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DIY Pleated Lamp Shade: How-To

I love rooms that have long been associated with the nostalgic romanticism of Victorian England. I have never met a chintz or a Laura Ashley fabric that I didn't love. Along with the beautiful fabrics that are the trademark of the English style, are the exquisite finishing touches like the currently popular, pleated fabric lampshade.

While pleated lamp shades have been around for a long time, I think I first saw them in a Laura Ashley brick and mortar store back in the 1980's, they are currently one of the most trendy home decor accessories on the market. I have several in my home that I have purchased, but when we gave our kitchen a makeover, I really wanted the shades to be made out of the Schumacher fabric I was incorporating, so I decided to give the process a "whirl" myself.

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • Lamp shade of your choosing

  • Light weight fabric

  • Fabric Glue

  • Iron

  • Brown Craft Paper

  • Scissors

  • Sewing machine (although you could just glue the pleats into place)

  • Pencil for tracing

  • Measuring tape

  • Piece of Cardboard

  • Closepins

Custom Shade Instructions:

  1. Make a pattern for your shade. You will need your craft paper, scissors and of course your shade. This is the shade that I used from Wal-Mart.

Roll the shade while tracing the lower and upper edges. Cut out your pattern.

2. Use your pattern to cut your fabric.

I ended up cutting two pieces as I knew I would need the extra length for the pleats. With pleats, you can always assume you will need double the fabric, at the very least.

So I'm going to digress a bit and show you the mock shade that I made before I cut the Schumacher fabric. You can see where I sewed the pleats into place, only because I love to sew.

3. With right sides together, sew or glue your two pieces of fabric together.

4. Cut a piece of cardboard the width of your desired pleat and head to the ironing board.

When it comes to pleating, I think the easiest way is to use a piece of cardboard as your folding guide.

5. Using your guide, fold, pin, and press your pleats into place.

6. IF you so desire, with a machine, stitch the pleats into place. Again, not totally necessary IF you have you pleats ironed and pinned really well into place.

7. Using clothespins and fabric glue, wrap and attach the pleated fabric to the shade.

8. Once the fabric is secure to the shade, make your bias tape, and attach to bottom and top of shade with fabric glue and clothespins. Let dry.

A couple of additional notes. Drum shades are the easiest as their top and bottom circumference is close, if not the exact the same.

You do not have to sew to achieve this look.

I will be recovering 2 more shades in the near future so stay tuned.

IF you attempt my tutorial and you get frustrated, PLEASE call me #903-821-1110.....while my words may not transfer into perfect instructions, I feel like I could talk you through it!!!

As always, thank you for stopping by. I hope this post encourages you to try a custom pleated lamp shade.

I hope this Holiday Monday is a great start to your week!!



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1 Comment

Tina Patel
Tina Patel
Sep 06, 2021

One of these days i am gonna show up on your doorstep bc i want to see your lovely kitchen and home!

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