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Design Your Own Lampshade

Design Your Own Lampshade
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I have often wondered if a rumor in the crafting world were true– that it’s simple to create your own lampshade with a few simple craft supplies.  Typically I favor crafts that use recycled materials but I came across this inexpensive lamp last week and decided I would finally give this project a try.  And I discovered it IS easy!!

In essence you can design your own lampshade with two items– a plain white lampshade and Sharpie markers.  You can draw any image or pattern you like.  I have seen creative designs ranging from faux stained glass to patterns, as well as favorite quotes or lyrics.  The sky is the limit when it comes to designing your lamp.

Lampshade decorated with Sharpie marker
Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Lampshade decorated with Sharpie marker

However, if you want to create a lampshade exactly like I did, then you will also need a printer OR an image cut from a book.  I wanted to use an image of  Alice from Alice in Wonderland onto mine so I used one from a book of images.  However, you can also do an online search for the image you would like to use and print it out.

I also experimented with some other supplies including decorative beaded ribbon.

Materials to Make Lampshade:

  • Lamp with plain white lampshade
  • Black Sharpie markers- one fine tipped and one broad tipped
  • Black and white image from Alice in Wonderland (or other image of your choice)
  • Black decorative beaded ribbon
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
Lampshade decorated with Sharpie marker
Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Lampshade decorated with Sharpie marker

Directions to Make Lampshade:

  • Cut out the image you are using and tape it to the inside of the lampshade with the ink side facing the lampshade.  
  • Turn the lamp on.  The light will make your image easier to see.
  • Trace the image with your Sharpie markers.  You will be drawing on the actual lampshade.
  • When tracing is complete make sure to remove the paper image from the inside of the lamp.
  • Color a black strip along the top of the shade.
  • Use hot glue to apply a strip of beaded decorative ribbon to the bottom rim of the shade.

If you feel like taking the project one step forward you can add stripes to your lamp base using black electrical tape.  The tape creates smooth clean lines around the lamp.

Completed lampshade
Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Completed lampshade

Want another custom lampshade idea? Make a lampshade using postcards.

Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling. Don't miss her latest book, How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature
Updated Monday, August 12th, 2013
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