How to make plastic lamp shades

Plastic sheeting comes in all shapes, colours, sizes, thicknesses, textures and flexibilities. To fit plastic to a lampshade frame, select a transparent and flexible plastic sheet that can be cut and glued. Create a cut plastic shade by using cutable craft plastic decorated with glass paints. Draw designs on each piece of plastic that will look like jewels or stained glass once you glue them to a lamp shade frame.

Select a lamp shade with straight sides that will be easy to cut and shape in plastic. Make sure the lamp shade is large enough to be at least 1-inch from any light bulb. Cut a paper pattern of the sides. The pattern should follow the metal frame on four sides.

Trace your pattern onto cuttable craft plastic. Use glass paints, stains and pens to draw designs, colours, patterns, shapes, names or anything you like onto the plastic. Cut out your plastic panels.

Apply white glue around the edges of the frame and press the plastic panels into place. Use clothes pins like clamps to hold the panels to the frame until the glue dries.

Cut cloth tape in a coordinating colour and tape your vertical sections first. Tape the outside and the inside over the wire. Cut tape and centre it over the top wire and fit the tape over the plastic wire and plastic so that it has a nice finished edge. You will need to trim around any protruding framing with scissors. Tape the bottom edge the same way. Add more trims if you wish.


You can add plastic beaded fringe along the bottom edge by stringing beads and knotting the strings to the inside of the shade. Choose transparent faceted beads for the most sparkle.

Things You'll Need

  • Lamp shade frame
  • Paper pattern
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Cuttable craft plastic
  • Glass paints, stains, pens
  • White glue
  • Clothespins
  • Cloth tape
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About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.