DIY: Pleated Lampshades (With Embroidered Surprises), Budget Edition

For a long while I’ve been eyeing knife-pleated lampshades, wanting a couple of my own. Then I realized I could make one myself with a thrifted shades, a swath of fabric, and not much else. Total cost? About $12 a shade.

Here’s how.

Photography by Mel Walbridge for Remodelista.


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Above: Gather supplies.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Lampshade (I found several at Goodwill for $2 each; it’s okay if they’re a little blemished.)
  • Fabric, plain or patterned (a mid-weight fabric that isn’t too thin but also folds well works best; I used simple cotton.)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Needle and thread or fabric glue (I used Bish’s Original Tear Mender, a US-made instant adhesive; note that this is best for dark and patterned fabrics only, as I learned it shows through light fabrics after a while.)
  • Optional: spray starch or homemade starch (1 tablespoon flour mixed with 1 cup cold water) and paintbrush
  • Yard stick or ruler
  • Clip
  • Straightener or clothes iron

1. Measure the fabric.

start by measuring the amount of fabric you’ll need. you&#821 10
Above: Start by measuring the amount of fabric you’ll need. You’ll need a long strip, at least 3-4 times the diameter of the bottom of the lampshade. Make sure the fabric is about two inches taller than the lampshade top to bottom, too—enough for a one-inch hem on both edges and a little bit of overhang.

2. Hem the edges.