How to Make a Punch Tin Lamp Shade

By Karren Doll Tolliver

Punched tin is a good material to use for lampshades and candle holders. Light will shine through the holes, highlighting the punched design. You can make a lampshade using a punched-tin pattern. The tools and materials needed for this project are readily available at craft centers or online.

Cut the tin sheet to the size of the lampshade you want to make. Make a paper template first by fitting a piece of paper around the lampshade form and cutting it to the size you want the shade to be. Then use the paper as a pattern for the tin. Put on gloves before cutting the tin. Make the tin slightly larger than the shade form, so you can overlap the edges to secure it to the shade once it is done. Sand the edges with the sandpaper to avoid cutting yourself.

Draw your desired design on what will be the inside of the lampshade. You can use paper patterns for this step as well. Plan your design in advance; it is what people will notice most about the shade.

Place several layers of old newspaper on a sturdy table. Place the tin, drawing side up, on the newspapers. They will keep the tin from sliding on the table and will prevent you from punching holes in your tabletop.

Punch holes in the tin at regular intervals along the lines you drew. Position the point of the awl or ice pick on the line, tap it with the hammer to secure its position on the metal, then tap harder to make the hole. Holes should be of a uniform size and evenly spaced to look the best.

Bend the edges around the lampshade frame wire, and cinch it with pliers. Burnish the folds around the wire form to give it a more finished look.

Tip

Find tin sheeting at jewelry-maker supply centers or craft stores.

You can find punches that remove round, heart-shaped or other patterns of holes from the tin at craft centers or some hardware stores.

You can also use this technique on copper sheeting or even on disposable aluminum baking pans.

Warning

The edges of metal sheeting are very sharp. Always wear protective gloves when working with it, and keep children away from your work area.

About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.