How to create your own lamp shade with parchment paper

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to create your own lamp shade with parchment paper
Parchment lamp shade on standard spider frame. (lamp image by TEA from Fotolia.com)

Lamp shades are often made of semi-transparent papers. These papers diffuse the light but allow a rich, warm glow to light surrounding surfaces. One of the most common papers used is a mottled parchment. This paper is often oiled to make the surface more durable. When a favoured lamp shade becomes damaged, strip off the old paper and replace it. You will be surprised at how simple the process really is.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Lamp shade frame
  • Arc pattern
  • Oiled parchment paper
  • Hot glue
  • Bulldog clips
  • Paper parchment tape
  • Scissors

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Select a simple cone shaped lampshade frame for your first shade covering. This frame will have a smaller circle-shaped ring with ribs extending to an even smaller washer-like circle. This is called a spider frame and it is quite common.

  2. 2

    Download a free arc pattern from the Internet. Place the pattern under your lamp shade paper and trace out the arc. This arc should fit around the frame with a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) overlap at the seam.

  3. 3

    Cut out your parchment shade with scissors. Dry fit the parchment to the frame and make any small trims that are necessary. Clamp the parchment to the frame at the top and bottom using bull clamps. Make sure you position the seam over a side rib. The parchment should be held tight to the frame at top, bottom and sides.

  4. 4

    Lift the edge of the paper where it overlaps and apply a bead of hot glue between the top and bottom papers. Press the papers together for a tight and strong seam. Glue the parchment to the top and bottom frame by running the hot glue between the clamps, letting the glue dry, removing the clamps and running hot glue where the clamps used to be.

  5. 5

    Apply paper edging tape along the top outside edge of the shade. Half of the tape should be on the outside of the shade. Make small V-shaped cuts along the tape as you pull it over to the inside of the frame. Cut around the spider frames. Fit your tape carefully. Stop and start at your overlap seam. Repeat along the bottom edge.

Tips and warnings

  • Silhouettes in dark colour paper can be glued to the inside of the shade for unique or theme-style shades. You can add beads and trims along the top and bottom edges with a glue gun.

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