How to make a lampshade from scratch

Here’s our straight-forward guide to how to make a lampshade at home, using things you’re likely to already have around the house.

Updated

How to make a lampshade from scratch

Key steps

To create your own lampshade, follow these key steps:

  1. Get together everything you’ll need.
  2. Make the frame from old coat hangers.
  3. Cut the fabric to size.
  4. Wrap around the frame and secure with glue.

Lampshades not only dim the glare of a lightbulb but they can also provide a canvas to express your personal style. If you haven't found a lampshade that meets your expectations, why not make one yourself? Learning how to make your own lampshade may sound daunting at first but with this step-by-step article it's as easy as pie! Here are our favourite lampshade ideas for all the crafty wannabe interior designers out there.

If you don’t know where to start when making your own lampshade, we recommend a drum shape as these tend to be more straight-forward to make.

How to make a lampshade

Making a DIY lamp shade involves a bit of kit. Be sure you have the following to hand before you start. Luckily they are all the kinds of things that you are likely to have already so this is one project that actually should not cost too much at all:

  • Pen and paper
  • Pliers
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Glue (suitable for use of fabric)
  • Flame-retardant fabric spray
  • Fabric
  • Wire coat hangers (untwisted)
  • Lampshade base

Ready to start? Here are the first steps:

  1. Choose the size of your lampshade. If you’re not sure, use an existing one as your model, draw round the top and bottom onto paper and use that as your guide.
  2. Bend the wire into circles matching the two circles you’ve drawn.
  3. Cut 6–10 pieces of metal to be the support sections and stretch them between the two circles, securing the wire either side.
  4. Use a loop of wire to secure your lampshade to the base you are using.
  5. Check for any loose areas and secure with glue as required.

DIY lampshade: How to cover the frame

Now you’ve got the frame, here’s how to cover it with fabric:

  1. Lay the fabric on a flat surface, pattern side down and check it’s the right size for the frame.
  2. Chalk where it fits the fabric allowing 2cm at the top and bottom to secure it and then cut out.
  3. Wrap the fabric around the frame, then use the glue to secure it at top and bottom.
  4. Add an extra layer of glue to the upper and lower rim to secure.
  5. Once it’s dried, trim any outstanding edges.
If the fabric you are using isn’t already flame retardant, use a special spray to make sure it is not flammable. Never leave lampshades on unattended due to the the risk of fire.

Originally published