How to Make a Rawhide Lamp Shade

Written by jessica reed
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How to Make a Rawhide Lamp Shade
Rawhide lamp shades can be unexpectedly stylish accents. (Simple Lamp with cloth lampshade in bedroom image by nextrecord from

Bring a little rustic charm into your home by creating a rawhide lamp shade for your favourite lamp. The neutral colour of rawhide matches any colour scheme and the surface provides a tactile texture that sets it apart from common shades. When soaked, rawhide becomes flexible and will stretch over any lamp shade frame. Create a custom pattern for the shade material to allow it to work with any lamp in your home, no matter what the shape.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape
  • Tracing paper
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Poster board
  • Rawhide
  • Large container
  • Cutting mat
  • Metal clips
  • Leather hole punch
  • Needle
  • Leather or decorative string

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  1. 1

    Tape a piece of tracing paper or newspaper around the wire frame of the lamp shade you want to cover. Mark the position of the top, bottom and sides of the wire frame on the paper with a permanent marker, adding about 1/2 inch to each measurement along the top and bottom edges--the hide will be folded over the frame and sewn in place.

  2. 2

    Remove the paper and cut out the pattern shape you created in Step 1. Cut a straight, vertical line up one section of the lamp shade. This will become the seam that holds the lamp shade in place, so position it strategically on the shade.

  3. 3

    Lay the pattern out flat on a piece of poster board and trace around it. Cut the template out from your poster board and set it aside.

  4. 4

    Soak a large piece of rawhide in your bathtub, sink or other large container until it becomes soft and flexible. Wring it out and lay it down on a plastic or rubber cutting mat. Place the poster board template over the rawhide and secure it in place with metal clips.

  5. 5

    Cut out the design from the piece of rawhide and punch holes with a leather hole punch along the left and right edges where you will seam the material together. Wrap the rawhide around the wire lamp shade frame and secure again with the metal clips.

  6. 6

    Fold the rawhide 1/2 inch over the top rim and sew it in place using a whipstitch. Use a thick needle for sewing. Repeat for the lower rim. Lace a thin piece of leather or decorative string through the holes you punched along the vertical seam and tie at the top to hold the lamp shade in place on the wire frame.

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