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DIY scalloped clay lights shades

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Have you ever seen a light fixture and just fell madly in love?

If you have then, you totally know what I mean when I say, I couldn’t stop thinking about a light fixture.

I loved it so much but, as usual my expensive taste wasn’t ideal for our budget. The love at first sight light fixture was $360. I needed two for our dining room. There was just no way I could justify spending over $700 on lights. So, what’s a girl to do?

Of course after pondering a few ideas, I was set on making them on my own.

This is my inspo piece. It can be found here.

I have never done any type of pottery class before. So turning some clay was out of the equation. I have done a few air dry clay projects before so I knew right away that was going to be my material of choice.

Now the fun part, the “How to”.

First step was buying my clay. I used this clay here.

I only had to buy one package because, we had half a package leftover from a kids school project. So if you are going to make two lights I suggest buying two packages of clay.

Next I had to determine the size of my light shades.

I started looking around the house for something round then, it dawned on me, a dinner plate was the perfect size.

I split my clay block in half that way I could make two lights roughly the same thickness. I laid down some parchment paper, rolled my clay into a ball, and then rolled my clay out with a rolling pin. I was focused on making sure I got the perfect round shape using the plate as a guide. I did trim around the plate with a knife just to make sure I had a good shape.

any pieces I cut off I just added it back to circle, making sure to add it to any thinner spots. The thickness I ended up getting was about a quarter of an inch.

After I had the perfect round shape I cut out a circle in the middle using the bracket (the screw on piece that holds your shades on) of the pendant light as my guide.

Here is a pendant light kit similar to the one I used. Once I had my shape and center cut out, it was time for the fun part, scalloping the edges.

This part reminded me of making a scalloped pie crust. So to do this I formed a curve with my index finger on the inside of the clay, then press into the clay using my thumb and forefinger on the outside hand to create a nice scalloped edge.

Once I was happy with the edges, it was time to see if I could leave it alone long enough to dry. I was able to wait 24 hours before I took a look at them, this had to be some kind of test of patients record for me.

As air dry clay dries it can sometimes form hairline cracks but, that’s okay and totally normal as moisture evaporates from the clay, good news, it can be fixed. I ended up using nail hole filler to fill in any hairline cracking.

After that fully dried (about 3 hours) I went over the whole project with that left over clay I already had, this is where your second package of clay will come into use. I wanted to make each shade cohesive in thickness and to repair any bigger cracks I may have missed. I let it dry for another 24 hours.

Next I took some fine sandpaper and smoothed out my shades. I wanted them to be a smooth yet, perfectly imperfect.

At this point of the project I was as happy as a kid on Christmas morning.

My project worked! it totally worked!

Once the clay was dry, and sanded it was time to paint.

Fun fact, paint actually helps air dry clay become more durable.

On the underneath side of the light shade, I used a satin white spray paint.

on the top I used Fusion Mineral paint in the color Bayberry

Once the paint was dry I sealed the project with a water based polyurethane. I also used Rub-N-Buff on the white parts of the pendant light to give it that perfect antique touch.

I ended up using these light bulbs as well.

Overall, I am extremely happy this DIY was such a success.

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