The accompanying sketches show a simple and yet effective way to make a metal lamp shade. When the desired size, shape, and general style of the shade is selected, a diagram is made from which the blanks or sections are made. The blanks are cut out from some thin metal, such as copper, brass, or black iron, with a small strip on one side, as indicated in dotted lines in Fig. 260. This flap is to be turned in and soldered to the adjoining blank.
Now trace the desired design on the blank, which may be a conventional flower or anything that appeals to the fancy of the maker. Put a blank on the end of a hardwood block, such as maple, and with a small punch, any shape, punch out the outlines of the design as closely as possible. After this the blank is turned over and laid on a piece of soft iron, and with a small prick punch a number of indentations are made in it between the outlines of the design.
After the blanks have thus been prepared, solder strips of metal on the inside, for the purpose of holding the glass, also to make the blanks stiff (Fig. 260). Now solder the blanks together. Small bows of lead ribbon may be made and fastened at the corners, giving the impression that the several blanks are tied together. The shade is now ready to be painted. Use any kind of paint that will dry flat, such as ivory black. When dry, place between the glass and the frame a color screen of colored gelatin or celluloid. Different colors may be pasted on the glass, side by side, so as to bring out the different colors the design is supposed to represent. For instance, if the design should be a bunch of cherries on a twig, red may be used for the cherries, brown for the stem, and green for the leaves.
Fig. 260 - Applying the glass to the sides of the lamp.
Fig. 261 - A home-made metal lamp shade.
When the glass is finally put in place, the pieces of metal soldered on the inside of the shade are now turned over, so as to hold the glass in place. Care should be taken that the glass does not fit too tightly. Always give it more or less room to allow for thermal expansion. A string of beads may be fastened to the bottom or lower edge of the shade.
The shade may be made of paper in which case two blanks are used. These are fastened and perforated at the same time with a large needle over a small cushion of sand or emery. The color screen is then inserted between the blanks and the latter are bound together with ribbons. Another pretty effect may be obtained by using two blanks of white Bristol board, without any perforation, and instead of the color screen, place between the sheets some pressed flowers, leaves, grasses, or the like.
Lamp shades, electric-light shades, shades for drop lights, and shades for candelabra can readily be made as follows: The material should be sheet brass, in thickness ranging from 1/40 of an inch to 1/64 of an inch according to the size and character of the work. If the shade is to be quite large and to contain glass or other heavy materials, it is necessary to use the heavier brass or that of 1/40 inch in thickness. In light work, like that of the candelabrum shades, the 1/64-inch brass is more desirable.
Fig. 262 - A lamp-shade of brass cut with acid.
To make the candelabrum shade it is necessary first to draw the pattern on paper. Then, placing the paper upon the brass, an outline of the pattern should be made with a very soft pencil. With a heavy pair of scissors this pattern can be cut out of the brass, but it is impossible to cut any design in the brass pattern with the scissors without wrinkling the metal. The neatest way is to burn out the design with nitric acid. First, the design should be drawn upon the brass pattern with a soft pencil. Then the pattern should be heated over a stove. While the shade is still hot a piece of wax or ordinary candle is rubbed over both sides of the brass. The heat of the brass melts the wax and forms a thin wax coating. When the brass becomes cold, the design, which shows through the wax, is traced with a pointed instrument. The parts of the brass which are to be burned out are scraped free of wax. The shade is then immersed in nitric acid. The acid eats through the exposed brass and the required design is very cleanly cut out. The lamp, electric, and drop-light shades are made in the same way. Without much expense or trouble these larger pieces can be improved by placing different colored glass behind the designs.