Monday, October 27, 2008

IKEA hack: photo wall sconce

As part of my series of photo gift ideas, I thought I would do some IKEA hacks (all related to photos, of course). And so, impulsively deviating from my drive to work, I headed to IKEA. How can I add a photo to this? was my guiding thought as I browsed through aisles of Gruntals, Kaxigs, Porflyts, and Gyllans. The names reminded me of a passage from David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day:

"If you have not meimslsxp or lgpdmurct by this time, then you should not be in this room. Has everyone apzkiubjxow? Everyone? Good, we shall begin."

In fact, now that I think of it, I may have stumbled upon a breathalyzer test replacement for arrest-hungry cops (feel free to try this one, Tim):

Name three IKEA accessories

The Hack
This project is quick, inexpensive, and can be modified for any interest or age group.

1. buy a TASSA NATT wall lamp for a whopping $4.99
2. Unscrew the lamp as you would to put in a bulb (which you will have to do anyway because it's not included).

3. Remove the paper with the image of strange little frogs French kissing. (Maybe that kind of filth flies in Sweden, but here in America we've got morals. Frogs shooting each other would be OK, but kissing? I think not.)

4. Now measure the paper. Here. Let me do it for you. It's 10 inches wide by 6.75 inches tall (actually, it's 1/16th of an inch taller, but sometimes I like to be sloppy—like the frogs).

5. Find a photo that will replace the frogs. The possibilities are endless. Here are three I chose:
A "danger of death" sign painted on a wall in Paris.

A photo of graffiti that will look good in my sons' room.

A photo of a hedge that my sister will probably like.

6. Print the photo on lightweight matte or translucent paper. You can either pre- or post-crop the photo. Either way, you will have to trim (from 8x10 or 8.5 x 11) since no one sells 6.75 x 10 inch paper.

7. If you fold the paper over the edges and let the slots hold it in (as in the frog picture), you won't even need glue or tape. Just put it back together and you've got a stylish new sconce.

Here are the results (the graffiti version now resides in my boys' room and looks great against their orange walls):
If I had more disposable income I would buy a bunch of these for a more dramatic effect.
  • Stack them tall (wired together with the grates) and use photos to make a quaking aspen (or some other tree, or obelisk, etc.) light tower.
  • As a Christmas or Halloween decoration, you could use photos of candy and line up "jars" of luminescent goodies.
  • Do photos of letters and spell something with one letter per TASSA NATT (doesn't it just roll off the tongue?)
You get the idea. Keep checking back for more photo gift/decorating ideas for the holiday season.