How to Make a Wood Veneer Lamp Shade

Written by kevin ann reinhart
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How to Make a Wood Veneer Lamp Shade
A lamp base with potential can be given new life with a wood veneer shade. (lamp near a comfortable chair image by Matthew Antonino from

An old lamp base may have potential as an accent piece in your home or office, but may lack an appropriate shade to enhance your decor. A new shade made from wood veneer may be just the subtle touch needed to bring warmth and life into your space. Veneers are thin sheets of real wood, available in many wood types and colours. Finding the appropriate veneer to complement your room is as easy as determining what wood finishes you have on your existing furniture. Any store dealing with wood products will have an associate who can identify your wood and supply the appropriate veneer needed to create a beautiful, do-it-yourself lampshade.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Camera
  • Lamp base
  • Measuring tape
  • Old lampshade
  • Scissors
  • 2 embroidery hoops (with a circumference that will fit the top and bottom dimensions of your new shade)
  • Clear epoxy
  • Bristol board
  • Metal ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Foam brush
  • Wood glue
  • Masking tape

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  1. 1

    Take a picture of your lamp base in the room where the lamp will be placed.

  2. 2

    Measure the overall height of your lamp, as well as the distance from the top of the existing lampshade to the shade's bottom.

  3. 3

    Take your photo, lamp base and current shade to your wood products store to match wood veneer to your lamp base and room decor, and to select a piece of veneer large enough to make a replacement shade.

  1. 1

    Cut the top ring off your old lampshade.This is part of the lampshade's skeleton that contains the crosspieces and centre hole that allow the shade to sit on the base of the lamp. Remove any parts of the old shade that may be clinging to the ring.

  2. 2

    Run a bead of clear epoxy around the outside of the ring.

  3. 3

    Attach the smaller of the embroidery hoops to the outside of the ring. Allow the epoxy to dry.

  4. 4

    Wrap Bristol board around the embroidery hoop, including a 1-inch overlap.

  5. 5

    Cut the Bristol board to the shade height determined in Section 1, Step 2 and the width determined in Section 2, Step 4. This cut piece will provide a template for cutting your veneer.

  1. 1

    Cut your veneer to size with a utility knife, using your piece of Bristol board as a guide.

  2. 2

    Apply wood glue to the area of overlap and the outside of each embroidery hoop using your foam brush.

  3. 3

    Wrap the veneer around both hoops and press down lightly along the seam.

  4. 4

    Place long pieces of masking tape along the outside seam to secure the veneer.

  5. 5

    Apply wood glue along the inside seam using your finger. Allow the shade to dry overnight.

  6. 6

    Remove the masking tape slowly and gently to avoid damaging the veneer.

  7. 7

    Screw a 40 watt bulb into your lamp base. Attach your newly created shade. You now have a new look for your old lamp.

Tips and warnings

  • Embroidery hoops and clear epoxy are available at most craft or fabric stores.
  • Wood glue and wood veneer are available at most wood product stores.
  • Thrift shops are a good source for old lamps and shades.
  • Never use a bulb exceeding 40 watts with a veneer shade. A 60 watt bulb or higher could burn the veneer or cause a fire.
  • Remove wood glue quickly with a dampened cloth if it spreads to an unwanted area.

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