DIY Pleated Shade & Thrifted Lamp


When I posted about the pleated lamp trend, I got a lot of mixed reactions. Some of you loved the trend, and others just saw dust catchers (the childhood chore of cleaning them sounded quite traumatic, ha!). Well, I think they are quite cool, but not cool enough to spend $200+ dollars on one. However, I will spend $20 at the craft/thrift store and make one myself! After troubleshooting, my attempt is still far from perfect, but it has potential, and can only get better as I make more. Here’s what I used and what I did!


Fabric – I used cross stitch fabric
Fabric stiffener
Thrifted Lamp 
Rub ‘n Buff –  Gold Leaf
Old makeup brush
Glue Gun
Thick thread/Embroidery floss
Permanent Fabric tape

Spray your material with fabric stiffener. I used cross stitch fabric because it had a nice weight and looked like linen lampshade material. I spayed the whole piece with stiffener and made sure to get edges of the fabric to keep them from fraying.

Let it dry for an hour, or if you are impatient, use a hair dryer to speed up the process. I cut the fabric into strips after spraying on the fabric stiffener, easier to cut! And you can spray more on the cut edges to keep them from fraying. I found that pleating while it was still a little damp was helpful.

Start pleating! After a few attempts where my pleats were too big…or grew as I folded, I started checking as I was going to stay consistent. An even better idea, measure and mark where you want to pleat. Repeat on a second (or third) strip of material, depending on how big/full you want your shade.

Use a fabric tape to bond together your two pieces of fabric. I used a no heat one and it held great.

Run a threaded needle through the top pleats.

Then gather them together, and tie.

Grab an embroidery hoop

Put the shade in a kitchen bowl to hold the shape, then hot glue the embroidery hoop to the inside of the shade.

I glued all the way around to help keep the pleats in place. Then let completely dry.

Use Rub ‘n Buff on a thrifted gold lamp to age it. I use the small side of a make up brush to rub on the gold, then buff if with the large side.

Troubleshooting Takeaways

  • Use extra Fabric Stiffener on the tips to keep them from fraying
  • If your lamp does not have a harp, use one of these adaptors. 
  • I found that pleating while it was still a little damp was helpful. 
  • Measure and mark where you want to pleat to get even pleats

Try it with a more modern lamp! Which do you like better, more traditional or modern!




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