How to Make a Hanging Lampshade

A hanging lamp shade personalized to fit your decor is a do-it-yourself project.

Drum Lamp

Customize a hanging lamp shade to fit your decor.Customize a hanging lamp shade to fit your decor.
You probably already have many of the required materials around your home and can purchase the remainder from a local lighting or discount department store. Transform an inexpensive drum shade, originally designed for a floor or table lamp, into a contemporary lighting accessory to hang above your dining table. Or fashion your own shade in the shape and size of your choosing using white glue and ordinary cotton string.

Purchase a suitably sized drum lamp shade at a local lighting or discount department store. A light-colored, smooth-surfaced shade is best.

Arrange decorative elements such as ribbon, buttons, or thematic shapes cut from decorative paper, cloth or wallpaper.

Attach the paper shapes to the shade with white glue. Use hot glue to attach ribbon, buttons, cloth or other heavier decorations.

Cover the decorated shade with a light coating of podge, a clear surface treatment available from a local craft or hardware store. Allow the shade to dry overnight.

Attach the shade to a pendant light fixture using the light bulb socket set and the threaded ring that comes with this type of lamp. The drum shade will have a crosswire to hold it just above the lightbulb after you tighten the threaded ring.

Variable Shaped Hanging Lamps

Inflate a balloon to the size and shape desired for the shade.

Mix three parts white glue with one part water in a plastic tray. Saturate white cotton string with the glue mixture.

Wrap the wet string around the balloon both vertically and horizontally over and over to create a solid shape. Leave a light bulb-sized hole at the top and bottom of the structure.

Affix a length of fishing line through the top of the structure and tie the other end to a clothes hanger. Hang the assembly on a bathroom curtain rod to dry overnight.

Pop the balloon to free the stringed shape. Push a thin wire across the top the edges of the shade's perimeter hole and twist it closed with needle-nosed pliers. Hang the shade on the crosspiece of wire attached to the tightening ring that comes with the light bulb socket set.

Things You Will Need

  • Drum shade -- plain and smooth surfaced
  • Scissors
  • Decorative paper
  • Designer cloth
  • Wallpaper
  • Podge
  • Ribbon
  • Glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Balloon
  • Bristol board
  • Plastic tray
  • White cotton string
  • Wax paper
  • White glue
  • Thin wire
  • Needle nosed pliers
  • Fishing line
  • Pendant light fixture

Tip

  • Instead of using a balloon for a lamp shade shape, create different shapes, such as a cylinder or a cone, using rolled bristol board as a base for the glued string wrap. Place wax paper over the bristol board before applying the string. Allow to dry overnight. Then peel away the bristol board and wax paper to free the stringed shape.

About the Author

Kevin Ann Reinhart, a retired teacher-librarian, has written professionally since 1976. Reinhart first published in "Writers' Undercover" Cambridge Writers Collective II. She has a bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from the University of Waterloo and a librarian specialist certificate from Queen's University and the University of Toronto.