Pin Up Girl

The Pinterest Doily Lamp Disaster

Introducing Pin Up Girl, a weekly guide to all-things-Pinterest. Our resident pinner, Laura Gill will take a look at some of the best eye candy from around the web and provide a few pointers on how-to crafts, as well as weigh in on weekly trends and highlight local and national pin fiends. ​

​Ah, the famous doily lamp.  

This project is viral on Pinterest and was of the first things I ever pinned to my CraftyTime board. I liked the idea so much that I inadvertently pinned it twice. It seemed easy enough -- wallpaper adhesive + doilies + a round balloon = a lamp. 

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 

While I'm not the best crafter, I wouldn't call myself an amateur. I tend to know what I'm doing (most of the time) and rarely fail at a project. I REFUSE to fail! I keep working on things until I fix them, but this doily lamp proved a different story.

One of the intentions of the Pin Up Girl blog is to test tutorials found on Pinterest to see if they really work. I did all of the homework I could possibly do for this and went into it knowing it was a little sketchy due to the comments on the original post. (Apparently I'm not the only person who has failed at this.)

Lessons Learned:  

1. Supplies may vary. One of the inherent blessings of Pinterest is that you can connect with people from all over the world, but this also turns out to be a curse because supplies vary from country to country.

The original doily lamp post comes from Sweden -- evidently Swedish wallpaper glue is perfect for this project. The wallpaper glue I bought for $5 at Home Depot was absolutely the wrong glue. And while I questioned the use of wallpaper glue from the beginning because I've never heard about using wallpaper glue to stiffen fabric (and I read a ton of craft books), I was determined to follow the original instructions...

2. Doilies are not that easy to find. I was under the impression that doilies could be found in abundance at any thrift store. Wrong. When you actually want a doily they're suddenly nowhere to be found. I went to three stores before I finally found a bag for $5. Lucky me, it was labeled with just the right color to be 50 percent off! What I didn't like is that they were all exactly the same. I really wanted a bunch of different patterns and textures, because I think that's what really gives the lamp its character, but I was desperate at this point. And who can say no to $2.50?

3. You need a lot of Doilies. To create the lamp you paint glue onto a round balloon, place the doily on it, then paint more glue onto the doily. The doilies should overlap until the entire thing is covered. Guess what? I only had enough to make a lampshade. Luckily I had already seen this pin, so I was ok with a lampshade. I had to be...Where would I find more matching doilies??

4. Wear an apron: Everything seemed to go just fine. It only takes about 10 minutes to get the balloon covered. I hung the balloon outside and left it to dry. A few minutes later I heard a pop. The doilies landed in wet dirt. Four letter words were used.

What I really wanted to do was throw the whole thing in the trash, but instead I washed the doilies just enough to get the dirt out, without washing out all of the glue. I covered another balloon, feeling almost grateful for the pop since I was doing a better job of spacing the doilies evenly. I left it to dry overnight.

The really exciting part comes when you get to pop the balloon yourself. I was nervous. "Is it gonna work?" I carefully peeled back pieces of it to see. It seemed fine, so I cut the end of it off and then watched in horror as the entire thing shriveled up into a fat doily wad.

While I was able to "unwad" the doilies and see what could have been, the thing just isn't durable. It collapses and has a yucky tinge to it. The doilies are peeling apart. It's a piece of crap.

But it's not over yet. Just today I purchased some fabric stiffener from Michaels - $6.99. I'm planning to soak these doilies in an attempt to salvage them and if that doesn't work, I will scour the entire Valley until I find enough doilies to attempt this again.

If you've seen a project on Pinterest you want me try before you invest your energy and wages into it, please let me know. 

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Laura Gill