Homemade Lampshades – How To Make Your Own

Hey there friends, I’m back with a little ”how to” guide for creating your own homemade lampshades. With such a great reaction to our master bedroom room reveal on the gram yesterday, I thought it might be nice to show you how I made our lampshades for either side of the four poster bed. I’ve done a little reel tutorial too if you want to see it in video format – just pop over to @jpslifeandloves

Lamp shade on a beside table
Ooh check my shades!

How it all started

The bedroom design all started with a framed original piece of a blue and white William Morris & Co fabric, which was going to form the centrepiece above the bed. I wanted two lamps either side of the bed to have shades that picked up the William Morris pattern, but in a more contemporary way. I’d seen the perfect shades. The only problem was they were over £80 each and my budget just couldn’t stretch to that for two 30cm drum lampshades! So, what to do?

William Morris fabric in a frame - room designed by up clark
The William Morris fabric in a frame that started the whole bedroom design. Bed linen by Chalk Pink Linen. Cushions by Byron Bay Lifestyle.

Well, I’d already had a little experience of creating my own homemade lampshades. I made some for our last house using material I had bought on holiday. I also made some way out there moss-covered lampshades for an RHS stand, using rolls of faux moss. I know, they were insane! So, I just thought why not? I can make my own shades and again and so can you!

Buy a lampshade kit!

It’s actually really easy. It just takes patience and time. You’ll need to buy yourself a homemade lampshade kit first. I always use Dannells as I think the quality is really good, but you can get them elsewhere, including Amazon and Dunelm. I chose the 30cm drum kits as they fitted the lamp bases I already had. They were about £12 each. There are many other sizes and shapes to choose from.

The kit.

Now, the first thing you will need once you have your kit is the fabric you want to cover the kit in. Dannells tells you on their website how much fabric you will need to cover your shade. I already had a pair of curtains from Ikea that I had bought years ago, but never used. Mr C, my hubby, reminded me that we had them and would you believe it, it was only the perfect fabric to match my William Morris art!

Try not to choose a fabric that frays too easily when cut. It just makes it tricky when tucking in the edges on your shade frame. Saying that, I used moss once, so who am I to say!

Essentials

The kit I have says have someone to help you. Although I can see quite clearly why in some cases it would be easier with two people, personally I would not recommend it. If your second person is anything like my hubby, then you’ll be throwing the lampshade kit, fabric and all at his head within ten minutes. If you know someone very patient, then maybe give it a go. There are steps in the process that are really fiddly and a tad frustrating. So, unless my second person had been the Dalai Lama, I think I might have been sent to prison, hopefully with the finished lampshades! One can never be too over-accessorised.

The other thing you definitely do need is a flat surface such as a kitchen worktop, or dining table. You need quite a lot of space. A sharp pair of scissors is an absolute must, please believe me. Other than that, I would pour yourself a glass of something fabulous. Make sure the kids are in bed, or on a playdate – that includes the other half and then put on some relaxing music. No really, I mean it! Although relatively easy, these homemade lampshade kits can raise your blood pressure once or twice throughout the process. Perhaps don’t pour a second glass of something fabulous though, unless, of course, you fancy an avant garde lampshade shape – inverted cone anyone? Right, let’s get to the steps!

Step 1

Cut your fabric covering to a workable size and make sure it’s ironed! Place it face down on your work surface and then position the Stick-It panel on top. This is the backing panel that has a paper cover on it that you need to peel off. Once you’re happy with the positioning, peel back some of the release paper and stick the backing down onto your fabric. Now, this is where you need something to weight down the backing roll, otherwise it will keep rolling back up and get on your nerves. I used paint sample pots. Press firmly onto your fabric until all the release paper is removed. If you mess up and you can feel a crease, then first of all, slow down on the gin and tonic and then peel the backing paper back and do it again!

Step 2

Your panel is now ready for trimming. Cut all the surplus fabric away using a very sharp pair of scissors, or a craft knife. Snap back and break the creased edges (kiss cuts) around the panel. Carefully, without fraying the fabric, remove the broken strips of the panel to leave your fabric’s edge. Then apply a strip of the double sided sticky tape to one side of the panel. This is used to seal the seam at the end of the ”rolling” process (get ready for fun and games with that). Remove the red release paper from your sticky back plastic and you’re ready to roll!

Step 3

Don’t forget your weights at either end of your panel, otherwise it will all go seriously wrong at this point. Now apply double sided sticky tape to the centre of the outer edge of the two rings you have in your kit. This is so the outer edges are sticky so that they will adhere to your fabric when we do the roly poly thing. Press the tape down firmly around the rings, then remove the red release paper. You’ve now got two sticky rings! I’ve been dying to type that since I started writing.

Step 4 – get ready to roll!

One of your sticky rings is just a circle. The other has the attachments for fitting it to either a pendant light or a lamp – this is the utility ring. Decide whether your shade is a pendant or a lampshade. If it’s a lampshade then the utility ring is at the bottom. If it’s a pendant shade, then it’s at the top. Place both rings on the panel edges and start to roll together in unison. Keep in line with the panel edges at all times. If you go off piste, then roll back and do it again and honestly, steady on the sauce!

I’m really laughing as I type this as this is where they say get someone to help you. PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT! The double sided sticky tape will stick to your hands at this point. Oh, and don’t forget to remove your trusty weight from the end of the panel you are starting from. That is, of course, while you are holding both sticky rings and trying to not let the other end of the panel roll up towards you. Fun, fun! Still do it yourself though. No one was in the room when I did it, but I managed to exclaim at least forty expletives, some of which were completely made up.

Keep rolling!

It gets easier the more you roll (I’ve heard that one before). Once you’re half way, turn it around so you can roll the rest towards you. Once fully rolled, press down on the seam from inside onto your work surface. Snip the fabric in line with the struts on the utility ring. You should have three cuts. Pinch the fabric, pull taut and fold back onto the inside of your sticky ring. Do the same for the other end too. Nearly there, I promise! However, the final step is the most annoying.

Step 5 – the final frontier!

You’re so nearly there, except you’re not. This is the last step. However, it is the one that takes the longest and the one where the lampshade nearly went in the bin. The kit comes with a triangular finishing tool, which in truth, needs to be made of something stronger. They tell you to cut the edge if it gets blunt. I did this to the point that I had almost nothing left. Using the ”finishing” tool, push the fabric behind the rings. Force the tool between the gap and swipe around the circumference until you are happy with the finish and all frays are hidden.

I used their language for the last sentence above. In reality, what they mean is you need to use the finishing tool to force the fabric away from the sticky ring, so that you can tuck the frayed edges of your fabric underneath to leave a neat non-sticky ring. Get me? The trick is to use both ends of your triangular finishing tool, the jagged end prizing the ring away from your fabric and the pointy end for shoving the fabric underneath your sticky ring. Is anyone else laughing as much as I am?

Blue bedroom and a four poster bed.

Voila!

You now have a professionally finished top quality homemade lampshade – they say. Well, mine do look pretty good, but I have to say I was glad I had done it before. Honestly though, please try it and show me your attempts. Even if it’s just for the giggle! Seriously, it’s not that hard. I’ve gone slightly overboard for dramatic effect (Pinocchio). Just take your time and if you mess up, then go back and repeat a step. More than anything – have fun! If you want an absolute scream then do get your best buddy who likes a laugh to help you. If anything, it will make a memory.

JP Clark signature

If you loved this then why not read: Six Easy & No Carve Pumpkin Ideas.

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