How to Make a Paper Lampshade

A lampshade is one of those seemingly inconsequential additions that you make to your room, which end up becoming the main attraction. This article will give you some ideas on how you can make paper lampshades to further enhance the aesthetics of your home.
CraftCue Staff
chinese paper lamp
A friend of mine had a sudden urge for some instant home decorating. While helping her discard some of her stuff, I came across few old paper lampshade frames. The first thing that struck me was that these frames can be converted into a brilliant piece of art (or at least a decent table accessory). So, we both took it up as a project and the final product was excellent. Given below are the various options you can try to make some gorgeous ones yourself!
Stuff You'll Need
Lamp On Table
  • Lampshade Frame: You can make a lampshade using an existing frame like we did or you can buy a new frame. There are many stores that offer an array of frames. Experiment with the sizes and shapes!
  • Thick Paper: The paper should be thick enough to cover the frame without tearing but not so opaque that the light from the bulb cannot shine through. We used rice paper as it has a translucent effect and glows when the lamp is lit. You can consult a nearby stationer or hardware store on the kind of paper that would be best for your lampshade.
  • Stationery: Get out those stationery pouches filled with the usual: pencils, markers, erasers, scissors, heavy duty glue, etc.
  • Decorative Articles: According to your own individual likings, you can choose the kind of material you want to use to decorate your lampshade. You can select from beads, ribbons, shells, feathers, sharpener shavings, sand, lace, sequins, paints, dried flowers and leaves, small mirrors, candy sticks, small bells, etc.
  • Glue: To make sure that all the above mentioned articles remain firmly glued to the paper, use heavy duty glue that does not smudge or stain. Using a tube of glue with a small opening would be better than a stick as most of the objects to be stuck are rather small.
  • Fireproof Spray: The bulb in the lamp generates considerable amount of heat. Once the lampshade is ready, it needs to be sprayed with fireproof spray so that the paper does not catch fire because of the heat.
How to Make the Lamp
Basic Style
This is the most basic method. Use a stencil to draw out whatever design you want on the paper. If it's a complicated design, it's advisable to practice on simple paper first. Once the design is finalized, draw it on the main paper which you have cut out in the shape of the frame. Paint it using oil paint or fabric paint as they look brighter and more vibrant than water colors. After the paint has dried, stick the paper on the frame with the heavy duty glue. Let it dry for a while and your new paper lampshade is ready to shine!
Bring on the Bling
Take a big sheet of rice paper and cut it out according to the shape of your lampshade frame. Keep the edges a little longer than the frame so that they can be glued easily to it. Draw the design of your choice on the paper. Use sparkling glue to outline the designs and paste mirrors and beads wherever you think necessary. Stick a shiny ribbon or lace on the rim of the lampshade. Allow everything to dry completely and then place it on the frame. Instead of beads and mirrors, you can use any other material that you think will highlight your individuality the best!
Cut it Up
Using a strong and sharp pair of scissors make a wonderful paper cutting design on the paper that you intend to use. You can check out various kirigami designs for it. Keep the wire outline of the frame in mind when you make this design. Once your design is ready stick it carefully around the wire frame and place it on the lamp base. Switch on the bulb and you'll be delighted with the patterned light dancing on your walls!
Personalized Lampshades
Apart from the above mentioned methods, you can also create a personalized masterpiece by trying out some of the following ideas.
  • Cut out a light colored paper in the shape of the frame and have handwritten messages (in different dark colors) from your kids on it. When the lamp lights up, it will look absolutely lovely.
  • Blow up a nice family picture and cut it out in the shape of the lampshade. Paste it onto the frame and place it on the base. Use this in the family room. It is sure to get a lot of compliments!
  • Ask your kids to paint their favorite cartoon and stick glitter on the picture. Stick this picture on the frame.
Ideas You'd Like to Try
red desk paper lamp
paper bed lamp
table paper lampshade
paper lampshade
Lamps brighten up a dull room, and give an elegant ambiance to your room interior. These were some innovative DIY tips for making paper lampshades. You can enhance your home d├ęcor with lampshades to a great extent with these simple ideas! So go ahead, awaken the craftsman in you!
Yellow Red Lamp
tulips shaped paper lamp