How to Make a Lampshade

Originally posted 2015-02-23 08:00:31.

Create a Custom Lampshade Any Size and to Match Your Decor

Let’s be honest… Lampshades are crazy expensive and the styles are so limited. Can you believe with just a few supplies you can make your own in any size and to match your decor for a fraction of the cost of shades from the store? It is true! I’ve made a couple of them and am now terribly addicted! How about I show you how to make a lampshade? For this example, we are making a drum shade…

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Featured


  • Lamp Rings – diameter of the finished shade
  • Pressure Sensitive Styrene
  • Fabric Glue such as Fabri-Tac (<– affiliate link!)
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Small Binder Clips

Let me explain a bit about the parts, first. Please note that I am not affiliated in any way with any of the merchants I mention in this post. I love them, and have had a great experience purchasing through them!

The lamp rings were purchased from Texas Lamp Parts. This is such a great company as they have a wide variety of lamp making parts, reasonable shipping rates, and they ship very quickly! The lamp rings are what help create the shape of the shade so pick any size you want the finished shade to be. You will also need a lamps shade spider – this is a ring with three legs connecting to a smaller ring which rests on the top post of the harp.

The Pressure Sensitive Styrene is the material of which the shade is made. It is the plasticky stuff on the inside of the shade and features a pressure sensitive adhesive to hold fabric or paper securely in place. I purchased mine from Etsy. At the time I am writing this, there is only one seller with the styrene for sale.

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Supplies

Step One

Determine the diameter of the shade. The shade I made is 10″ in diameter, so I purchased a lamp shade ring and a lamps shade spider at 10″.

Cut a piece of the styrene to fit around the ring. An easy way to determine the length is to multiply the shade diameter (in my case, 10″) by 3.14 (pi). Round up to the nearest whole number (for me, 32) and add 1″ for the overlap (33″ total). The height of the styrene will be the same as the finished height of the lamp shade. My styrene piece measures 10″ x 33″. (The piece of styrene in the photo is just a scrap piece and not the actual piece I used!)

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Styrene

Step Two

Cut the fabric to adhere to the styrene. The fabric will be the same length as the styrene but will be 1″ more in height. My piece of fabric measures 11″ x 33″.

Remove the backing from the styrene and center the fabric on it with 1/2″ at each side.

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Fabric

Step Three

Place one of the rings at one of the long edges of the styrene and fold the excess fabric over the ring, securing the fold in place with one of the binder clips. Continue all the way around the ring overlapping the ends. Trim, if necessary.

Continue with the other ring.

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Clip & Ring

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Clips Bottom

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Clips Top

Step Four

Apply glue where the styrene overlaps and let it dry. Fabri-Tac dries quickly (and clear!) and is an excellent choice for lamp shades, though any fabric glue works well! (I used a different brand of fabric glue for this project.)

Once the seam is dry, remove the clips a few at a time and apply a bead of glue under the ring directly on the styrene, then fold the fabric back over and replace the binder clips. Remove clips and apply glue to small sections at a time.

Let the glue dry overnight.

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Glue

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Fold Over

Can you believe that is all there is to it?? I was so excited when I made my first lamp shade to fit a lamp I repainted for my daughter’s room…

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Daughter

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Finished One

How to Make a Lamp Shade_Finished Two

I love making my own lamp shades and find it to be much cheaper in the long run! The supplies are really inexpensive and I love being able to create a lamp shade to fit MY style! Have any questions about how to make a lamp shade? Leave a comment below!

Sharing with: Fluster’s Creative Muster, H2O Bungalow DIY Sunday Showcase


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