DIY lamp shade

DIY drum lampshade - how to make a handmade lampshade |

Most people don’t know how easy it is to make a lamp shade.  A handmade, custom lamp shade can really take  any lamp from blah to wow. Match it perfectly to your existing home decor using fabric remnants from drapes or throw pillows, or take elements from the lamp base to contrast with the shade. This blue fleur-de-lis fabric goes perfectly with a DIY wine bottle lamp base for a french shabby-chic look.

Shabby chic DIY lamp and shade

The key material for making a lamp shade is pressure-sensitive styrene, also known as adhesive styrene. It is the stiff, plasticky stuff that all lamp shades have as their backing. Although you can make a lampshade out of regular card stock or paper, there are a few reasons why I don’t recommend it. If you have the right materials, making your own lampshade is a simple project that only takes around an hour.

What you’ll need:

  • Adhesive styrene
  • Fabric. Natural fabrics like cotton, silk, or linen work best
  • Lamp shade wire rings – the same size for the top as for the bottom
  • Scissors. Or if you have them, a rotary cutter & mat
  • Lampshade glue
  • A molding wand or orange stick
  • Binder clips

Update: Since so many people were searching for the components used to make their own drum lampshade, I’ve created DIY lampshade kits! They are now available in the I like the lamp Shop. These kits contain all you need to create your own lampshade: pre-cut styrene, lampshade rings,  clips, lampshade glue, and a wooden molding wand.

Choose the size lampshade you want to make, and your kit will include the right sized rings and styrene pre-cut  in the dimensions you need. Check the DIY Lampshade Kit out and save yourself the hassle of sourcing all the pieces separately and messing around with getting the right size of everything!   

Shop lamp-making kits

materials for diy lamp shade


  1. Iron your fabric thoroughly to ensure there are no creases in the final product.
  2. Measure and record the circumference of the lampshade ring, and add an extra inch. Determine the height you want your finished lamp shade to be by measuring from the bottom to the top of your lamp’s harp.
  3. Trace these dimensions onto the styrene – you should end up with a long rectangle.
  4. Adhere the styrene to the reverse (non-patterned) side of the fabric by peeling off the backing slowly and smoothing with the other hand.  Make sure there are no crinkles or air bubbles.


Cut out the fabric, adding a half inch all the way around except for one of the short edges.


Glue the overhanging fabric on the short side to the styrene.


Wrap your fabric & styrene rectangle into a cylinder and attach a bulldog clip to hold it. Rest one of the wire rings on the arms of the bulldog clip. Hold the ring in place using a couple more bulldog clips around the circumference of the ring. Do the same for the other wire ring.

Section by section, paint on the glue and fold over the wire ring. Wait until the glue is tacky, then use your molding wand/stick to gently push the fabric up and underneath the wire ring.


Now put your thing down, flip it and reverse it! Do the same for the other end of the shade.

Once dry, install the lampshade on the lamp base and bask in the warm glow of your crafty genius… er, new lamp!
Want to learn more about making lampshades? See more Lampshade Tutorials or subscribe to the I like that lamp mailing list and receive a free guide to the top 5 tools you need to make professional-looking lampshades.

Shop DIY lampshade kits

Kiri Masters

by Kiri Masters

Kiri is the creator of I like that lamp. What gets her up in the morning is beautiful home decorating projects. And a strong Americano. Read more about Kiri

30 thoughts on “DIY lamp shade

  1. Pingback: Keepsake wine bottle lamp tutorial | I like that lamp

  2. Cheryl Chadwick says:

    Hi, I am trying to make a lampshade with a top diameter of 10 inches , bottom 20 inches and 14 inches long. Do you have a kit for this? I am trying to replace an existing shade so have the frames. I am not sure how to cut the fabric if it is a print or a solid the only way to go? Any suggestion would be appreciated. These lamps belong to my mother and am having trouble finding new shades.

    • Kiri Masters
      Kiri Masters says:

      Hi Cheryl!
      Currently the only kits we sell are to make drum-shaped lampshades which means the top and bottom diameter are the same. To make a tapered lampshade like the one you’ve described, you could purchase a sheet of custom cut styrene (available in the store) that will make a lampshade 20×14, and source the rings separately. You will need to cut an arc shape from the styrene. I wrote a post on how to do this at

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  6. Christy says:

    I was wondering what you do with the short side of the styrene once the overhanging fabric is glued to it. Do you glue it to the other short side after you wrap it into a cylinder?

  7. Kris McInnes says:

    Can i purchase adhesive styrene from you? If so please provide details. Is there anything else can use anything else besides adhesive styrene? Thanks

  8. Alice says:

    Hi Kiri, nice site. I am interested in making clip-on half shades to fit new large LED bulbs. Can your kits be adapted to do that?


  9. Amy says:

    Hi there,
    Can you use a paper product like a map or nautical chart over the adhesive styrene instead of a fabric, or is that still a fire hazard?

    • Kiri Masters
      Kiri Masters says:

      Hi Amy – sorry for the late response. You certainly could use a map or other paper material to cover your lampshade instead of fabric. Since the styrene is non-flammable, it is safer to do it this way than make a lampshade out of paper or card alone.

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