Laughable Lamps (Jan, 1938)

It seems like at least half of the craft projects in this country used to be about making crude representations of ethnic stereotypes.

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Laughable Lamps

By KENNETH MURRAY

HOME decoration isn’t a subject to make light of, but here’s a way to do it nevertheless. These comical lamps are formed from 7-1/2- and 10-watt bulbs of the round, outside-colored variety, usually sold for 10 cents. More powerful lamps would be unsatisfactory because the novelties are not for general illumination—merely to add a spot of live color here and there.

The support over which the body is built up may be a wire framework or a small cardboard box of suitable proportions. Wadded pieces of tissue paper make good padding to shape out the figure, and the most easily applied covering is crepe paper cut into strips across the grain. It will conform to the shape of the figure, over which it is tightly drawn and glued. The strips may also be twisted into fine or coarse rope and either wound over the body or used to make the facial characteristics. When it is applied to the light bulbs, use cellulose cement. Do not cover much of the bulb because even these small ones get quite hot. Avoid metal sockets, and take precautions against scorching the paper accessories.

India ink or black asphaltum varnish can be used for the features, if you wish to paint them on, but do not try to use water colors or ordinary enamels as they may chip or peel off. For convenience in handling, screw the lamp into a socket while decorating it.

A dark-colored lamp is used for making the bell boy. The hat is part of a pill box covered with crepe-paper rope, which is also used for the eyes and mouth. Paper-covered wire arms are attached to a cardboard box for the body, and the box is covered with wide strips of tan and white crepe paper. The buttons are of cardboard.

In making “The Thinker,” the lamp socket is covered with black paper and utilized as the body. Before attaching the pipe-cleaner arms and legs, coat the joints with cellulose cement and allow it to dry; then add another coat and press the parts together. A piece of wire bent to shape serves as spectacles. The eyes, nose, and mouth are cuttings from red paper, attached with cellulose cement.

The “Lady in Red” has India-ink features, and the lamp socket is held in a wire framework covered with a red crepe-paper dress. The “White Widow,” which is intended for a man’s den, has a small 7-1/2-watt bulb for a head.

1 comment
  1. Blurgle says: September 21, 20077:30 am

    Putting other people down, no matter how, is a very good way of making yourself feel good.

    It’s like the people who go on and on about America being unique in that it’s the only country to ever help out another country in the defence of freedom. Yeah, right: unique just like Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand…..

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