Create a template. Trace your lampshade on craft paper, by holding a pencil against the ring and rolling the lampshade across the paper. Do this for the top and bottom of the shade. This will create a paper template.
Cut out the fabric. Add a half inch all around the top and bottom lines of the paper template to provide a fabric allowance to fold over the rings. Add 1 half inch to one of the sides of the template arc, and trim the other flush. Pin the template to your fabric and cut out.
Use Spray Adhesive to adhere the fabric to the lampshade. It works best to spray the reverse of the fabric, lay it on a flat surface, and then roll the shade onto it. Start with the existing 'seam' on the finished shade, and roll the lampshade over the sticky fabric till you get to the other end. Fold over the overhanging fabric you created with the 1" side allowance, to create a neat finish.
- From here, use the same method to assemble your lampshade as the general directions for our DIY Drum Lampshade Kits - you can watch a video on how to make a drum lampshade here. Since the lampshade is already assembled, you may find it difficult to push the overhanging fabric up behind the rings to create a 'rolled edge' finish. If that is the case, you can either just glue the overhanging fabric over the rings without rolling the edge, or trim the fabric flush to the shade and use 100% cotton grosgrain ribbon (5/8" works best) to cover the lampshade rings.
Another elegant solution is to cover a lampshade with decorative paper or wallpaper (via Minted).
3. Use the Magic Power of Math!
What if you know what shape you want your lampshade to be, but don't have an existing shade to trace from? Well, it's time to bring back high school math! This method is not for the faint of heart (or at least C-grade math students like me!), and uses some geometry formulas can help you determine your arc shape.
You'll need to know your target top diameter, bottom diameter, and height, in order to run these calculations. See this article which some clever mathematicians wrote about Using Math to Design Lampshades
for an in-depth mathematical description. You can then use an App like Big Print
to print out a properly scaled, flat version of your shade arc. Want to start making your own? Learn more about our DIY Lampshade Making Supplies
(including a video demo!). Or if you just want to purchase Adhesive Styrene
, you can do so in pre-cut lengths.