Shady Broken Glass

Shady Broken Glass

This project was inspired by a viewer comment suggesting making a lampshade out of broken glass in some manner. 

Peter took that idea and ran with it as usual.  There was no exact manual to follow to create such a thing, which is also his custom.

Peter started by stacking and gluing progressively smaller layers of plywood to form a rough cone shape.

This was then mounted to the lathe in order to fine tune that shape even further. He decided to use this wooden cone as what is known as a buck.  A buck is a moldmaking term that is an exact representation of the object to be made, which is a lampshade in this case. 

Peter then used EasyMold silicone paste to paint one half of the buck.  Next Peter layered on fiberglass and resin to build up the structure of the mother mold. This provides needed rigidity to the mold in order for the silicone to retain it’s proper shape.

Since the cone is radially symmetrical, Peter only needed to create a mold of one half and then cast two halves to piece together into one lampshade, easy peasy.  But Peter wanted to level up his skills and patience by methodically placing the broken glass shards onto the mold, piece by piece and side by side.

He then painstakingly painted liquid resin between the crystals, taking care to not lift them up from their resting places. As the resin cured, he was able to gradually advance up the curves of the mold. This essentially created a single layer of glass with an appearance similar to stained glass. 

After many laborious hours of playing with tweezers, glass shards and resin, two halves of the lamp shade were completed. Now how does one seamlessly unite two irregularly jagged edges made of glass?

By ingeniously using blue painters tape of course!  This would hold the two halves together in the proper position while simultaneously allowing more glass to be held in place by its tackiness. After some more resin was used to fill and glue the sides together, the rough lampshade was finished! 

Unfortunately, the non-existent project manual did not warn Peter of the importance of a completely sanded and smooth surface on the wooden buck.  The silicone mold marvelously captured every little detail including the woodgrain and plywood layers.  These details were subsequently transferred to the resin that was painted into the mold. Nothing that a bit of additional sanding and more resin couldn’t fix!

And there you have it, a spectacular shattered glass/resin lampshade.  It was comforting to see such a beautiful representation of the power of healing and reforming something broken and seemingly worthless into an object of beauty with value again! 

At the time of this writing, Peter still has not finished transforming this project into a fully functioning lampshade, but hopefully this article will remind him to do just that!