Make Your Own Lamp Shades 2

lamp shades

Sometimes you just need more LIGHT.  If your place was built a decade after the civil war, or during the time of flappers and prohibition, you may have noticed a curious lack of electrical planning.

Maybe people had better vision back in the old days and didn’t need all the silly light fixtures we crave. I’ve read that vegetables 100 years ago were far more nutritious in their vitamin content, so it’s possible their carrot intake alone rendered excessive lighting useless. I figured making our own lampshades would be far more fun (and practical) than eating a bushel of carrots per week.

DIY Lamp Shades:

  • Top round wire frame
  • Bottom round wire frame
  • Vinyl (clear or white)
  • Double sided tape
  • Spray adhesive
  • Fabric

tools and materials

First determine what size shade you want, and then buy the correct diameter wire frames. The size of the lamp shade will determine the wattage of the bulb. If the shade is too close to a hot light bulb, it could heat up the shade too much or even ignite. If you are using compact fluorescents or a low watt LED, they run much cooler, but still leave at least a couple inches space around them.

bulb to shade distance infographic

I went with a 60-watt bulb and a 10-inch diameter shade wire frame. The only difference between the two is the height. One is 12 inches and the other is 10 inches tall.

Cut a piece of vinyl to the height you want, and the circumference of the wire frame you choose.  So for example, I cut mine 12 x 31.42 inches.

Next, cut your fabric slightly larger. I added 5/8 inch on all sides. Iron your fabric if you need to, and then spray the vinyl with the adhesive per the instructions on the bottle. Immediately lay it sticky side down onto the back of the fabric. Weigh it down with something heavy to make sure it adheres evenly.

vinyl and fabric pieces

Roll the double-sided tape around the edges of the round wire frames, and then peel off the backing.

double sided tape around wire frame

Line them up on the vinyl side of the dried fabric/vinyl piece, and roll them together so the fabric sticks to the tape, but stop just before going all the way around.

roll vinyl fabric onto wire frames

Place a strip of double sided tape on the edge of the vinyl and fold the end of the fabric on top. Then add another strip of tape on top of the folded fabric edge and finish rolling.

tape the side fabric hem

Press and tuck the top and bottom edges of the fabric around the wire frames. You can use a thin, flexible tool, such as a credit card, but I found it easier to use my fingernails.

tuck edges under wire frame

We bought some funky cloth-covered cord and hung them up in the kitchen to brighten up the butcher block and back door.

finished lamp shades and funky cloth cord

lamp shades hung and off

finished lamp shade turned on

finished lamp shade turned on

They would also look good as replacements for any of the living room lamps. When you make your own shades, you can match anything you want!

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