Upcycled lampshades…

I have to ‘fess up. This post is a bit of a cheat. I have copied and pasted it from my old blog, and I made these lampshades a little while back.

In my defence, they were made entirely using stuff we already had, so nothing new was bought, and I have been struck down with some horrible lurgy for a week, so needed an easy post!

We have two nice lamp bases in our room inherited from my Nana, but I’ve struggled to find any shades that I like.

I’ve seen lots of great shades on Pinterest (where else!) like this one, on Craft Gossip, and this one, made with old maps, and decided to give it a go.

Here is what you need:

  • lampshade(s) to cover-it’s easiest to do this on the cone or drum types rather than an old fashioned curvy one
  • map of your choice-we had a road map of Southern Ireland from when we went on honeymoon, and I thought it would be really nice to use this
  • newspaper/scrap paper to have a practice on
  • pen/pencil to mark out the shape with
  • glue gun


This is what you do:

Step 1

Most modern lampshades are made without traditional metal frames all the way around the edge and the shade material is part of the structure itself, so don’t do what I did the first time I tried this and try to take it apart-it won’t work! You just need to cover what is already there.

Lay out your newspaper/scrap paper. Line your shade up on the paper-I did this with the seam next to the paper, and then roll the shade around 360C (until the seam is touching the paper again) tracing the arc of the top edge of the shade with your pen/pencil.

Repeat for the lower edge of the shade.

If you have a cone shade like mine, you should end up with a shape a bit like this:


Add about 2cm to the top and bottom and to one side to allow you some overlap. Cut this out, and check that it fits around your shade! (I’m very impressed with myself that it occurred to me to do this stage, and not go rushing in like I usually do, and potentially ruin my map!)

Step 2

Use this as a template to draw around on your map, positioning it where you want it, if there is specific area you want to have on your shade. Cut out.


Step 3

Apply a line of glue along the seam on your shade and stick down one edge of  your  map. You have to work quite quickly as the glue hardens in seconds, so have it all worked out where you want if first-I did several ‘test-wraps’ before I glued!

Wrap the map around the shade and see where the end comes. Make sure you have enough overlap at the top and the bottom all the way around. You may need to neaten up the edge at the other (as yet unstuck) end. Then apply a line of glue, and stick this down.

Then start gluing the bottom edge-I applied about 5cm of glue at a time, as it hardens so quickly. Apply the glue, and then fold down the edge and press it to the inner side of the shade-I managed to burn my fingers several times doing this-there must be an easier way, but I haven’t figured it out yet, so watch your fingers! Work your way around the whole lower edge, then repeat for the top edge.

It should then look something like this..


Step 4

Put your shade back on your base and admire!



Footnote: We have the new type of energy saving lightbulb in our lamps, so they don’t get that hot. I’m not sure how fire-proof these would be with a traditional type lightbulb. (Takes off fire safety marshall hat)

2 thoughts on “Upcycled lampshades…

  1. We’ve just had a massive loft clearout so we could put insulation down. In amongst the crap we found some old maps from when my husband lived in Holland. I’ve been looking for a craft for them and now I’ve got an idea

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