DIY #3: Shepherd Lamp Part 2 (Making A Lamp Shade)

      Sometimes I find lamps that are so stinkin' cute, but their shades are awful. I'd seen many different tutorials online dealing with the creations of new lamp shades. Some people painted their old shades, others reconfigured their entire shade, and some got over-the-top creative with popsicle sticks and grass. But I wanted something traditional, yet unique.
      As I said in the previous post, this lamp will be added to our music room/library. It coordinates with that fabulous brass lamp that I painted cherry red. Our family has a sort of theme song, per se as of late: "Shepherd" by Bethel Worship. We identify too closely with its message and lyrics, and we're pretty sure God sent it to us for this season in our lives. Even when we move on to the next season, we know that this song and this precious time it represents will remain in our hearts forever; what a blessing it all has been! In creating this shade I thought of how appropriate and symbolic to have these particular song lyrics on a light.
      Before we get started, take a look at your nearby lampshade. The inner layer (unless it's cloth) is a type of malleable plastic called styrene. I knew I'd be making a new shade to go with my "new" red-brass lamp, but pulling all of the necessary parts together was getting a tad pricey. I looked at both Lowe's and Home Depot for styrene, but they only carried the industrial strength styrene used in windows and doors. Pinterest directed me to a website that sold it, but my lamp would end up being worth about $50 in the end, and I wasn't up for throwing that kind of money into it. Again, this is where creativity kicks into gear. "Instead of styrene," I thought, "let's try poster board." At .60 a sheet, one can never go wrong with school grade poster board. Here's how I constructed a lamp shade almost from the ground up.

  • Any leftover wire from the previous shade's skeleton
  • 2 poster boards (for 12" shade)
  • hot glue/glue gun
  • spray adhesive
  • 1 yd plain colored canvas material*
  • Sharpie (regular point)*
  • 2 embroidery hoops @ 12" ea
  • 1 wire hanger 
  • scissors 
  • tape measure and ruler
  • wire cutters/pliers
*You can choose whatever fabric you want; for this particular shade, I needed something hefty and thick because I'd be writing directly onto it. If you can, cut a small swatch and test it to make sure it isn't going to move with the marker tip, that it won't bleed and spread, and that you can actually see the ink. There is no call for a Sharpie unless you plan to write on your shade. 

  1. MEASURE/MARK: Everything. Yes. EVERYTHING. I measured my poster, not just for width but for length. Width = diameter of your embroidery hoop or what will be your shade. Length = how long your shade will be. You'll want to make sure your shade is just right: too long and you won't be able to reach your on/off switch; too short and you'll be able to see the innards of the shade. After you measure, trace a cutting line, the cut your poster accordingly. Because I used a 12" hoop, I ran out of poster board width-wise. No problem: just use another poster, or any leftovers, for the remaining dimensions, and glue them together end-to-end. You should end up with one long piece of poster board. 

    Don't forget to trace a guide line for the length of your shade. If you don't, when you roll your shade together the edges will not meet appropriately and your shade simply won't come together . . . like the below photo. 
  2. So sad . . . 

  3. FABRIC: Measure and cut your fabric to match your long poster piece.** IMPORTANT: Leave about 1/2 to 1 inch of fabric overhanging your board. You'll need this later when attaching your hoops!  
  4. Line your fabric evenly over your poster piece and secure it with a paperweight of some kind. 
  5. SPRAY ADHESIVE: Spray 3-4 inches of poster lengthwise at a time, and gently but firmly press and smooth your fabric into place. Just a note: this stuff is STICKY and it dries FAST.  Make sure there are NO air bubbles or loose fabric. As tricky as this part may sound, it was actually one of the easiest steps. Keep in mind that patience is key. 

    Notice the overhanging fabric around the edges. 
  6. HOT GLUE: See the TWO ends of your poster that will come together to form your shade; fold their overhanging fabric and hot glue into place. This will 1. give you a smooth finish to your shade and 2. prepare you for how far over to write your lyrics, poem, Bible verse, etc. 
    Again, take note of the excess fabric around the edges. 
  7. SHARPIE: Unless you never make mistakes, I suggest trying your handwriting skills on the nearby poster/fabric scraps. I wrote out the verse and chorus of my song lyrics that I used to see how much space I'd be utilizing and how big to make my font. Once these details are ciphered, begin writing on your canvas. As you can see below, I had an overabundance of remaining space that I didn't anticipate; I also didn't like how structured the shade was looking. It was was boring and not artsy enough for me at all. Lilli to the rescue! Lilli suggested I fill the empty spaces with my "doodles." You can do whatever you want should you have a blank space. Be creative, or if you like the structured look, don't do anything at all. Lack of "doodles" doesn't equal lack of creativity. 
    If your eyesight is fabulous, please ignore the grammar faux pas/seriously huge brain fart that I will address later.
  8. EMBROIDERY HOOPS: (Three steps)  Separate hoops:
                                                                                Unscrew the embroidery screws and, if purchased from Hobby Lobby, remove label and tape. Now separate. You will only need the inside hoops; I can't figure out how to remove the screws from the outside hoop without splitting the wood, so I just bought two hoops and used the inside hoop that is one solid piece of wood. Plus, I purchased them during a Hobby Lobby 50% off sale, so they only cost about a dollar each. However, if anyone knows how to remedy that screw issue, please share! You will be saving my fellow crafters and me an extra dollar! Hot glue again: (Sorry I don't have photos for the next couple of steps; my phone died and my camera is still packed form the move.) Line up your hoops to the edge of the inside side of your poster board. Remember, you will have overhanging material for this part. Squeeze a 2-3 inch trail of glue directly onto the poster board, starting at the upper and lower corresponding corners of the same end. Roll hoops onto this glued area. Continue gluing like so until you have glued your shade all the way around both hoops. Where both ends meet to form your shade, glue glue them together lengthwise. You will have a gorgeous seam, as seen below in the photo.  
    Overhanging fabric edges: Pull excess fabric edges over embroidery hoop toward the inside of the shade and glue directly onto inside of the hoop. You can do this simultaneously while gluing the hoop to the shade, or you can go back. I recommend going back once you've glued the shade to the hoops due to the concentration it takes to line up those hoops with your shade edges. The last thing you want is a crooked shade. FINALLY! Your shade can now stand on its own.
    Not perfect, but not too shabby for my very first homemade lampshade. In the process I learned to make my edges a little longer so as to completely cover the embroidery hoops. 
  9. WIRE HANGER/WIRE CUTTERS: Now that you have your shade assembled, you'll need to cut three pieces of wire from your hanger, all the same length. This part is a little tricky: one would assume 6" would be all the wire needed. However, I used the remaining skeleton stand from my lamp which will support the shade. These can vary in width which will also cause wire to vary in length from shade to shade. My wire pieces ended up being a little over 7" inches a piece. Measure how much you'll need just from skeleton to shade, but be sure to add an inch or two. You will need this to secure your wire!  
    These photos were taken out of sheer excitement before I went back and adjusted my wires so they look neater and tighter, and aren't quite as visible.  These two photos are also great examples of why you want to leave excess fabric around your poster. I do have a trick to remedy where I went a little "wrong" on my first shade: create your own cord from leftover material and glue it around the inside of the shade over the wood. I'll detail this in a later post. 
  10. PLIERS: Wrap one end of your wire around the skeleton to fasten it tightly into place, making sure its other end meets with your hoop. You'll want to be certain that there is a slight resistance between the hoop and the wire's end to ensure there is no slippage or your shade will crash and burn. Do these steps with all three wires. 
  11. Straighten your shade: this may require some slight bending and finagling. Go with it. Do whatever you have to do to get that puppy straight! 
  12. HOT GLUE: Add just a smidge of glue between each cut wire tip and the shade to affix the final position. 
And voila! You are the proud new owner of a brand new (wink, wink) lamp! Congratulations, crafter extraordinaire! Now plug it up, flip the switch, and go enjoy a book by the light of your creativity. Here are some 360 degree photos of my fantastic creation and its final placement in my work-in-progress-of-a-music-room-library.

My shade is a prime example of why proofreading is important. Even English majors like myself can get carried away and forget what they're doing. As you'll notice in the "seam" photo above, I was able to correct my mistake with the drawing of some hearts. BOOM. 
Yes, that is the infamous $5.89 Queen Anne table I found at the Goodwill. I'll also be posting its DIY. 
I am absolutely loving how God is pulling this room together! And yes, that is a Shakespeare pillow. He and several other homemade pillow cases will be making their debut shortly as well! 


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