DIY Lampshade Paper

Written by megan shoop
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DIY Lampshade Paper
Update conventional lamps with homemade paper shades. (lampshade image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from Fotolia.com)

When your decor needs an update, you don't always need to redecorate an entire room. Instead, try replacing tired window dressing or refreshing your lamps. New lighting can refresh your decor instantly with just a little paint and some new lampshades. You don't even need to purchase the shades. You can make your own lampshade paper with a few simple tools and some fancy folding. With just a few dollars and a little creativity, you can lighten up your room by making old lamps new again.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Coarse, heavyweight paper about 14 inches by 22 inches
  • Rubber stamps
  • Ink stamp pad
  • Watercolour markers
  • Fire-retardant spray
  • Double-stick tape

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Lay your paper on a flat, clean surface. Stamp it with rubber stamps in a loose, random pattern. Try not to cluster your chosen shapes together. There should be a lot of space between stamps. Appropriate stamps include leaves and flowers, fruits, postage stamps, celestial bodies, Asian alphabet characters and whorled geometric designs. Choose a few stamps of different styles and sizes in the same category.

  2. 2

    Let the ink dry for about 10 minutes. Colour in your shapes with watercolour markers. Use light pressure and simply sweep the markers back and forth over the shapes. You may also leave some of the shapes blank if you prefer. Blank shapes look best when stamped in a colour like red, blue, green or purple. Try to pick a colour scheme, like fall leaves, and stick to it in your colouring.

  3. 3

    Spray the front of the sheet with fire-retardant spray, holding the bottle 6 inches above the paper. Move the spray can horizontally over the paper. Let the spray dry for 10 minutes and repeat in a vertical pattern. After 10 more minutes, spray the blank side of the paper the same way.

  4. 4

    Flip the paper up so you can see your pattern. Grip the lower left corner and bring it up to the right side of the top edge. The short, left side of the paper should be in line with the top edge of the paper. Crease the paper sharply, making a long crease. Fold the bottom right corner up so it creates a point on the bottom of the paper. Crease the paper sharply, making a small crease and unfold it.

  5. 5

    Fold the lower right corner up to create a long crease and fold the lower left corner to create a short crease. Repeat with the upper corners, creating a long and short crease in each corner. You should have creases that create a large double X in the centre of the paper.

  6. 6

    Fold each corner up to the centre of the paper in turn. This should create a repeating diamond pattern in your paper. Fold the top edge of the paper down, bisecting the first row of diamonds horizontally through the middle. Crease sharply and continue folding the paper accordion style, bisecting each row of diamonds in turn.

  7. 7

    Unfold your paper and bend it into a cylinder. Match the creases up on the edges of the paper and tape one edge down to the other with double-stick tape. Use the paper over an electric candle or narrow lamp.

Tips and warnings

  • Add another layer of protection to your paper by pressing a thin layer of clear styrene over the inner side. Styrene comes in rolls and applies just like contact paper.
  • Use medium weight paper if using styrene to make the paper easier to fold.
  • Try folding your paper in a simple horizontal accordion instead of creating the square pattern. The accordion pattern will look like a Chinese lantern with a modern twist.

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