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Friday, January 13, 2017

The Making of a Nightlight

So apparently cockatiels have night frights. We found this out early one morning about 2 am when we heard the flapping of wings and the pitter patter of bird feet frantically emerging from Ed and Olive's birdcage. It took about 30 minutes to calm them down and as we didn't want to deal with that again, we did a little research to find ways to alleviate the problem.

One of the ways was quite simple; just like toddlers, cockatiels don't like the pitch dark and many people recommended putting a nightlight by the bird cage.

Oddly enough (well maybe not that odd. Ok, yes, probably odd) I went through this nightlight making period about 5 or 7 years ago. To make a long story short, it all started with these cool lampshades I saw in a store close to my house. As is usually the case, when I said I really liked them, Jeff commented about how easy they would be to make. I believed him, but knowing my limitations as an artist, I figured I'd start small and try the technique with nightlights.

I made a couple nightlights at the time. This one, I made for my sister and was my favorite. Remember, I said I wasn't an artist. Let's just call it 'folk-art' and I mean no offense to real folk-art.

Anyway, these are relatively easy to make and inexpensive. Even better, someone a little more arty than me could make a really nice one.

So, because Ed and Olive need a night light, and I still have some supplies left from my nightlight making phase, I'll detail how to make one and maybe someone out there will take the idea and run!

You will need the following supplies:

To begin with, if you're starting with a cheap nightlight like this, remove the plastic cover and throw it away.


Now, use your aluminum wire and wrap it around the base of the light. The wire will be used to create the form of your nightlight, in my case I'm making a bird, of course.

Using the wire, create your form.

Next, glue the tissue paper to the wire using small drops of glue. You don't need a lot of glue as the dope will be a little adhesive.

I used clothes pins to help hold the tissue paper in place while the glue dries.

Unlike the picture, it's best to pull the tissue paper as tight as possible this will give your nightlight fewer wrinkles.

Now, using a spray bottle, gently spray the tissue paper with water. This makes the tissue paper shrink and tighten even more.

After the paper is completely dry, use the dope and paint brush and gently brush it all over the tissue paper, front and back. You'll want at least two coats of dope on the tissue paper.

After the first coat of dope and while it's still wet, I use more tissue paper to create the design on my night light. In this case, the bird needs a face and beak. The dope will hold the new tissue paper in place and there's no need to use anymore glue.

After the first coat of dope is dry, I apply a second coat. Once dry, the dope makes the tissue paper stiff.

It only takes about 15 minutes for the dope to dry. Also, you'll want to make sure you use it in a well ventilated area as it has a powerful smell.

Once dry, your nightlight is finished!

Here's hoping this helps ward off the night frights for Ed and Olive!

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