How to Make Lampshades With Mardi Gras Beads

Christmas beads image by Neelrad from

If you have recently cleaned out your old college memory box or your children's costume jewellery stash, you probably have piles of cheap plastic Mardi Gras beads lying around.

Instead of adding your beads to a landfill, use them for a decorating project that will liven up your living room and let you recycle the beads and an old lampshade. Arrange your beads into patterns before melting to create a unique lampshade that will reflect colours all over your room as the light shines through.

Preheat your oven to 260 degrees Celsius.

Cover the entire surface of a baking tray with aluminium foil.

Arrange the beads in a single layer in the desired pattern and shape. A rectangle will wrap nicely around a cylindrical lampshade.

Put the tray with beads into the oven and bake until beads are melted. Beads will melt at different rates, so check frequently. Once approximately half the beads are starting to melt, turn the tray 82.2 degrees C to help beads melt evenly. (Use oven gloves or protective gloves to do so.) Turn your oven down to 177 degrees Celsius if beads seem to be melting too quickly or unevenly.

Use oven gloves or protective gloves to remove beads from oven after all beads are melted. Add more beads to any holes in the melted tray if necessary and return to oven until melted.

Remove beads from oven.

Remove sheet of melted beads from tray with aluminium foil still attached. Be sure to wear protective gloves or oven gloves as beads will be hot.

Wrap beads around an old lampshade, bottle or bowl to form desired shape of finished lampshape, pressing ends together to form a seam. The aluminium foil side should be facing out.

Peel off foil backing and let the bead lampshade cool completely.

Remove old lampshade from lamp armature (the metal arms that hold up the lamp shade) and set old lampshade aside.

Glue lamp armature into the Mardi Gras bead lampshade using heat-safe glue, such as two-part epoxy. Let dry.

Place new lampshade over lamp, screw in light bulb, plug in lamp and enjoy your new lampshade.