I’ve been enjoying learning to make 1″ scale lamps, and I’m finding the techniques easy to translate to other scales. It’s tough to find lamps in 1/4″ scale. By making my own I can design them to my specifications.
And they’re easy! Because quarter scale is so small, there aren’t a lot of parts involved. What you do need are good tweezers. I have two that I swear by:
1) A set that you squeeze to open and holds things when you let go (I’m sure there’s a name for this tool)
2) Fine-pointed tweezers that will pick up the tiniest beads.
I bought each of these at our local annual miniature show, but small tool places like Micromark and JAR-JAF miniatures should have something similar.
The other thing you need is good glue. JAR-JAF recommends jewelers cement. I don’t have that and make do with crazy glue (the bottle with the brush in the lid) and the Ultimate glue.
Beads and Jewelry Findings:
JAR-JAF has a huge selection of findings and beads–you can download their catalog from their site and browse all the fun shapes they sell. Nothing has to be expensive; e.g., you can get a dozen of whatever for $1.25.
Jewelry-making aisles of hobby stores will have a ton of stuff, and if you’re lucky enough to have a bead store nearby, that’s great too!
I’ll show you how I did a couple of lamps, just by looking at beads and things and putting them together.
Here’s supplies for lamp #1. The blue beads are from a hobby store. The finding for the lamp base is from JAR-JAF, # 677. The lamp shade is #1302. The pin is #688 (a blunt end pin). The tiny gold beads are #711 as you can see.
Build the lamp from the base upward, using the pin to hold everything as it’s glued. Only small drops of glue (the Ultimate or crazy [super] glue or a mixture of both) are needed.
I wanted a small lamp for a bedside table, so I stacked beads until it was about 1/4″ high. I glued the shade on the top. I added the top greenish bead as a finial, but it’s really too big, so I did not put on anything after the shade in my other lamps.
Clip the pin that sticks out above the shade with nail clippers or wire clippers (cut into a wastepaper basket because the pins will fly).
The resulting lamp. This one is not electrified, but with LEDs being so tiny now, you could carefully remove the pin and run wires down the shaft (once the glue is completely dried). Lighting Bug sells an LED kit with a transformer and battery box for smaller scales. They also sell the LED bulbs with wires separately, as does JAR-JAF.
For now, I’m doing non-electrified lamps.
For this lamp, I used the clear little tubes, #1515, from JAR-JAF. These are mostly used to make lusters for 1″ scale chandeliers and sconces, but I thought “Hey, quarter-inch lamp body.”
The finished lamp on display. This was nothing more than base, clear tube, crystal bead, lampshade (again #1302), built up on a pin. I found I needed to have the bead on top of the clear tube to give a more stable base for the lampshade.
Another lamp with dark blue tubes I found at the beading/jewelry aisle of hobby stores. Again, I don’t think the top gold bead is needed. It’s too big in proportion to the rest.
Since doing these with findings I had on hand (leftover from 1″ projects I’d completed), I browsed through the JAR-JAF catalog for more 1/4″ scale-looking findings.
I came across more possibilities for lamp shades: #1316 and #814, plus the gold tubes (#1399). They also have a kit for a 1/4″ torchere lamp with the light included for $7.
I highly recommend the book “Bangles, Baubles, and Beads,” from JAR-JAF, which has instructions for many lamps, some incredibly easy (some more involved). They have instructions for a couple of 1/4″ chandeliers, sconces, and accessories.
The trouble is, it’s addicting. Pretty soon I had to have a way to keep things organized. This is only one of my trays:
These are quick and easy projects–what takes the most time is waiting for the glue to dry!