How to make your own ceiling lamp

Written by katherine harder
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How to make your own ceiling lamp
Dress up a hanging lighting kit with a drum shade for a DIY ceiling lamp. (light bulb image by sheldon gardner from

Ceiling lamps are a frequent interior decorating problem; they often look dated, clash with other fixtures or decor, or they give off the wrong type of light. Take down your unattractive light fixtures and replace them with a cost-effective light fixture you can make yourself. DIY ceiling lamps take approximately an afternoon for most people to complete, after which you'll have a light fixture that is pre-matched to your room's decor and diffuses light pleasantly.

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Things you need

  • Ceiling fixture for a pendant light
  • Drum lamp shade
  • Beige fabric
  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Low-watt light bulb

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  1. 1

    Pull off the band of fabric around the bottom edge of the drum, keeping the band intact.

  2. 2

    Lay your fabric facedown across a large, flat work surface. Place the bottom of your drum in the centre. Trace around the edge of the shade, creating a 6 mm (1/4 inch) space between the border you're drawing and the drum itself.

  3. 3

    Cut out the circle you just traced. Turn the drum upside-down. Apply fabric glue around the edge of the drum. Turn the drum right-side up again and place it on top of the fabric, attaching the fabric to the glued edge, and centring the drum as perfectly as possible. The fabric will diffuse the light and hide the bulbs from below.

  4. 4

    Glue around the exposed edges of fabric around the drum and then fold the glued border over onto the face of the drum. Trim off any excess fabric. Re-attach the band you previously removed using still more glue and covering the exposed fabric. Allow the glue to completely dry.

  5. 5

    Remove the collar from the top of the pendant fixture and set it aside, leaving only the wire at the top. Stick the entire pendant fixture, without the collar, into the drum shade. Pull the un-collared wire through the hole at the centre of upper metal frame of your drum shade -- where the lamp finial would have attached -- allowing the socket to hang in the very centre of your drum, about a quarter way down from the top of the shade.

  6. 6

    Screw in a low-watt bulb in the fixture's socket. Re-attach the collar at the top of the fixture and wire the fixture as you would any ceiling lamp to complete the project.

Tips and warnings

  • If you can't find a drum shade that fits the style, colours and mood of your room, buy a plain, cheap drum shade, and wrap a measuring tape around it, noting how much length is needed to cover the shade, also measure its height; add a little extra to this measurement to be safe.
  • Cut off the old fabric from the shade and cut out the new, leaving enough extra seam allowance to fold over the metal lamp frame. Pull the new fabric over the lamp frame, wrapping around the frame completely until you reach the fabric again; glue. Wrap the seam allowance over the top and bottom edges, gluing them down to the inside of the frame.

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