. I am working on a sip and see & I want to make these.

  3. Erin says:

    Question, you say put watery glue on the baloon first and then put doilies on and then put glue over that, are you using regular elmers glue to go over the doilie? we tried wallpaper glue and the baloon had popped overnight and well, it was still super wet and mushy. EPIC fail

    • madelynsfry says:

      Hi! Were your doilies paper or fabric? Because for fabric doilies, wallpaper glue would probably work best for it. But I used paper doilies, & I just used watered down elmers glue. My large balloon popped, the red one I had pictured for steps. I think that was because the balloon was much too thick for the doilies & thin glue. But, for the final outcome picture I have with the white balloon, it worked fine. The balloon was small & thin, & therefore the paperthin doilies & elmers glue worked quite well. If you’re using paper doilies, find a thinner balloon and use thinner paste, and for fabric doilies I’ve read to try that wallpaper glue, though I’m sure a thinner balloon would again assure it doesn’t pop. I’m sorry about your epic fail! But don’t worry, I did the same thing. The crafters downfall.

  4. Veronica says:

    Thank you I’ve been searching everywhere for this how to, using paper doilies!! Do they last a long time? I want to do them for my wedding, don’t know soon I could make them so they will hold up for that day.(July 20) Would Mod Podge work better?

    • madelynsfry says:

      Hello Veronica! Mod podge should work fine, I think that is a glue/water mix anyways! Make sure to let them dry longer than 24 hours, perhaps 48-72! I’d make them early, then put them somewhere they won’t get touched because they are fragile!

  5. Megan Taggart says:

    I tried to do something like this and it crumbled, should I use something like Vaseline to keep it from adhering to the balloon?

    • madelynsfry says:

      I have never thought of that! Maybe that would work better w the big balloon. But honestly, I think the three the balloon the thicker the doilies need to be. If u want to use paper doilies I suggest either getting thinner, regular balloons like the small one I have pictured, or blowing a thicker one up as big as possible without popping it, and letting it dry for a long time after lie application.

  6. I just wanted to comment about your cardboard chair .. I had to make one too (when I was in design school) .. best project ever! https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/207395_1905608407109_1964393_n.jpg

    My second comment (well question/comment really lol) .. I am about to attempt making these, but I wanted to see what ratio you made your elmers/water mixture?

    Thanks,
    J

    • madelynsfry says:

      Hello! Neat chair! As I remember, the consistency of the glue was practically water, but I’m sure it could have been a tad bit thicker. I’m sorry I don’t remember the exact ratio, I made these over a year ago! I hope it turns out well for you!

  7. Nadine says:

    Hi, I tried making them… But for some reason the doileys shrank with the balloon when I burst it… :( how do i remove the balloon without ruining the dried paper Doiley?

    • madelynsfry says:

      Hi Nadine! Yes, as I stated in previous comments, that happened to me too when I tried to make the larger balloon. It worked on the smaller balloons without the doilies shrinking, I think because they weren’t as thick (Try having a thin balloon, thin doily ratio or thick balloon/thicker doilies kind of thing). Try letting the larger balloon dry for 2+ days, and maybe by then the balloon will be shrinking in size naturally while the doilies get harder. Also, make sure you are pressing the balloon away from the doilies so they aren’t sticking as it is drying. One reader commented below that perhaps putting vaseline all over the balloon will keep them from sticking together– sounds promising!

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