DIY: How to Make Lantern Style Lamp Shades

Updated November 21, 2016

Instead of purchasing a new lampshade or simply tossing a dated lamp, try transforming your lighting with a paper lantern lampshade. Though commercial paper lamps can cost quite a bit, you can fold a lantern shade in less than an hour to give your lamp new life. Your kids can even get in on the action by choosing colourful paper for their own lamps.

Spray both sides of your paper with fire retardant spray. Allow the paper to dry for an hour between coats and make sure you get both sides of the paper. Vellum, parchment, butcher paper and brown paper all work well.

Grip the lower left corner of the paper and fold it up toward the upper right of the top edge. Press down on the fold to crease it, making sure to bisect the upper left corner exactly. Fold the lower right corner up so it meets the rightmost edge of your first fold. Crease this fold sharply, also.

Fold both corners of the paper down. Fold the lower right corner up toward the upper left half of the top edge. Crease the paper, bisecting the upper right corner exactly. Fold the lower left corner up to meet the left edge of the right fold.

Turn the paper 180 degrees and fold the left and right corners as before. Continue this pattern until your paper is marked by an even grid of diamond shapes.

Bend the paper into a wide cylinder, overlapping the edges by about ½ inch. Glue the edges to secure. Let the shade dry overnight.


Try using vintage-style maps, tea-dyed paper, coloured rice paper or several layers of coloured tissue paper for your shades. After folding, punch some shapes in strategic points in the shade. Try butterflies, hearts, moons or stars at the points of the diamonds. Line the inside of the shade with coloured parchment or tissue paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavyweight paper: 10 inches by 18 inches, 14 inches by 22 inches, or 18 inches by 26 inches
  • Fire retardant spray
  • Glue
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