Make your own Kodachrome slide lamp shade — but it will be hard to top Shane’s

Yesterday I saw some instructions on how make a curtain or lampshade out of vintage Kodachrome slides. You know: The gazillions of old family vacation and what-not slides we see at estate sales everywhere? At least I do — in every single house! I posted the link on Retro Renovation’s Facebook Fan page, and low and behold, one of our faithful readers — Shane — piped up that he had built the mother of all Kodachrome lampshades: Featured above. What a beauty. Shane says the project took 300 slides, 1200 holes punched and probably 1300 jewelry connector-rings. “I’m not sure how many hours I’ve got into the whole thing,” he explains. “Punching holes and connecting all the slides together was tedious at best.” Ya think???? I am So Impressed by anyone who has the patience and fortitude to complete a project like this… and, who can find ways to repurpose vintage artifacts in a way that can be enjoyed each and every day. Read on for more info from Shane.

Shane writes:

I made a ~3′ floor lamp shade out of a few hundred slides. It looks pretty cool, but you HAVE to keep it out of the sun (so curtains doesn’t work) or the slides start to fade quickly. 300 slides, 1200 holes punched and probably 1300 rings

I didn’t go by any instructions. I saw a table lamp on a TV show quite a few years ago and wanted to make one. I was having a hard time finding a square table lamp shade (most have at least a little bit of a taper). We had bought this lamp from K-Mart a couple years ago and when the paper shade tore, I peeled all the paper off and went to town. The slides I got off of eBay. The rings I got from a jewelry supply company my wife deals with all the time (I would have to find out the name of it and the type of rings I bought). I also got the hole punch from eBay but I’m sure any scrapbooking supply store should have it. It’s a 1/8″ hole. I’m not sure how many hours I’ve got into the whole thing. Punching holes and connecting all the slides together was tedious at best.

Buying the slides was kind of fun in itself since they were just large lots and you don’t know what you’re going to get. I’ve got a small set (probably 10 slides or so) of a cemetery. Most are family slides, others are scenery. It makes you wonder what happened in the scenes you’re looking at. I also wondered why someone would get rid of them. There’s some Christmas slides and I wouldn’t want to get rid of family memories like that.

Thank you, Shane. This is just spectacular. Well done! Online trail that got me started on this topic: See Daisy Fairbank’s post about about Craftster’s instructions to make these Kodachrome slide projects.

  1. Dave says:

    That’s pretty cool, but I wonder if so much light exposure would cause the slides to fade. Since they’re junk slides, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

  2. Joe says:

    We used to have that exact same floorlamp, it was from Ikea, how funny. What a cool project to re-purpose something generic into something one of a kind. Awesome end result.

  3. Delta Ess says:

    What a neat idea! I wonder if using a long fluorescent tube in the center would prevent fading and light it up more evenly.

  4. dellsmeadow says:

    wow, what a great interesting idea. Yeah, to Shane for sharing. And, Shane, I always wonder those same things when I see family articles for sale. But after living in Florida for several years, you see this kind of thing all the time. Family members die and there is no one in the family interested in taking them. They take only the heart felt items that remind them of the person. So the rest of us get to enjoy the other items! Thanks for sharing.

  5. RetroSandie says:

    This is a very cool project, Shane! And definitely worth the time spent. Now you have something you have created yourself and is individually yours with the slides you chose! I think it’s a great idea to use re-purposed materials to end up with something so spectacular!! 🙂

  6. RetroSandie says:

    Pam, I just followed your link to Crafter’s Instructions and thought the curtains and little lamp they made were so cool. Maybe if you were to put the curtains in a window that receives light but not direct sunlight, it would help with fading, but still be wonderful to see! Anyway, it’s a very clever idea!!! 🙂

  7. Maryanne says:

    Love the lamp! I saw a similar one in Readymade magazine a number of years ago and was determined to make it. After finding a box of 1950’s slides at a thrift store in Portland I found the photos too awesome and they needed to be shared. My husband teaches web and database development and used the idea of a free stock site of vintage photos as one of the class projects. That’s how http://www.vintagepixels.com was born. The database of images has been slowly growing (I have thousands to sort and scan still). The photos have been used in many media projects, including most notably, as props in the miniseries The Pacific. Talk about one project idea creating another!

    If you stop by to visit, please excuse the mess. We’re in the process of designing a new interface while working full time and hip deep in renovations of our 1950’s ranch. (Can someone please make more hours in the day?) I’m still hoping to make that lamp out of the rejected slides someday!

  8. carole says:

    I’ve seen instructions for making a small lamp shade, but have never seen one that large. I would not have the patience! Very cool.

  9. Maureen says:

    Great idea! I actually love the thought of using family slides to do this project because they would otherwise be tossed (or sold to strangers) eventually anyway so it would be a way of appreciating what you have. This would be an excellent light to keep in a basement away from direct sunlight!!

  10. midmodms says:

    Love it! So cool. I once saw a chandelier made out of old curlers, the plastic kind that came in different colors for each size, with I think small while Christmas lights. I though it was beautiful. Kitschy, but that’s not a bad thing, IMO.

  11. Fred says:

    I would love to try this idea out. Perhaps the holes could be drilled through a stack of slides at a time. This would certainly work with cardboard mounts, and might work with plastic ones. The holes could be smaller as well.

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