Lampshade with Impact!

One of my favourite projects is to recover old lampshades.  By taking off the old shade,  keeping the rings and then using the fabric of your choice, you can make a stunning shade.  I had always wanted to do a really huge lampshade - and when a friend gave me this old lampshade, I decided it could be transformed into a real impact piece.  My friend Amy loved my flamingo design, so together, we worked to upcycle the shade using my flamingo design in satin.

Flamingo Lampshade

Start by taking the old lampshade apart and taking all the tape and glue off the rings.  Obviously, you will need to keep the circumference of the lampshade the same - but you can make it much taller than a standard lampshade - our lampshade ended up being 45cm high. We recovered it in my flamingo fabric in satin - buy it here.   (We only used the bottom half of the panel, it'd be lovely to use the other two sets of flamingos to make some matching cushions.)  If you are using a fabric which is quite thin you may wish to stabilise it with fusable backing.   You need to measure out your lampshade PVC so that it is the same circumference plus 2cm and whatever height you would like.

  Lampshade Making

Construct your lampshade by adhering the lampshade PVC to fabric and attaching the rings with double sided sticky tape.  I buy all my lampshade making products from Needcraft.  If you have never made a lampshade before, I would highly recommend buying one of their kits, as this makes the process really easy. I've written a tutorial on lampshade making, which you can download for free here.  This photograph of Amy and I with the finished lampshade shows the scale of it - it's such a stunning piece!

Flamingo Lampshade

Both of us were absolutely delighted with the flamingo lampshade, and now it sits in Amy's hallway - alongside a framed copy of the original flamingo linocut which the fabric design is based on.  Amy said "it has become the focal point for our hall way, and everybody who sees it comments on it - it's a real talking point."  If you are thinking of making a large-scale lampshade, here are my top 5 tips.

1.  Be brave with your fabric choice - if you are making a large lampshade, choose a bold fabric.

2.  Find an extra pair of hands - it is much easier to assemble a large lampshade if you have someone helping you.

3.  Precise measurements - be very careful to measure everything correctly, and to construct your lampshade so that the rings are exactly at right angles to the PVC.  What you would get away with in a smaller lampshade is much more noticeable in a larger lampshade!

4.  Stabilise your fabric - fabric is much more unwieldy when you are working at this scale.  If you are using a thin fabric like satin, stabilise it using a fusible backing.

5.  Make a large lampshade a centre piece - a large lampshades can act as a focal point for a room, and you can shape the decor and interior design choices around it.  This lampshade looks fantastic in Amy's hallway, as she lives in an old Victorian villa with tall ceilings - a smaller lampshade would be lost in this setting.  

Happy lampshade making!

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