Instructions for making lampshades

The Steps

1. Cut your lampshade paper template

2. Laminate your fabric to your lampshade paper

3. Bind your rings with cotton tape

4. Peg your rings to your laminated lampshade paper

5. Roll your edges 

6. Glue your seam

You have made a lampshade ;-)

Here is a time-lapse video showing the process of making a lampshade. 

Step 1 - Cut your lampshade paper template

All drum shaped lampshades use a rectangular template. Here are some basic measurements you can work from:

To work out your own templates work out the circumference of your rings and add 3cm to ensure the seam overlaps. Circumference = 3.14 x Diameter.

If you are attempting an empire shaped shade (where the top ring is smaller than the base ring) you'll need to cut your template on an arc. If you are mathematically minded have a look at this method by Math Central. Or, if you have an existing lampshade and you want to replicate it trace the existing template by either rolling and tracing the shade, or gently pull it apart, lay it flat and trace it. 

Step 2 - Laminate your fabric to your lampshade paper

Lay your fabric right side down on a clean flat surface. Lay your lampshade paper, gridline side down, on top of your fabric - ensure at least a 1.5cm excess border of fabric along the top and bottom edges of your lampshade paper. Place a weight on one end to keep it in place. 

Roll back one end of the release paper, press down your lampshade paper onto your fabric, continue to remove more release paper, press and smooth as you go. 

When done, flip your lampshade paper over, and smooth on the fabric side to ensure no bubbles or creases. 

Flip back over. Measure 1.5cm excess fabric along the top and bottom of your template. Trim. 

Now your seams - one end is your outside seam - measure a 0.5cm excess of fabric, trim then fold over and glue down onto your lampshade paper. The other end is your inside seam. Gently unstick a couple of centimetres of fabric and trim your fabric so it is a couple of millimetres shorter than your lampshade paper. 

Step 3 - Bind your rings with cotton tape

Bind your fitted and plain rings with cotton tape. Glue one end of your tape to your ring. Wind the tape around the ring on a long angle, the whole way around, keeping it tight and not quite overlapping, the more angle you have the better. When you reach the other end, trim the tape to size and add another dab of glue to the end and glue it to the ring, just overlapping the beginning of the tape. Repeat on the other ring.

Step 4 - Peg your rings to your laminated lampshade paper

Line up the edges of your rings exactly with the edges of your lampshade paper, peg into place - leaving the excess fabric poking out. 

Step 5 - Roll your edges 

Roll your edges starting opposite the seam and always working towards the seam. Once you finish to the inside seam, go back to where you began and work towards the outside seam. Stop gluing 2cm before the end of the outside seam. This is much easier to explain in a video...

 Step 6 - Glue your seam

Run some glue along your shade between the inside and outside seams. Let it go a bit tacky, then press it down and ensure the little ends meet up with the ends underneath. Pop a ruler over the seam and peg into place for a couple of minutes to ensure a flat smooth seam finish. 

After a couple of minutes remove the ruler then finish off your 2cm rolled edges all the way to the end of the outside seams. Then you're done! You're a lampshade maker! Hooray!

Full Instructions

For full colour detailed instructions with photos for each step, download this printable version:


Or you might like to try our fun and simple Lampshade Making Kits

Happy lampshade making! 

1 comment

  • Do you have a website or templates to help make conical lampshades ? Any suggestions would be appreciated.


    Sally Sheehan

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