Super talented Heika DeHart strikes again. These pendant lamps she made of hemp string are genius. Plus, don’t you love how they look with her wallpaper? Heika writes: “I fell in love with West Elm’s Abaca pendent lamp a few years ago but, as usual, my taste was more expensive than my wallet could support. However, I was sure that I could copy them at a fraction of the cost.” I love the natural look of the hemp, but you could also use white or colored string. I’ve seen others make string lamps using balloons (which are oval), but Heika has an innovative solution for achieving perfectly round lamp shades.
Supplies and tools
1. Draw a circle on the ball with a permanent marker. This circle will mark a space on the lamp that needs to remain clear of string. The empty circle will be used in assembling the light fixture and will allow you to have access for changing light bulbs. If the light fixture you are using has lamp shades, make sure that the circles are big enough for the shades to easily pass through.
2. Cover your work surface with trash bags or a drop cloth, and put on gloves (this gets messy).
3. The best way, I found, to apply the glue is to squeeze a quarter size amount onto your fingers and run the hemp string through the glue and then wrap it around the ball. The string should stick fairly easily to the ball. I tried two other methods that also worked reasonably well, but were much more time consuming and made a bigger mess. You can fill a shallow tub with the glue and run the hemp string through it, or you can apply the glue directly to the string from the bottle.
4. Glue and wrap, glue and wrap, glue and wrap. Just keep going. Try to wrap randomly to avoid criss-cross patterns. The more densely wrapped the lamp is the stronger it will be.
5. Make sure to avoid wrapping string over the circle area. If there are any areas that seem weak, you can apply a little extra glue to give it more strength.
6. Repeat the steps 1-5 to make multiple lamps. Let the glue dry completely. (The glue I recommended takes about 48 hours to cure completely.)
7. Use the inflating needle to deflate the ball.
8. Remove the deflated ball from the lamp.
9. This part takes some basic electrical skills. Follow the installation instructions that come with your light fixture. While installing the light string, feed the wires through the circle hole of the lamp and up through the top, so that the light bulb will hang down in the center of the sphere.