Make: No-Sew Fabric Light Shade {Tutorial}

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oh, was I tired of my paper lantern. I have had this one for about 5 years and I have been wanting to replace it for about 4 of those years. I finally broke down this weekend, desperately looking about my house to see if I could make a new light shade to hang in its place. I had an idea to use fabric (I have tons of scraps!) but I needed a frame. Just when I was about to give up I took out my garbage and spied my tomato-plant-cage-thing. And a few hours later I had a crafty new shade! The best part? This tutorial requires no sewing at all!

Now if you have an old lamp shade you could probably use that. Or, if like me, you have a tomato wire cage hanging around...

 Now you can start the fun part!

Cut lengths of fabric to tie onto your frame. I cut the blue-grey fabric 2x as long as the other pieces so I could lay them over the top of the wire, wrap around the back and tie in front. 

Like this: 

Until it looked like this:

And if you like this look you can stop here. I actually like just the few strands of fabric on the metal frame. But I wanted to keep going. 

For my other pieces of fabric I cut them long enough just to place over the front side of the frame and then I simply tied it in the back (instead of the front) so that it created a flat panel of fabric. I did so until it looked like this:

Then I decided to keep going a little further and tried a little trim on it...

The trim is easily attached with a glue gun. Just run a little glue at the base and lay your trim on top, very slightly overlapping the two ends in the back. Don't want to commit to the trim? Pull it around taunt and pin it in the back. 

Here they are all lit up!

I went ahead and kept the orange trim but I think I really do like it best with just the few pieces of fabric on it. That look kind of has a modern farm house feel to it that I am feeling into -and that route would certainly be less time consuming! But the options for putting your own variations on this idea are pretty endless. Using ribbon or bias tape would be a good idea if you wanted smooth edges and to eliminate the time consuming process of cutting fabric strips. Get Crafty!

My new crafty crafting light. (The art in the background is via)


  1. I LOVE it! I love the idea of re-using things in new ways to make things like this that add colour and character to a room or whole house.
    (I saw on Pinterest one day that someone had upcycled an old globe and turned that into two light shades and have been thinking about that for a while now:).
    Such a great idea - thanks for sharing!
    Kristina :)

  2. How fun! So creative...wanna come to my house to help with a few projects? Kidding of course. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. What a cool idea and it's great to see you used recycled materials, an added bonus for sure.

  4. Wow! You are so creative. Who would have thought scraps can be put together to be this beautiful? You are awesome! :)


  5. Fantastic idea! I want to try this!


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