before & after: ruler pendant lamp + gilded floral mirror


I really love old-school supplies, especially wooden rulers (I once used them en masse for a store display and had to collect several hundred . . . that’s how much I like them), so I was delighted to see this ruler lampshade project from Blair in my inbox the other day. After coveting a much more expensive version, Blair decided to take matters into her own hands and make this cool retro ruler lamp for over her desk, which I’m sure has far more appeal than the mass-produced version. Great job, Blair! — Kate

Time: 1.5 hours

Cost: $15

Basic Steps: I began by measuring the length of my lampshade and cutting/sanding the ends of my yardsticks so that they were a little longer than the shade. My shade was just below 9″ in length. Perfect — each yardstick (36″ = yard) made 4. To evenly space the rulers around the shade, I used masking tape to align the tops of the rulers with the top of the shade. Once the tops were in place, I used more masking tape to attach the bottoms of the rulers to the bottom of the shade. I went around the shade quite a few times making sure the spacing was as close to perfect as possible.

Finally, I removed the masking tape from the bottom of the shade one ruler at a time and lifted it while keeping the top of the ruler taped to the top of the shade. I added hot glue and then replaced the bottom of the ruler to the base of the shade maintaining my spacing. Hot-glue the remaining rulers . . . and you’re finished! I love the Ruling The Roost Lampshade from Roost Living, but couldn’t shell out $495 dollars for a lampshade. A little patience (while searching the flea market for my own vintage yardsticks) and a little flexibility (a standard empire shade vs. a more expensive drum shade), and I am even more in love with my own version! — Blair

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to check out Miriam’s gilded floral mirror after the jump!

When I’m browsing flea markets and thrift shops, I have a hard enough time figuring out which items have potential, let alone which items can possibly be combined to create some cool new design. Anyone who has this vision is my hero. I plan to take a lesson from Miriam and her gilded floral-mirror project and try to use this foresight when I head to Brimfield next week. Great work, Miriam!

Time: 2 hours

Cost: $14

Basic Steps: First I cut up a dusty set of thrifted metal wall-hangings into individual flowers and leaves with some trusty wire cutters. Then I spray painted a plastic mirror (also thrifted) and all the separate flower pieces with some antique gold spray paint. To put it all together, I just glued the various metal flowers and leaves to the mirror, touched it all up with more spray paint and then painted a few leaves and flowers here and there with acrylic paint to give it some color.

My advice is to just keep your eye out for any wall-hanging or decorative object with interesting shape or detail. Almost anything can be disassembled and put together in a fresh new way. I’m constantly delighted by the unusual things people decorate and build with. — Miriam

  1. I love the ruler lampshade. Very very clever indeed.

  2. Grace says:

    oooh lovely, thanks for the tutorial! I saw the Ruling the Roost one couple months ago on Pinterest and have been in lust since!

  3. angie says:

    i love the ruler lampshade, too! awesome diy.

  4. I’ve seen that on Pinterest- very pretty! I don’t think the original is mass-produced, though, which is probably why it is so expensive – they’re handmade one at a time by the designer.
    http://www.rorydobner.com/galleries/furniture-homewares/ruling-roost-0

  5. Lauren says:

    Love the creativity!

    That lampshade is adorable!

  6. reeve says:

    just a never-ending supply of good idea here!! Thanks so much for all the creativity:)

  7. meagan says:

    oh great stuff – i have seen this lamp but from roost living in the UK and its not cheap! Like 320 pounds expensive! Very very cool! Thanks for posting,
    meagan, row house nest

  8. Cheryl says:

    That mirror is brilliant and beautiful. I see those awful metal wall hangings all the time, I’d love to turn one into something like that mirror.

  9. the mirror is divine… people are so creative.

  10. Shari says:

    Love these two projects!! They turned out so beautifully, and so professional looking. That mirror looks fab!!!

  11. Shanthi says:

    what a smart idea – ruler lampshade. Cool!!!

  12. Karin says:

    I’m going to do one right away!

  13. I love vintage rulers so much! It’s a great idea but I really don’t know if I could bring myself to chop them up :)

  14. love the mirrow! great work!xxb

  15. Gregg Woolard says:

    I would glue the objects to the mirror before I spray painted anything. The object will tend to stick to the spray paint
    and not the mirror frame, so if it gets bumped, off it goes!

  16. karen berg says:

    Wow, both are so creative and original! I am in love that with that mirror. I might try that myself. What an original take on an old mirror.

  17. Tiffany says:

    The lamp and mirror aren’t even on the same level. That mirror is the truest definition of creativity!! It’s amazing. Genius!

  18. Mimi says:

    Always love these before and afters DS! Esp. the lampshade… nice :)

  19. Clotilde M. says:

    Love the mirror! Very ingenious ideas!

  20. Sara says:

    Great idea. I think the first tipp would match to my room.

  21. These are just so creative! Merging modern design with childhood playfulness, I love it. As someone who works in the lighting industry, it’s always good to see that there’s no shortage of new ideas. Thanks for the great post!

  22. Tonya says:

    A rulwe pendant? How creative!? I wish I were that creative! The mirror is nice as well but the ruler fixture steals the show!

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