Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Doily Lampshade tutorial

I saw a doily lampshade some time ago I haven't had the chance until recently to explore this. A  number of "string shades" have been used which my best friend and I also explored and using a tutorial we found using wall paper paste we built one which proved successful.

 I was really surprised how strong the shade was using wallpaper paste making this lampshade.

Now here in Canada you buy it at the hardware stores premade in a tub and it's going to cost 10-15 bucks.. England however run to the pound shop (poundstretcher was my favorite) you can pick up a bag of the glue flakes for a POUND! which is like a buck fiddy! No fair.. but aaaanyways. It works. 

Due to the sheer gooeyness of the process I didn't get to take photos of the doing so I'll do my best to describe.

For the string lampshade we used my old exercise ball (finally a good use for it!) , but for the doily lamp I decided to use a balloon I had picked up at a dollar store.

Prep work:

We used a bowl to place our ball in to stop it from rolling around while working on it.
DO put a sheet down around your area. Between wallpaper paste and Vaseline you will thank yourself later.
use a bowl to do your submerging into the paste.. it just makes it easier.

This took about an hour between two of us.

1. Vaseline your balloon or exercise ball.

2. Take your doily's and saturate them in the wallpaper paste. Make sure you are leaving an opening where your  lamp parts will go through. We left about a 4 inch hole. I put an extra layer of doilys' around the the hole for extra support.

3. Overlap by about an inch. Don't worry too much about overlapping since the more strength the better.

4. Once your ball is covered let it dry. It took several days for mine to completely dry.. but when it did.. and the balloon popped.. BOY was I excited.
My balloon is more "pendant shaped"

Now for the electrical I picked up the parts and assembled myself one with about 12 feet of cord. I wanted to hang in above my bed so I measured and installed the switch near the bottom of my cord.

We took wire and attached it to either side of the hole we left. I was happy to see how strong the opening was I had put an extra layer there so it was nice and strong. Then in the middle I created a hook or a claw like shape.
just needed a little bit to attach to!

With white electrical tape I created a large "bump" on my cord. 

When combined the bump prevents my cord from sliding anywhere and it makes it easy to remove the light fixture to replace light bulbs   

I hung from my ceiling...

and put another hook so my cord would fall down my wall.

I just LOVE it. 

My cost breakdown

Lamp parts               $20
Wallpaper paste       $15
Doilys                      $15

Total cost                 $50 

IF I had shopped around or had a grandma to borrow some from I could have saved on the cost. I also could have had a friend mail me some paste from England.. I still might. 

In retrospect I think even a cheap lace table cloth could be cut up and used.

How beautiful is it though? I think it's worth it.


  1. The result is amazing. The shadows on the wall are making unique, romantic mood. Great!

  2. ohmygosh, it's BEAUTIFUL! i love it!!!!

  3. What a great idea!!! Thanks for share ^_^

  4. I've had all the items to make this shade for weeks but just not had the time-thanks for sharing and showing your technique x

    1. all you need in an hour or two!! Have fun making it! I can't wait to make more.

  5. hi, i have made 2 shades, a desk lamp shade and a ceiling shade...after finding your site through stumbleupon....and i forgot to use the Vaseline!! they both imploded !! i have managed to push them out and am trying to salvage them :(

  6. dare I say $dollar store doilies?? Sometimes they are all cotton.