Make Your Own Lampshades
Master this traditional method and breathe new life
into a pre-loved lampshade by covering it with some
dazzling new fabric.
Use plain fabric for the outside
and a patterned fabric for
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You Will Need
Start by covering the top and bottom rings of the frame, as
well as two opposite vertical struts, with bias binding or cotton
tape. This is to provide a base to stitch the fabric to. Work out
how much bias binding or tape you need by adding twice the
circumference of the top and bottom rings and four times the
length of one vertical strut. Wind the tape around the top ring
where it meets a vertical strut (choose a vertical strut
next to the gimbal if yours are
positioned this way), overlapping
each twist of tape. Cover the
top ring, then go down the
vertical strut, round the
bottom ring and then finish
off by covering the facing
vertical strut in the same way.
Tie off the ends securely and
finish off with a couple of tiny
stitches to secure.
To work out how much fabric you need, measure one
vertical strut and add 4 in. (10 cm), then measure the
circumference of the bottom ring and add on 5 in. (12.5 cm).
Cut a rectangle of fabric to this size from both the main fabric
and the lining fabric.
Fold your fabric in half, short
edges and right sides together, and
with the straight of grain running
vertically, pin the fabric to half the
frame at the four corners where the
two bound side struts join the top
and bottom rings. Gently stretch
this double layer of fabric to the
sides, and pin it to the two vertical
struts, stretching the fabric taut and
adjusting the pins as you go.
Once your fabric is smooth,
take your tailor’s chalk or soft
pencil and mark along the vertical
struts between the pins, extending
the lines 5⁄8 in. (1.5 cm) beyond the
top and bottom rings. Mark the top
and bottom rings in the same way.
Without removing the fabric from
the frame, tack the two layers of
fabric together 3/4 in. (2 cm)
outside the lines and remove
all the pins.
Remove the fabric from the frame and,
using a sewing machine, stitch down the
vertical tailor’s chalk lines. Trim the
vertical seam allowances to 1/4 in.
(5 mm) but leave at least 11/4 in.
(3 cm) excess outside the top and
bottom (horizontal) chalk lines. Press the
seams open. Make the lining in exactly the
If your frame has a gimbal that joins in two places,
simply unpick the top of the side seams by 3/4 in. (2 cm)
to accommodate the gimbal. If your frame has a
gimbal that joins the frame in more than two places,
turn the shade upside down and drop the lining in,
matching the side seams with the bound struts. With a
pencil or tailor’s chalk, mark on your lining where the
gimbal struts fall, cut 3/4 in. (2 cm) slits, and finish them
off with matching bias binding. Carefully trim away the
excess fabric as close to the stitching as you can.