As I look up to this week’s project, I realize that I’m always learning something new with each new item. This week was no exception. I learned volumes.
We have a small room off of the kitchen which has just been converted into an office that would also serve us as a craft room. We found a couple of very modern and sleek tables that work great for both a desk and a work space. We also added boards, shelves, and put some of our favorite projects around the room for inspiration. The only thing we needed to finish the room was a fun crafty light for the space. It needs to be cool, modern and fabulous! (Foreshadow…)
We found a cool plastic chandelier at IKEA, but we wanted it to look distinct. Alberto had the idea of using decorative radiator covers instead of the plastic pieces that came with the kit. (We really do love our radiator covers!) I thought, “Cool”!
All we needed was a couple of large panels of decorative radiator covers. This seemed like a throw away project. What could be more simple? Trace the two patterns on the metal, cut them and assemble. EASY!!! I’d be done with this in about an hour. Sweet!
Learning Moment 1: Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.
We got home and I started tracing the patterns on the metal sheets. I didn’t want to use permanent marker because I didn’t want the lines to remain on the metal after I’d cut it out, so I used a regular marker.
Learning Moment 2: Guess what? A regular marker rubs off so you can’t see the curvy pattern. Who knew? That’s okay. I just had to be careful. So I put the template on the metal and started tracing.
Learning Moment 3: There are A LOT of holes in these radiator covers…A LOT!
Fine. I’ll just be careful as I’m drawing the pattern. Careful becomes tedious quickly. By the time I was finished, I’d been holding the pattern “perfectly” in place (meanwhile my arm was shaking from the stress), and it only took 5 minutes. I’m still optimistic though, 1 down, 11 more to go…
The tracing does get easier, and after 30 minutes I start cutting the patterns out using metal sheers.
Learning Moment 4: The sheers don’t do corners quite as well as scissors on paper. Could it be that I’m cutting metal, and not paper?
Whatever. I continue cutting carefully while doing the best not to rub off the pattern lines I made with the marker. This is very hard.
Once I finished cutting one side, I realized that I could hold on to that side with my other hand while cutting the other side. Perfect! That will make it much easier. So I grab the cut side of the metal, and immediately scream from the agony of the sharp metal edges plunging into my skin.
Learning Moment 5: Cut metal is sharp! More care is needed, obviously. But I don’t have a choice; I’m now committed to finishing what I’ve started! I continue (vaguely) tracing the pattern and (painstakingly) cutting out the templates. (12 times . . . 12 TIMES!)
I looked up and Alberto is playing on Pinterest. I need a cocktail!
Yeah! After two hours, I’ve finished all twelve of the cutouts, and I’ve only been forced to don one bandaid! (This is a miracle) I just need to put it together. I start assembling the light with the IKEA instructions, only using my new pieces. This is going to be a piece of cake! (Guess I should’ve listened to Learning Moment 1.) I add the first two pieces, and they look amazing. I start adding the third, and . . .
Learning Moment 6: I realize that metal doesn’t bend (and recover) like plastic. I’m forcing the pieces together with my bare hands with razor sharp metal. I might as well be thumb-wrestling Edward Scissorhands!
Learning Moment 7: Finally, after a few cuts I think about putting on garden gloves. (Why didn’t I think about this before?) Putting it together may not have been any easier, but at least I wouldn’t need a blood transfusion.
I keep pushing, bending, shaping, styling and forcing everything in place. I put the last piece in place, and I was done! Yay for me! I showed Alberto, and in a very supportive voice he said, “It’s lopsided.” AHHHHHHHHH!!!! So I bent and pushed and shaped and styled and forced it as best that I could, but it remains misshapen, and it’s kind of not very attractive. I spent most of the day working on it and I told Alberto that it will be our chandelier. He finally acquiesced and went back to Pinterest.
Learning Moment 8: Pinterest is a good diversion. . .
Now we have a very unique chandelier in our new crafty office. For all the work I put in it alone, I will treasure it forever (or at least until I’m able to use my hands again).