Meet the Maker: Heather Wood from Red Door Shades

April 07, 2015

Meet the Maker: Heather Wood from Red Door Shades

 

 

We’re delighted to not only help hobbyist crafters and makers learn how to make their own lighting but help everyday people turn pro with their DIY Lighting endeavors too!

Heather Wood from Red Door Shades had a hunch that she might enjoy lampshade making, so she ordered one of our DIY Lampshade Making Supplies to give it a try. A few months later, Heather has launched an online business selling her handmade creations! We were lucky enough to catch up and find out a bit more about her journey.

  

Tell me about how you got into the business - what made you think about making lamps and lighting products as a business? 

 

I had several basic builder grade light fixtures in my kitchen and dining room and I was on a DIY mission to make them more beautiful. I found a great tutorial to make drum shades using giant quilting hoops. Boy it was a lot of work, but they turned out great. Then I realized there was no way to hang them. A few fishing hooks and some fishing line solved that problem, but it always bugged me that after all my efforts, the shades still looked DIY. That is when I dug into the world of lamp shade making and found the lampshade making kit on your site.  I told myself if it was easy to do and I had fun making the shade, then I would move forward with starting a shade business.

 

How are you currently selling your products?

 

 I spent several weeks getting my Etsy shop up and running and didn’t open it until every shade I created was listed. I did this because I use my Etsy site like my own personal website to share my work with shops and designers as I approach them.  I sent personal e-mails to 6 décor and design shops in my local area and sent additional e-mails to the designers who worked at those shops.  Out of those e-mails, two shops responded that they were interested in my shades and would like to meet in person.

 

Tell me about how you collaborate with other makers and why that's important to you.

 

 

 

Seahorse print lampshade home decor sea ocean theme with gold, metallic accent. High quality, artistic lampshades hand-made in the USA by Red Door Shades. Each lampshade is unique and made only for you.

I am collaborating with a number of companies, which makes my designs even more original. The quest for fabric that is on trend, yet one-of-a-kind, and also feels rich, led me to learn more about the art of screen printing. That is when I found two textile designers who hand-make prints for their handbags and scarves they sell in their Etsy shops.

I also found a wonderful vinyl decal designer on Etsy who turns any image I send to her, into a vinyl decal that I can iron onto the fabric that goes on a shade. 

All the collaborations help with advertising as well, because we cross post our work on social media.

  

What tips & tricks do you have for beginners regarding lampshade-making techniques?

  

  • Set up a nice kit of glue, double sided tape, bullnose clips, the fabric tucking tool, scissors, a rotary cutter and measuring tape, so it is within reach when you are creating your shades.
  • When ironing your fabric, be sure your iron has no water in it if it has a steam function.  If by chance the iron has rusted inside, the rust will come out onto your fabric when the steam loosens it up.  Instead, keep a bottle of water next to the iron.
  • Fabrics that fray after cutting, like linen or thin cotton, work best if you smooth a “fray stop” glue along the edges before or after cutting.
  • If you have pets, be sure to wipe off both sides of your polystyrene before peeling off the tape or the pet hair will be drawn right to the sticky side!
  • I like to affix the polystyrene onto the fabric and smooth it out first, then cut the fabric with a rotary cutter lined up against a large ruler to get a straight edge.  I’ve found that a ½ inch of fabric on each of the long sides and one of the short sides of the polystyrene, is just the right amount for tucking into the shade rings.
  • Line the edge of the polystyrene so it is flush with the wire ring.  This makes the shade stronger and ensures the color of the ring does not show through your fabric.

 

Wow - such great practical tips from Heather. And we love the fact that she's collaborating with other small-scale Makers to create unique lampshades for her customers. You can purchase Red Door Lampshades and Finials on Etsy.

Thank you, Heather for sharing your journey with us - as well as some inspiration for unique lampshade designs!

 Are you interested in building a business around your love of lampshades? Check out our Professional Lampshade Makers e-course which teaches you how to get started selling your lampshades online (and offline), advanced techniques, finding suppliers, and how to market your products. 

 

 

 

 

Meet The Shade Maker: Heather Wood