I haven’t been accepting products for review or other blogging “opportunities” that have crossed my inbox over the last several months, but when I was contacted about blogging about the Art of Patron bottle art competition, it seemed way too far up my alley to turn away.
Itâ€™s a contest that encourages participants to use an empty Patron bottle and create their own unique piece of artwork. The contest runs through July 17 and nine people will be selected to receive $1,000, with the grand prize winner to be awarded $10,000. More details here.
So I said yes, and a few days later a couple bottles–one full, one empty–landed on my doorstep and the ideas started churning.
Long-time readers may recall that we upcycled several dozen wine bottles for our wedding in 2013. Some were painted, others were turned into vases for centerpieces, and one even became my bouquet holder. In other words, I love working with bottles. And the iconic recycled Patron bottles, with their bubbly, slightly uneven surface, hold plenty of possibilities.
As you can see, above, I decided to make a lamp out of the empty Reposado bottle I received, preferring pretties that potentially serve a purpose to the purely decorative. Turning a vessel into a lamp can be a very simple project–kits are available at your local hardware store–but you know I didn’t take the simple route, right?
With the bottle as the base and an octagonal shade purchased at Tuesday Morning for the top, Todd helped me find the right bits and bobs at Lowe’s to make up the main works: the switch (I opted for one with a pull cord over a button or knob), the “cage” for lightbulb, and the threaded tube that would form the neck of the lamp.
I had my heart set on a pretty, twisted lamp cord that would be seen and not hidden (the cord usually runs down the neck and exists the base unobtrusively at the back), so that was ordered from Color Cord Company. I ordered 12 feet to make sure I had plenty to wrap the neck of the lamp as well as the neck of the bottle and still have plenty for the business end of the cord. (I hate too-short cords!)
Since I wanted the cord as a visual element, not just a working one, we had to alter the switch a bit. Todd drilled a 1/4″ hole in the base of the switch, on what would become the back side. Then we decided how tall we wanted the lamp to be and trimmed the threaded tube with a hacksaw, and secured the bulb “cage” and switch with some locking washers and nuts. I had been planning to secure the tube in place in the base with some silicone adhesive, but Todd came up with the idea of drilling a hole through a spare champagne cork instead. (Because I planned to use the original Patron cork as the lampshade’s finial!)
With those specifics out of the way, I got down to the decorating. It’s admittedly hard to see in the photos, but I spritzed the shoulders of the bottle with pearl and gold Glimmer Mist (the trick is to spray from almost too far away, otherwise you might end up with streaks and runs) and then sealing it with a coat of Helmar Crystal Kote Gloss Varnish to avoid any dulling reside from the mists. Then I filled the bottle with glass bead vase-filler and a string of battery-operated, warm white LED fairy lights.
Many fairy lights have AA or AAA battery packs to contend with, but they’re starting to make them with these flat-disc batteries, now, and that made it a much lower profile unit to glue to the back bottle. Now the lamp has both a regular bulb as well as a softer, ambient, “night light” effect in the base!
The fringe I used on the lamp shape was definitely the most time-consuming part of the process: it’s hand knit looped fringe, made extra long and then trimmed to a uniform length. (I used the Single-Loop Fringe technique but did it as part of a knitted cast-on, so I could make as much as I needed and then stop, rather than have to start with a gauge swatch and hope the math was right!) I was able to find a yarn that was an almost-perfect match to the goldenrod color of the cord, so I consider the effort worth it (especially when you compare the cost of ready-made trim in the stores).
I debated for a while what design to add to the plain shade. I considered screening or hand painting the Patron bee onto the larger panels, but I didn’t want to be that obvious, honestly! Instead, I used a gold pearl paint pen to dot a meandering bee-trail along the main panels, and a straight line down the smaller corner panels. Once everything was dry, the trim was added to the shade with Helmar Fabric Glue.
I think the overall effect of the finished lamp gives it a very ‘Tiki’ feel, even if tiki drinks are usually the purview of rum. So I’m going to call this my TIKI-la Lamp, and plan just the right place for it on our bar!
If you’ve got a spare Patron bottle around (I can’t be the only one who hoards–ahem–holds onto interesting bottles when they empty), turn it into something awesome and enter it. You’ve got until the 17th!