How to Make a Wax Paper Lamp Shade

Updated February 21, 2017

Paper shades allow soft light to penetrate a room. Wax paper is the ideal paper material to make paper lamp shades from as the paper is designed to withstand high oven temperatures. This basic design for an ethnic-inspired lampshade can be modified to suit any decor. Use different coloured paints, tassels, and thread to compliment your individual style or to wrap as the perfect gift.

Measure your lamp shade frame to get an approximate idea of how much wax paper to paint. For example, if your frame is four sided, 12-by-12 inches, you will need a sheet of wax paper 4 feet long and 1 foot wide. You do not need to cut the paper at this stage.

Paint a design on the wax paper with the sponge brush and paint. Use evenly spaced sponged dots, swirls of dots, or a geometric pattern (squares, circles, or zigzags). Let the paint dry completely.

Mount the paper onto the frame. Carefully fold the paper edges over the frame, hot gluing the edge of the paper to the top and bottom of the frame. Trim the paper to size.

Carefully stitch the sides of the wax paper to the frame with an embroidery needle and thread. This will create a decorative edge at all four corners. Tie off, and trim the edges of the thread.

Attach the tassels to the bottom corners of the frame with hot glue.

Spray with an even coat of fire retardant spray in a well ventilated area.


Pull the thread gently through the wax paper; tight stitches will rip the paper.


Although wax paper can withstand fairly high oven temperatures, it is not fire retardant. Make sure to spray it with fire retardant spray.

Things You'll Need

  • Wax paper
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Square lamp shade frame
  • Ruler
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Small sponge brush
  • Embroidery needle
  • Brown floss
  • Brown tassels
  • Fire retardant spray
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About the Author

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.