Supplies for Lamp Shade Making

By Erin Maurer
Create custom lamp shades at home from a wire frame, cover material and decorative items.

Making lamp shades at home lets you customize the shades to fit your personal taste and d├ęcor. Designing lamp shades requires three basic supplies: wire frames, lamp shade paper or fabric and decorative items. Lamp shades that reflect a particular era or have a contemporary design are crafted from the same basic supplies.

Wire Frames

In order to begin making a lamp shade, you must find a wire lamp shade frame. These frames may be purchased at a lamp shade or lamp-making supply store. Crafters may also recycle the wire frame from the inside of on old lamp shade. Some common shapes of the wire lamp shade frames include hexagon, round, square, Victorian, oval, rectangle and triangle, according to the Lamp Shop website.

Lamp Shade Paper or Fabric

Wire lamp shade frames are most commonly covered with lamp shade paper or fabric. Lamp-making supply stores typically sell lamp shade paper by the roll, yard and sheet. According to the Lamp Shop website, lamp shade paper comes in three thicknesses. The proper weight of paper used should be determined by the width of the wire frame. For a shade with a bottom diameter of 4 to 8 inches, use a light or medium to heavy weight paper. Cover frames with diameters greater than 11 inches with a heavyweight lamp shade paper. Laminated fabrics, such as shantung on styrene, also work well for covering wire frames.

Decorative Items

In addition to the basic frame and a covering material, many lamp shades include decorative items like fringes and finials. These items add an extra touch to lamp shades. Use beaded fringe to help give a lamp shade a decorative, Victorian flair. Finals are metal, charm-like items added to the top of a lamp shade. Often, these items add an antique feel to a newly crafted lamp shade, according to the Antique Lamp Supply website. In addition, lamp shades can be trimmed with ribbon, painted with stencils and adorned with stands of beads or garlands.