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How to make lamp shades

Create bespoke decor for your home by learning how to make professionally finished drum lampshades
4.8 (14 ratings)
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430 students enrolled
Last updated 7/2013
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  • 44 mins on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
By the end of the course you will be able to make rolled-edge fabric covered drum lampshades
Learn techniques from a professional lampshade maker
Learn which fabrics to avoid when making lampshades
Learn how to decide on lampshade sizes
Learn how to make the very best of your fabric
Find out where to buy lampshade making supplies
View Curriculum
  • Lampshade making supplies can be purchased via
  • 0.5m of your favourite fabric - light to medium weight cottons are best to start with
  • Pencil
  • General purpose scissors
  • Fabric scissors (optional)
  • Ruler/fabric tape measure
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Water spray

Why settle for shop-bought lampshades that 'just do' when you can make lampshades that reflect your style and compliment your home at a fraction of the cost? In this 44-minute video, you'll learn a professional lampshade-maker's top tips for making your own beautiful and bespoke lampshades. By the end of this easygoing and step-by-step guide, you'll be ready to fill your home with lampshades you love, made by you!

Who is the target audience?
  • Suitable for adults and children (14+)
  • No experience necessary
  • If you are creative and/or crafty or want to save money on bespoke home decor
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 16 Lectures Collapse All 16 Lectures 44:17
About this video
1 Lecture 01:30

Looking at drum lampshades and the tools and equipment you'll need to make them. Lampshade making supplies can be purchased from Quincy Lampshades (see Section 14: Buying supplies).

You'll need:

  • A minimum of 0.5m fabric of your choice (light to medium-weight cottons are best, such as quilting cottons or decor weight fabric) (see Section 2: Fabric - How much you'll need and which fabrics to avoid)
  • A pair of general purpose scissors
  • A pair of fabric scissors (if available - not completely necessary)
  • Pencil
  • Fabric tape measure or ruler
  • Pencil
  • Ringset
  • 3mm, 9mm and 12mm double sided sticky tape
  • White backed self adhesive PVC
  • Iron
  • Iron board
  • Water spray
Preview 01:30
1 Lecture 01:15

Not all fabrics are suitable for lampshade making; here we look at which fabrics to avoid. Light to medium-weight cottons are a good choice to start with. Your fabric needs to be at least 6cm wider than your PVC panel on every side.

Preview 01:15
Lampshade sizes
1 Lecture 03:14

Looking at things to consider when deciding what size lampshade to make; including minimum heights on ceiling pendants, suitable diameters for different sized rooms, keeping in mind your ceiling heights, getting a good balance between your base and your lampshade, and making the best of your fabric design.

Preview 03:14
1 Lecture 01:01

Ringsets provide the skeleton structure of each lampshade. Same-circumference ringsets are used to make drum-shaped lampshades. Each ringset has two parts; one plain ring, and one ring with spokes plus light fitting. Ringsets are available in different diameters.

UK ringsets: have a uno threaded light fitting. This type of ringset is included in lampshade making packs for UK customers.

US ringsets: have a 1/2inch inner diameter washer/spider fitting with a 1/2inch drop. This type of ringset is included in lampshade making packs for US customers.

What a ringset is
PVC - How to work out the length and width needed
1 Lecture 04:07

A panel of self adhesive PVC is the basis of your lampshade; smooth on one side, the fabric is stuck to the other (sticky/adhesive) side. It's important to cut a panel which is the exact length needed for the diameter lampshade you have chosen to make (see the downloadable file available in this section). The width of the panel is the height you've chosen your lampshade to be.

US makers: in the US, PVC is called styrene and is supplied in US lampshade making packs. Please note that styrene does not have a printed grid on the release paper.

How much PVC you'll need and how to cut it
Getting your fabric ready
1 Lecture 01:36

Preparing your fabric goes a long way in getting that professional finish! That means ironing out all the creases and making sure your fabric is completely dry before applying the PVC panel.

Ironing out creases
Applying the PVC
1 Lecture 05:01

Before sticking the PVC panel to your fabric, check over the reverse of your fabric and remove any loose cotton threads and bits and bobs. Place your panel so that the grid release paper is down and the white side is up. Make sure you leave a margin of 4-6cm of fabric around each side of the panel to allow for double sided tape. Get your panel aligned on the fabric before sticking it down: check that you have included all the motifs you want to feature, that the panel is straight and that your favourite part of the pattern is positioned under the middle third of the panel as this will be the front of the lampshade.

When you are happy with the position of your panel, prevent it from moving by putting your forearm and elbow on it. Then peel back 5-10cm of the gird release paper, tucking it away underneath the panel, and stick that first section down on to your fabric. Continue to peel back the remaining grid release paper and smooth over lightly. If you are not happy with the placement of the panel you can peel it off (re-apply the grid release paper) and start again. Once you're happy, turn it over and press the fabric side firmly with your hands to ensure that the fabric has adhered to the PVC.

Applying the PVC panel to the fabric
Applying the double sided tape
1 Lecture 07:04

Three widths of double sided tape is used to do different jobs: 9mm tape is used for the seam, 12mm tape is used for the rolled edges and 3mm tape is used to apply the ringsets. This section shows you how and where to apply each width tape and includes a special tip for getting a good professional finish.

Applying the double sided tape
Cutting out the fabric panel
1 Lecture 02:48

Run your fingers firmly over the double sided tape to make sure it's completely adhered to the fabric and the PVC panel. Then cut away all the excess fabric by cutting the fabric along the edges of the tape and the short edge of the PVC panel.

Cutting out the fabric panel
Ceiling pendant or shade for a base?
1 Lecture 01:45

If your panel has a definite top or bottom because the pattern design is one-directional, you need to apply the ringsets the right way round depending on whether you're making a shade for a base or a ceiling pendant.

UK makers using uno threaded ringsets: if you're making a shade for a base, the spoked ring will be placed at the bottom. If you're making a ceiling pendant, the spoked ring will be placed at the top. The spoked ring will always point into the body of the shade.

US makers using washer/spider fitting ringsets: if you're making a shade for a base, the spoked ring will be placed at the top. The spoked ring will always point into the body of the shade. Click here for more information.

Getting the ringsets the right way round
4 More Sections
About the Instructor
4.8 Average rating
14 Reviews
430 Students
1 Course
Founder & professional lampshade maker at Quincy Lampshades

Quincy Lampshades was founded in 2011 by Ruth McAllister, who, inspired by the brilliance of modern quilting cottons, produces a range of bold and beautiful lampshades. Having discovered that her grandfather was once a lampshade-maker too, Ruth is determined to bring an end to beige and boring lampshades and bring colour, fun and individuality to home lighting at an affordable price.

Ruth is a well-respected teacher of lampshade-making in the UK. She supplies high street retailers and designer homeware businesses.

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