I’ve been collecting phone books for many years, always thinking one day there would be something super creative I can do with them. I finally decided to rip some up for a paper mache project but changed my mind. (Last week’s Dragon project was originally going to be one large paper mache dragon.) This left me with absolutely no idea what to do with almost two dozen phone books. I eventually found a cool image online of a lampshade with torn-up pages adhered to it. So, I decided to try it.

Instead of doing something easy like buying a lampshade and adhering the paper to it, I decided to build my own from scratch. I began by ripping up, painting, and gluing the white pages onto vellum paper. Then I spackled the paper with yellow, black, and orange paint using a toothbrush, occasionally making larger splatters with a paintbrush. Finally, I picked up some wire and bent it into the shapes I needed before hot gluing the paper to them.

After it was all constructed, I actually looked at it for the first time as something that would truly be part of my decor. And I didn’t really like it. The yellow was too pale and didn’t match anything else in my home and the wood base didn’t seem to fit with the graffiti-type design. Then, begrudgingly I flipped off the lights, pulled the blinds, and turned on the lamp. Wow, what a difference. I was impressed.

All-in-all it was a great learning experience, even though I wasn’t completely satisfied. I still find it fascinating how easily we can repurpose items with just a little creativity, like I did before with my Juice Box Monsters for the kids at Art of Elysium. The possibilities for future projects are endless. However, besides paper mache, I’m not a huge fan of working with newsprint with ink on it. The texture of the paper and ink makes me cringe. This really hit home while trying to figure out some other uses for the scraps of the white pages.

While shredding the newsprint paper I noticed it is the perfect thickness to have used for practicing the origami dragons from last weeks project. So, while waiting for the paint to dry on the lampshade I made a pretty cool star. Although, creating it solidified my desire to never touch phone book pages or newspaper again.


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