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Alternative Lamp Shades

Valery Elias

Most lamps come with an existing lamp shade that is may not be attractive or very original. Many items you probably already have around your home can be transformed into alternative lamp shades. Baskets, buckets and even pots can be used for creative lighting fixtures. Look around your home and see what items you can turn into a beautiful lamp shade.

Wicker Wastebasket

Explore alternatives to standard lamp shades.
Revitalize a wicker wastebasket into a lampshade.

Turn a wicker wastebasket upside down and cut out a hole in the center of the bottom with wire cutters. Make the hole big enough to accommodate a socket and cord. This can be used either as a hanging lamp or pendant lamp, or to replace an existing shade on a table lamp. Baskets that are not considered wastebaskets can also be used to fashion a lampshade; remove any handles that are obstructions.


Use a colander for a different lamp shade.

Use an old or new metal colander to create a lampshade. Turn colander upside down and drill into the bottom, making one of the existing holes larger. Use a heavy duty drill with a titanium bit. Fit the socket and cord into the opening and use the colander as a hanging light fixture or use as a lampshade for a table or floor lamp.


Vintage metal buckets can become lamp shades.

Drill a hole in the center of the bottom of an old metal bucket. Use tin snips to make the hole large enough for a cord and socket. Outfit with a cord and socket package and use upside down as a hanging light. Likewise a bucket can be set upright with a light and cord installed; the light will shine toward the ceiling in an up-lit fashion. Remove the metal handle from the bucket for a better visual presentation, regardless of how you configure the bucket.

Vintage wood buckets can be used in much the same manner, by drilling a hole in the bottom center of the bucket and fitting with a cord and socket mechanism.

Clay Pots

Revitalize terra cotta clay pots for a lamp shade.

Terra cotta clay pots have the advantage of a hole already present in the bottom center. This existing hole makes quick work of installing the cord and socket configuration to create a lamp shade. Use small terra cotta pots in this manner to create hanging pendant lights, or small votive lamps turned upright.