Instructions for Lampshade Frames

When you have an idea in mind for a lampshade and just can't find it in any store, consider creating your own using a wire lampshade frame and fabric. Wire frames of all shapes and sizes are available just for this purpose. Or for an eco- and budget-friendly alternative, cut the fabric off an old, unwanted lampshade to leave you with just the wire frame. The easiest frames to cover, and the best options for beginners, are drum-shaped frames, which you can cover using glue. Frames made up of panels are a little trickier to cover and require some sewing.

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If you can't find a lampshade you like in a store, make your own.

Gluing Method

Step 1

Roll your lampshade frame over a sheet of newspaper and trace around the upper and lower rims with a pencil. Draw a 1-inch margin around the entire outline of the shade, and cut this paper template out with scissors.

Step 2

Iron the fabric, place your paper template down on the wrong side and trace around it with a pencil. Cut the fabric shape out, fold one of its side edges over to the wrong side by 1 inch and press the fold with your iron.

Step 3

Lay newspaper over your work surface, put the wire lampshade frame down on the newspaper, then spray it all over with spray adhesive.

Step 4

Wrap your fabric around the lampshade frame so that there is a 1-inch margin of fabric above the upper rim and below the lower rim. The folded over side edge should be on the outside of the shade, covering the raw fabric edge underneath and forming a vertical seam. Apply a line of hot glue to the under layer of this seam and press the folded edge down with your fingers.

Step 5

Apply dots of hot glue along the inside of the upper wire rim and press the upper margin of fabric down onto it. Apply binder clips around the wire rim and fabric to hold the hem while the glue dries. Repeat this for the lower wire rim.

Sewing Method

Step 6

Hold a piece of newspaper up against one of the panels of the wire lampshade frame and trace the shape of the panel with a pencil. Draw 1/2-inch margins along the sides of the shape and 1-inch margins at the top and bottom, then cut out the template.

Step 7

Use your paper template to cut out as many fabric panels as needed for your lampshade. If your fabric is patterned, make sure the pattern direction is identical for each panel. Cut the fabric panels out.

Step 8

Thread your sewing machine and sew all the fabric panels together at the side seams, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance. You should have a continuous loop of seamed panels. Press the seams open with an iron.

Step 9

Apply hot glue along each wire section of the lampshade frame and wrap the wire with seam tape. Work one section at a time until the whole frame is covered in seam tape.

Step 10

Slide your fabric panel loop over the frame and adjust it so that the seams between the panels lie along the vertical wire spokes. Tug the fabric into place so that it is taut and there are approximately 1-inch margins of fabric above the upper rim and below the lower rim of the frame.

Step 11

Adjust the seam allowances on the inside of the shade so that they wrap around the spokes. Thread a needle and stitch the seam allowances to the seam tape wrapped around the wire spokes.

Step 12

Fold the upper margin of fabric around the upper wire rim so that it is taut, and either glue it to the rim and hold it in place with binder clips, or use a needle and thread to stitch it to the seam tape around the rim. Repeat for the lower rim.