How to Make Your Own Lamp Shades

Updated February 21, 2017

Lamp shades can add just the right finishing touch to your home's decor. They can match or add contrast to the colours and textures of your room or add a touch of whimsy to a child's room. The choices are endless and limited only by your imagination. Lamp shades come in many shapes. A drum shade has the same measurement top and bottom. A Chinese Coolie shade (shown in Figure 1) is larger at the bottom than the top. Creating a shade like this will take little time and few materials.

Using a large piece of paper, newspaper or butcher's paper, wrap the paper around the lamp shade frame. Trim on an angle to the top, leaving 1 inch for overlap and 1 inch at the top and bottom. The pattern will resemble a cone.

Flatten the pattern out and lay it on your fabric. Cut around the pattern. Pin the fabric together and test fit. Fabric should lie smoothly over the frame. Sew a seam from the smallest part of of the cone to the bottom. Test for fit. Press the seam gently.

Glue the fabric to the top and bottom of the shade frame. Trim the excess fabric even with the top and bottom of the shade frame.

Glue flat braid trim around the top and bottom of the lamp shade, tucking ends under. This covers the raw edges and gives your shade a neat finished appearance.


If a solid-colour fabric was chosen, you can glue buttons, bows or appliques to add more embellishment to your lamp shades. Butterfly appliques on a light pink shade add a nice touch for a little girl's room.


Use caution with hot glue guns. It's easy to get burnt.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Lamp shade frame (craft stores or recycled)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Straight pins
  • Flat braid trim
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About the Author

Myra Smith has retired from the business world after successfully working as a manager in the accounting field over twenty years. Smith received her education in Texas (high school) and Missouri (University of Missouri) business courses offered by employer. Smith has now embarked on an exciting second career as a writer for Demand Studios. Smith writes articles in the Home and Garden section.