Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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Victorian Lamps by Valerie Towers


Lamps are not difficult to make but they can be fiddly. 


You need an assortment of beads, buttons, washers, a tube from an empty biro and various glues.  A piece of thickish polystyrene and some long needles or hatpins, the screw part from an earring, or the winder from an old watch.  Some cocktail sticks are handy too.

Have a dummy run before you stick anything together in case your chosen pieces don’t “gel”.  Pile them all up on a long pin and once you are happy with the effect then “get stuck in”!




Start by finding a base, which could be a button, a flat earring for pierced ears (leave the post on if it is central), a tiddlywink, or a small brooch which has had the stones removed.



1)   You might need to use more than one part for the base; I used a button with a small well in the centre and I glued a flat metal embossed button into the well.



2)   Next I used a round metal bead with a large hole which I stuck to the centre of the base.  Use either a piece of cocktail stick or a needle pushed down the beads to hold them while they stick together.  (If your base has a central hole, push the needle or stick into the polystyrene and pile the beads up sticking each layer as you go.)



3)   Then a small metal cylinder bead was stuck to the round bead.


4)   When these were stuck firmly I stuck a larger cylinder bead to the writing end of an old biro, and then the end of the nib was liberally coated with glue and pushed into the small cylinder bead.  


5)   Next I tried another small metal cylinder bead and noticed that it left a small area of grey plastic showing above the larger cylinder, so I put a silver ring from a necklace catch around the piece that was showing and then I stuck the small cylinder on top of the biro segment. I made a hole in the side of the top small cylinder with a needle and a needle file, to take the watch winder.


6)   Then I cut a piece of clear biro tube 5 or 6 mm long and with a bit of glue on the bottom of each, I threaded the tube, a large crystal and a very small silver ring/washer on to a long headed pin and pushed this on top of the small cylinder and left to dry.

7)   Then I glued the watch winder/earring screw part into the hole in the small cylinder that I made earlier.



When I start a lamp, I have a clear idea of what I am going to use and how it will look but it doesn’t work like that!  I change my mind and swap bits around until I end up with a totally different lamp!

Valerie Towers © 2011


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