Cool Ideas to Make Lamp Shades at Home From Paper & Fabric

by Helen Harvey
It can be satisfying to make your own unique lamp shade.

It can be satisfying to make your own unique lamp shade.

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It is not always easy to find a lamp shade that coordinates with a specific theme or room in the home. You can solve this problem by making your own. Simply recycle the frame of an old lamp shade and add your own style elements to give it a new lease of life. If you do not have any spare lamp shades at home to repurpose, you can usually find old lamp shades for a dollar or two at local thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales. Alternatively, you can by a lamp shade kit at a home improvement store. You can even get your kids involved by having them decorate shades for their bedrooms. When removing the existing covering from a lampshade, try to keep it intact, since it can be used as a template for your new shade.

Fabric Shades

You can make lamp shades to coordinate with, or match other fabrics in a room, such as drapes or bedding. Lay your fabric face down on a flat surface and, using the old shade as a template, draw around it. Cut the fabric, allowing yourself a half-inch seam allowance, around the edges. Glue the fabric to the shade, using a hot glue gun.

Ribbon Shades

Reels of fabric ribbon of varying widths can be used to make pretty shades. Glue one end of the ribbon to the top of the frame, and then start wrapping the ribbon around the frame from top to bottom, in one direction, until you are back at your starting point.

Fabric Flowers

Make fabric flowers in colors that contrast with the room. You can use felt, ribbons, silk and organza to make the flowers. Simply glue them to a paper shade, until the shade is no longer visible and you have a floral masterpiece to give your room a pretty pop of color.

Vellum and Parchment

Vellum and parchment are ideal for lamp shades since they give off a soft, warm light. Cut the shapes for your shades, and then use novelty hole and edge punches, which are available at craft stores, to punch designs into the paper. You can even use a conventional hole punch to punch random dots on a lampshade. Dried flowers and leaves can also be applied to vellum and parchment shades to make a Victorian-era country shade.

Paper Cocktail Umbrellas

Purchase a supply of multicolored paper cocktail umbrellas. Open each umbrella and cut of the wooden stem off each one, so that all that is left is the opened shade. Glue these to a paper shade, overlapping the edges, until the shade is completely covered. These can look stunning on a large paper globe lamp shade and make a kitschy but cute addition to a teen girl's room.


Wallpaper, fashion magazines, comic books, baseball cards, photos, gift wrap and even old maps can be cut up and applied to a paper shade to make a very personalized shade. An aviator or mariner you know will appreciate a lamp shade made from a navigational map particularly, if you can find one, featuring a location of special significance to him.


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