Going through my bedroom the other day cleaning and organizing, I was doing pretty well making everything spiffy until I reached the top of my dresser. The top of my dresser is not only a catchall but also is where my jewelry resides. I have a lot of cheap but cool and beautiful costume jewelry and I do love it. But it tends to end up scattered all over the top of my dresser, in the bathroom, and on various tables all over my home.
In the spirit of my New Year’s resolution, I decided to create a dual purpose jewelry organizer lamp. Yep, a lamp that is also an organizer for jewelry. I live in a small home, so things need to either be multifunctional or hold copious amounts of stuff. I’m sure you can relate that life requires a lot of stuff, especially as a woman.
It didn’t just need to hold a lot of jewelry and provide light to my bedroom; it also needed to look good and not be expensive to make. Heading to the thrift store and the hardware store, I was able to make this jewelry organizer lamp for under $25. If you have an old lamp at home then you can make your own for even less.
Here is what you will need for your own jewelry organizer lamp:
- An Old or Thrifted Lamp with Shade
- Chicken Wire
- Black Satin Spray Paint
- Vintage Style Light Bulb
- Your Jewelry
- Ruler (I prefer clear rulers)
- Needlenose Pliers
- Wire Cutters or Tin Snips
- Painting Stuff
- Masking Tape
- Plastic Bags
- Drop Cloth
I was able to find this kitschy and outdated lamp at my local thrift store. It has great lines and I really liked the detail on the handles and the base, and I knew that it would be lovely in solid black. I was also looking for a shade with a metal frame which this lamp had also. Having a harp-style lampshade works best because that insures that the jewelry will not be too close to the light bulb and therefore shouldn’t get hot.
To create your new jewelry organizer:
First let’s free the wire frame from the old and dirty shade.
Begin by peeling off the edging around the top and bottom of the shade. It is usually just glued on so this part is pretty easy, especially if it is an older lamp like this one.
You should be able to see the back seam now. Because this is an old paper lampshade I was able to pop that back seam apart with my fingers.
Then just peel back the paper shade and take off as much of the paper on the rims as you can. If you have a fabric shade then you are going to want to use an exacto knife to cut the back seam and top and bottom around the shade rims. By carefully taking the shade off the form, it can be used as a template for the chicken wire in the next step.
Speaking of the next step, it’s time to lay out the chicken wire.
The chicken wire comes in a roll and really doesn’t want to stay flat (hence the soup can weights). Lay out the old shade as a template with plenty of chicken wire around it to allow room for a seam allowance. I used a clear plastic ruler to get approximately a 1 inch seam allowance (with a little more or less in some places).
If you cut the chicken wire close to where they join you won’t get those sharp wires poking out.
The sharp wires can’t really be avoided when it comes to the back seam. But you can twist those wires into each other with a needle nose pliers when forming the lampshade.
Now it’s time to create the chicken wire lamp shade. This part takes a little time but it is really worth it.
Start with the top rim of the lamp shade from the middle of the chicken wire working your way along the rim. The ends of the chicken wire will become the back seam of the lamp shade. Fold the wire seam allowance over the top of the rim and crimp it together with the needle nose pliers. Don’t secure it all the way around quite yet. You still need to fit the bottom rim inside the chicken wire and the bottom rim is usually larger than the top.
You want to repeat the same procedure on the bottom that you did with the top. But you will need to measure the length of the shade as you go along. This helps ensure that you are as close to the same height of your old shade as possible all the way around.
My lamp shade isn’t quite the same all the way, but the beauty of this design is that with jewelry on it you don’t even notice.
Once you have secured both rims the way you want them, you can overlap the ends of the wire and secure it top and bottom.
Like I mentioned before, you will want to twist the ends of the wire together on the back seam. This not only helps your shade keep it’s shape and strength but also keeps you from poking yourself when hanging jewelry on it.
After that the lampshade is ready for the lamp.
I used plastic grocery bags and masking tape to cover the harp and the base with the cord to keep them free of spray paint. If you are spray painting a lamp that is non-porous (or smooth) like mine you need to find a spray paint that is made for those kinds of surfaces. Otherwise it will not stick and end up looking like a hot mess. 😛
Next just add jewelry and voila!
Isn’t it lovely! Now all my favorite jewelry is right there at my fingertips. My eclectic assortment of earrings also make a great edition at the top of the shade.
Any jewelry that has a clasp can be hung on the shade. If you have heavier pieces of jewelry, like many strands of chains in one necklace, I would recommend hanging them directly on the rim of the shade. Otherwise you might stretch out the chicken wire if all that weight is in one place.
Another perk to having the kind of lampshade/harp combo is that you can just unscrew the finial at the top a little bit and twirl the whole lampshade around to get to the jewelry on the backside of the shade.
If you don’t think you have enough jewelry to fill an entire lampshade, head over to Heartland America. There is a great selection of necklaces, earrings, and other fashion accessories to spice up your wardrobe.
I’d love to hear about the clever ways you store your fashion accessories: leave a comment below.
The big football game is rushing toward us. The next two posts will help you get ready for the big game.
I hope this post inspired you to organize with style. And I also hope you remember you are always welcome at Home with Heartland.