Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

DIY: Pleated Lampshades (With Embroidered Surprises), Budget Edition

Search

DIY: Pleated Lampshades (With Embroidered Surprises), Budget Edition

August 24, 2023

This week we’re revisiting some of the most popular DIY stories from our archives. Read on for end-of-summer project inspiration:

For a long while I’ve been eyeing knife-pleated lampshades, wanting a couple of my own. Then I realized I could make one myself with a thrifted shade, a swath of fabric, and not much else. Total cost? About $12.

Here’s how.

Photography by Mel Walbridge for Remodelista.

Supplies

DIY Pleated Lampshades With Embroidered Surprises Budget Edition portrait 7 17
Above: Gather supplies.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Lampshade (I found several at Goodwill for $2 each; it’s okay if they’re a little blemished.)
  • Fabric, plain or patterned (a mid-weight fabric that isn’t too thin but also folds well works best; I used simple cotton.)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Needle and thread or fabric glue (I used Bish’s Original Tear Mender, a US-made instant adhesive; note that this is best for dark and patterned fabrics only, as I learned it shows through light fabrics after a while.)
  • Optional: spray starch or homemade starch (1 tablespoon flour mixed with 1 cup cold water) and paintbrush
  • Yard stick or ruler
  • Clip
  • Straightener or clothes iron

1. Measure the fabric.

start by measuring the amount of fabric you&#8\2\17;ll need. you&#8\2\1 18
Above: Start by measuring the amount of fabric you’ll need. You’ll need a long strip, at least 3-4 times the diameter of the bottom of the lampshade. Make sure the fabric is about two inches taller than the lampshade top to bottom, too—enough for a one-inch hem on both edges and a little bit of overhang.

2. Hem the edges.

Above: Starting on one side of your long strip of fabric, run a line of fabric glue and press neatly to “hem”, using a ruler or any patterning as a guide. If you are a purist and/or a more patient person than I am, you can stitch this instead. Repeat on all four edges.

3. Coat with starch (optional).

here&#8\2\17;s an optional step to give your lampshade a little extra stiff 21
Above: Here’s an optional step to give your lampshade a little extra stiffness: Spray the fabric with laundry starch, or paint it lightly with homemade starch. If you’re going the starch route, proceed to step four (accordion fold and clip), then let dry completely in its folded state before step five (ironing).

4. Accordion-fold, an inch at a time.

here&#8\2\17;s the slightly finicky part of the process: accordion folding. 22
Above: Here’s the slightly finicky part of the process: accordion folding. Using the yard stick as a guide, fold the fabric in even pleats (I did one-inch pleats). Go slowly and evenly, being careful that the pleats don’t get gradually larger the further down the fabric you go. Secure with a clip.

5. Iron the creases.

with the fabric still clipped, iron the creases, front and back. you&#8\2\1 23
Above: With the fabric still clipped, iron the creases, front and back. You’re going for sharp pleats—the crisper the better. Move or remove the clip, as needed, to get underneath. I am an adult who doesn’t own an iron, but I actually found a narrow hair straightener worked well since I could get into the narrow pleats with precision. If you have an iron, by all means use it, being careful not to get your fingers.
you should have something that looks like this. for a little wink, add an embro 24
Above: You should have something that looks like this. For a little wink, add an embroidered detail or two. I went with our initials.

6. Wrap the cloth around the lampshade.

like so. you&#8\2\17;re getting a sense of how it will fall. 25
Above: Like so. You’re getting a sense of how it will fall.

7. Match and glue the seams.

find the two ends of the fabric and match them together, then glue. you may nee 26
Above: Find the two ends of the fabric and match them together, then glue. You may need to leave this to dry, clipped, if you’re using regular fabric glue. If you went the sewing route for the hems, you can slip off the fabric at this point, stitch the ends together, and then re-drape over the shade.

8. Adhere pleats to the top.

Above: To evenly affix the fabric to the top of the lampshade, imagine the top of the lampshade is a clock. Take one inward-facing pleat (where the fabric points in towards the lampshade) at 12:00, add dot of glue or adhesive to the underside of it, just below the hem, then stick it to the top rim of the lampshade, holding in place as needed. Repeat on the inward-facing pleat at 6:00, directly across the lampshade, counting first to make sure there are an even number of pleats on each side. Repeat with the inward-facing pleats at 3:00 and 9:00, continuing on until each inward-facing pleat is glued and evenly spaced around the top of the lampshade.

The Finished Product

the finished shade in my living room. the lamp base was a lucky stoop find when 29
Above: The finished shade in my living room. The lamp base was a lucky stoop find when I lived in New York. My partner made the low coffee table.
Above: I like the way the initials peek out.
another version by our entryway; for this one, i used a patterned fabric scrap  32
Above: Another version by our entryway; for this one, I used a patterned fabric scrap I love.

For more DIYs, see:

N.B.: This story is an update; it originally ran on April 17, 2023.

(Visited 11,923 times, 7 visits today)
You need to login or register to view and manage your bookmarks.

Frequently asked questions

What is a pleated lampshade?

A pleated lampshade is a lampshade that has folds or creases known as pleats. These pleats add texture and visual interest to the lampshade.

Can I make my own pleated lampshade?

Yes, you can create your own pleated lampshade using the instructions provided in the post. It is a DIY project that allows you to customize the lampshade to your liking.

What materials do I need to make a pleated lampshade?

To make a pleated lampshade, you will need fabric, lampshade rings, a lampshade frame, adhesive, scissors, a ruler, and a pencil. The specific materials and measurements are detailed in the post.

Is sewing required for making a pleated lampshade?

No, sewing is not required for making a pleated lampshade following the instructions provided in the post. The fabric is attached to the lampshade rings using adhesive, eliminating the need for sewing.

Can I use any fabric for making a pleated lampshade?

You can use a variety of fabrics for making a pleated lampshade, but lighter fabrics with some stiffness tend to work best. Fabrics like linen, cotton, or lightweight upholstery fabric are often recommended.

Are pleated lampshades difficult to make?

The difficulty level of making a pleated lampshade can vary depending on your crafting skills and experience. However, the instructions provided in the post are detailed and should be easy to follow for most DIY enthusiasts.

Can I customize the size of the pleated lampshade?

Yes, you can customize the size of the pleated lampshade by adjusting the measurements and proportions of the fabric and lampshade rings. The post provides guidance on how to calculate these measurements.

Are pleated lampshades suitable for all lamp types?

Pleated lampshades can be used with various lamp types, including table lamps, floor lamps, and pendant lights. However, it is important to ensure that the lampshade frame and rings match the size and shape of the lamp you intend to use.

Can I wash or clean a pleated lampshade?

The cleaning method for pleated lampshades depends on the fabric used. Some fabrics may be spot-cleaned, while others may require professional cleaning. It is recommended to refer to the care instructions for the specific fabric used.

Where can I find additional inspiration for pleated lampshades?

You can find additional inspiration for pleated lampshades by exploring home decor magazines, websites, or platforms like Pinterest. They often feature various styles and designs to help you discover unique ideas.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0