Making Lampshades

Making Lampshades

This tutorial shows a way to construct your lampshade structure at a very reasonable cost. It is adaptable to any size or shape lampshade that you desire. The picture to the right shows a tiny shade on a candle sconce. These tiny shades have also been used on chandeliers in the popular “shades on candles” style of fixture.  (Also available as a PDF document.)


– Clear acetate sheet – JAR/JAF R-53
– 1 eyelet # 631 for each shade or (longer eyelet to raise shade up more. #1589)
– Strong glue that dries clear – such as Weldbond or Ultimate
– Paper / cardstock for your shade
– Trim for the shade (pictured shade has no trim on it)


– 1/8” hole punch
– Scissors
– Sharp point – such as large needle, Diamond reamer
– Clips – R-213

1. Cut out your shade and roll into a cylinder or a cone shape – which ever you prefer. (For patterns see instructions on Making Patterns for Lampshades #1). Glue the sides together by overlapping in a 1/16” seam or less. I use tiny clips to hold it while drying. R-213 are good because they are smooth with no teeth to mar the damp paper.

2. The eyelet 631should be large enough for the candle socket to fit into it. You will slide it over the candle and glue it in place with the rim up.

3. Measure the diameter of the shade about 1/8” above the lower edge.

4. It is important that the center hole of the plastic be directly in the center – so I make a hole and then cut the outside of the plastic around it. It is much easier than trying to put the punch in the center after cutting out the circle. (More to hold onto now).

5. I use a plastic circle template with various size circles to get the exact size of the circle I desire. (Or the circle can be punched if you have a punch of the correct size). The acrylic should fit about 3/32” – 1/8” above the inside lower rim of the shade.

6. Put the template over the acrylic with the punched hole in the very center of the template circle. The template I have has lines at 4 places around the outside of the circle – so I can line the acrylic up with a ruler and the lines – putting the center where the lines cross directly at the center of the 1/8” punched hole on the acrylic sheet.

7. Then take a sharp needle or a diamond point reamer and trace around the edge of the template circle. This gives a deep scratch which you can use to cut along with the scissors. (Tiny Fiskars or small curved scissors are very good for this. Take a fine emery board and rub off any bumps or tiny angles or chips.

8. When it is ready, glue the acrylic inside the shade using a glue like Weldbond or Ultimate. First, run a thin ring of glue at the level that you want the acrylic to sit. Put the acrylic circle in so that it is located evenly from the bottom edge of the shade all around. Then add a second ring of glue on the bottom side of the acrylic against the shade – thus the acrylic has glue on both sides of its edge where it meets the shade.

9. When the glue is dry, you can glue trim on the shade if you have not done it prior to putting the acrylic in.

10. When all the glue is totally dry, slip the shade over the bulb and slide it down the socket to rest on the rim of the eyelet. Put a small bit of glue on the rim only and gently push the acrylic against it.

11. Make sure that the shade is sitting straight and allow it to dry.

12. If you need to take the shade off – put your knife blade between the acetate and the eyelet rim and pop the shade off.

© 2010 Judith Oak Andraka – –