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.
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
- Iron your fabric thoroughly to ensure there are no creases in the final product.
- 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.
- Trace these dimensions onto the styrene – you should end up with a long rectangle.
- 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.
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.
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.