From Glow Bug Pupa to Adult Firefly

Smila Bagge, red and black sharpie pens, green acrylic paint

We put together a great little nursery, with lots of items from Ikea, for my son. We intended the SMILA BAGGE wall lamp to be his night light for the room. One problem we encountered was that the lamp just put out too much light in the room overall and was not as conducive to rocking the baby down to sleep as we hoped.

At first, in desperation, we went for the “un-hack hack” of throwing a little receiving blanket over the plastic shade. This definitely did the trick but looked like a glowing rag on the wall. One always had to be careful about placement of the blanket to avoid a possible fire hazard as well.

As a more permanent solution I decided the BAGGE needed to evolve a bit more and turn into a firefly. This is a little more than a simple re-paint because we are changing the function of the lamp itself but it is a very simple cosmetic hack. In truth this hack is really increasing the opaqueness of sections of the inside of the shade.

I recommend simple acrylic hobby paint, in green (black or white would work as well), and the fat standard sharpies, one in red and one in black. You will also need some Q-tips. Obviously, you can make your SMILA FEIRFLE however you choose. (Ikea name pending.) You could choose to completely darken the eyes for a more realistic look. The below steps should give you plenty of ideas of how to make your BAGGE a little more mellow and unique.

Metamorphosis:From glow bug to firefly in 5 hours
1) Use the black sharpie pen and put one coat of scribble in his eyes. Ouch!

2) Use the red sharpie pen and put a coat of scribble in each of his spots. I call them “style points”.

3) Carefully, using the black sharpie put a thin line on each of his abdomen ridges. It’s an easier way to abdominal definition than the gym.

4) Flip the BAGGE shade over, so it might make a really unusual bowl. Hold it up to the light and carefully use the black sharpie on this side of the shade to color in the dark spots in the eyes. Yes, go for the eyes again!
5) Get out your acrylic paint and put on a light very textured coat on. You want to paint everything but the abdomen and eyes. You can be a little sloppy around the eyes we will clean them up later. Also, you are doing this painting all on the inside, bowl, surface of the shade. I’ll repeat, some texture is good here, as it will help future coats stick to this slick plastic.

6) Let dry.

7) Now another coat of paint. It’s important to realize that this smooth plastic doesn’t hold paint very well. Don’t brush hard, or re-brush over a spot made wet again, on your second coat. Coat thicker this time and be a little more methodical. I suppose we could have sanded the interior surfaces to begin and primed them but I think that might be overkill for this little bug. Squish.

8) Let dry – again.

9) At this point let’s clean up the eye ridges we have been sloppy around. Get a q-tip. Wet it. (preferably under the sink) Drag it around in the eye ridge and rub to pull up paint. Repeat and make the ridges clean and paint free.

10) Last coat of paint. At this point you might want to hold the shade up to a light, to mimic what the bulb will do, and look at all the imperfections in your paint coverage. Paint a nice thick third coat on the surfaces and check by holding up to light to get the nice opaque coverage we want.

11) Let dry dry dry.

12) Final touch up. You might want to do a second and maybe even a third coat of sharpie on his eyes to get them nice and dark. You might also need to touch up some thin coverage spots in your paint of the shade. Also, you might need to help his vision some more by re-cleaning the eye ridges if you want glowey eyes.

13) You know you’re done, when you’re done.

14) Test it out. Nice!

Conclusion and Hindsight:
In conclusion there are more ways to skin this cat … err bug. Another great way to do this shade would probably be tinfoil cut slightly to shape on the interior surfaces and glued down. Any heat resistant material you can get to evenly cover the interior surfaces is the way to go.

I advise against glued paper to prevent your Firefly from becoming less fly and all fire.

Good lighting and pleasant dreams to all.

~ Andrew, San Jose CA

Jules Yap