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Giving Duderö personality with papier mâché

Duderö lamp pimped with papier mâché

I found an old Duderö lamp at my mothers house which was destined for the trash. I always admired the shape even if the execution kind of matches what you would expect at that price. This particular example was functional but had several large tears.

I had used papier mâché before and choose it since the materials are very affordable so it could be a fun low-risk experiment for me and my girlfriend and we where very happy with the results.

Materials

  • Silk paper (50x70cm x 5)
  • Bleached Wheat flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Wide good quality brush that does not shed

All in all we spent less than 10 euro on the materials.

Ready to go

We used white, green and light blue paper. You can choose any color you want but lighter colors will give a cooler effect. We used a crepé type paper for the white simply because it was cheeper but found during the process that smooth paper is easier to work with and gave better results.

Transparent Wheat Paste recipe

Mix 1 liter of cold water with 1.5 dl of flour and 0.5 dl sugar in a large saucepan. Mix well until all the lumps are gone.

Then slowly bring to a boil while constantly stirring – its very easy to burn which will ruin the paste. Let it boil for a minute and then let it cool briefly. This is what makes the paste transparent.

The exact composition might take some experimenting. Too thin is better than too thick and remember that the mixture thickens considerably when you heat it. You can freshen up old congealed paste by mixing in more water and boiling it again.

Execution

We started by tearing the paper into long strips. Its much easier to do this beforehand than to trying to tear with sticky fingers. Save some larger pieces if you have holes to mend.

Papier mâché is extremely simple; just brush on some paste on then stick the paper on. You will get the best results if you apply the paper carefully and then apply more paste on top so that the paper is wet through. Try to avoid globs of paste.

Remember to unplug the lamp if you are doing this with children since water and electricity don’t mix well.

The first layer is tricky and requires a delicate hand as the thin paper shade of the lamp gets very delicate when wet. We used white paper for this. We patched the holes by applying paste and then a large piece of paper.

Let the first layer dry so that it hardens. This gives you a nice solid surface to work on.

We then built up a layer on layer effect by applying the various colours of strips horizontally. Turn the light on to preview the effect.

Duderö lamp pimped with papier mâché

Finishing (optional)

We applied a thin glaze made of Gesso (Windsor Newton) which was thinned with water to about the consistency of skim milk which gave it nice chalky feel and softened the light somewhat.

Another alternative could be to apply a clear finish such as water based polyurethane.

The finished lamp, lights on

The finished lamp