Lampshades: the Pattern

Related tags: ,
Lampshades: the Pattern

Lampshades may be made in any size or shape, color or trim. Scrapbooking card stock makes a good base for the shade itself. This material may be shaped, printed, slit or anything else you might wish to do with a paper. Make sure that the paper that you are using is “archival” so that heat, light and time will not greatly affect it. The following tutorials contain directions for making patterns for various shade shapes. Some patterns are included, but you will probably want to adjust the size to your own needs. (Also available as a pdf document.)

Some thoughts before starting:

  • I have found it helpful to work out the pattern on paper first and then cut the pattern out of acetate for a permanent pattern or template for tracing. Don’t forget to allow for the thickness of the lead pencil around the shape to keep the size that you want – or cut inside the traced line.
  • To make several or more of the exact same lampshade in size and shape – Make one paper pattern with darkened edges and use the clone or multiple on one sheet option on the copier to print a sheet full of the shades on the chosen paper / card. Print on the back side, so that any lines left will not show on the outside of the shade.
  • After you have made your pattern, go to the tutorial Making Lampshades to put your lampshade together.
  • There will be patterns for:

    1.Cylinder type shades
    2.Cone shaped
    5.Curved side shapes

    Materials needed:

    Scrap paper
    Paper / cardstock for your shade
    Clear acetate sheet – JAR/JAF R-53
    Trim for the shade – if desired



    Material for the shade:

    Thanks to the scrapbooking industry, there are many wonderful types of paper available for making the shades. You will find that most of the textured and patterned ones work best in one inch scale. The texture is usually too heavy for a quarter inch scale shade.

    There are some papers that look like raw silk – these make wonderfully rich looking shades.

    Parchment paper looks like a parchment shade. I have used a tiny brown pen to put stitching on a rustic shade.

    Some papers have embedments in them – if small enough, these will work well.

    You cannot use papers with a decided grain or stripe on the cone shaped shade. Because the pattern is in a curved shape, the pattern may start out parallel to one end and is lying horizontal by the time you get to the next end – and of course they will not line up!

    You can print patterns from fabric onto card stock, using a copier or a scanner. Using these machines you can also reduce the pattern to the appropriate size. Just remember directional patterns or stripes will not work on the cone shaped shade. Print the design on the right side pf the paper first, then print your cut-outs on the back side.

    If your paper has enough body, you can cut designs in it. Floral and leaf designs were very popular in the 1950’s using this method and outlining the cuts with watercolor or ink.

    © 2010 Judith Oak Andraka – –