DIY Shibori Lampshade

Hi everyone! I’m back down in Eugene for a wedding this week, and I managed to (barely) squeeze in a DIY project that I’m excited to share with you.  A few years ago, Cameron’s dad gave us this lovely wooden lamp he built.  Unfortunately, the shade that was on it got smooshed in the move so it has been sitting bare-bulbed and unused for well over a year.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for a lampshade, but nothing was really speaking to me.  Well the other day I was doing what I do best – trolling Goodwill – when I saw this perfectly sized, but revoltingly stained, shade for about $2.  And an idea was born.

Lamp Shade Before

The lamp? Lovely. The shade, not so much.

Remember Mera’s post about experimenting with Shibori dyeing techniques?  I LOVED that post, and was so inspired that within five minutes of  reading it I had ordered the same dye kit she used.  I mean seriously, I could crawl into this photo and live there (but I’d like some cream in my coffee plz).  I decided a shibori lampshade was the way to go.


Photo by Mera

I found this very helpful video with instructions for recovering a lampshade in fabric on YouTube, and I’ve included some of the steps here so you can see how I did it.  The first thing I did was make a pattern for the shade.  I didn’t have any paper that was big enough, so I taped together a bunch of scratch paper.  Starting at the bottom left corner, I placed my lampshade with the seam in the middle and facing up.

making the pattern

Making the pattern 2

I then rolled the lampshade across the paper, tracing the bottom edge with my pencil.  Next, I returned the lampshade to its starting point at the bottom left of the paper and lined the shade up then set my pencil at the top of the shade and rolled it until I was back at the seam again.  The finished pattern and cut fabric looked like this:

Pattern and fabric

Because I wanted to place my dye pattern in a certain place on the shade, I cut the fabric before dyeing it.

I cut out two pieces of fabric and tied them in two different ways so I could decide which one I liked best (and just in case one went horribly wrong).  For the first I did an accordion pleat – similar to what Mera did in the photo above – and for the second I put dried garbanzo beans on the underside of the fabric and then wrapped a rubber band around them from the top.  From the side it looked like a bunch of little ghosties all in a line.

tying techniques for shades 2

I won’t belabor the dye instructions because Mera’s post covers it, but I will say that – though the process wasn’t complicated – I did manage to make a pretty remarkable mess.  As I was poking the fabric around in the dye bath, and inevitably getting it all over myself and everything else, I was reminded of a time in college when I called Mera in a panic because I was writing a paper at the 11th hour and my printer had broken.  She came over – she was no doubt a week ahead with all her schoolwork – and calmed me down.  She then picked up the broken – “broken” –  printer, dislodged popcorn kernels from it, and set me back to work.  This story is indicative of much of our friendship and also my life and did I mention that I was dyeing this fabric this morning?  Of course I was.  Don’t worry though folks, I didn’t learn any valuable lessons about time management because both fabrics turned out great.

tying techniques for shades

The accordion folded fabric is on the left, the garbanzo ghosts is on the right.

Choosing which one to use was HARD.  It required hemming, hawing, second guessing and soliciting opinions from Mera, my friend Kori and my mom.  There could only be one winner (though I’m tempted to find another lampshade so I can use the other fabric too).  And the winner is… pictured below 🙂

Once I’d washed, dried and ironed the fabric I took it and the lampshade outside.  I bought this spray adhesive at the hardware store and laid out a ground cloth to keep the fabric clean and the glue from getting everywhere.

Attaching the fabric to the shadeFollowing the directions on the can I sprayed the fabric thoroughly, paying special attention to the edges.  It was STICKY, but fortunately there was a short window before the glue set (short window – hence no pictures of this step) when I could still move the fabric around.  For next time, I will spray the adhesive in one area then move the gluey fabric to a clean spot  to actually attach it (the dyed fabric stuck to me, itself, the groundsheet and the shade, and I had to do some ridiculous contortions to get it in the right place).  Eventually, after I muttered and cursed and smoothed and fussed, it was on and pretty much wrinkle free.  I’ve put it in our bedroom, and love the way it looks against the soft gray walls.





Thanks for reading along!  Any other 11th hour types out there?  We hope you’ll check back on Friday when we’ll share our dreams of faraway places. Have a great day!

10 responses on “DIY Shibori Lampshade

  1. Carol Crump Bryner

    I think you chose the right one. The little circles soften the geometry of the lamp base. I love the way it looks, and I love the color.

    1. k80bennett

      I’m happy with the choice and now that you say it, the circles softening the geometry of the lamp might be why. Thanks Carol!

  2. y2knina

    That lamp is gorgeous! I’m glad you chose the ceci pattern. I think the other one looks more like something you’d find in a little boy’s room in the 1950s, next to a Daniel Boone ‘coonskin hat. (Wow I’m really dating myself.) I think it would work great as a pillow, though, here in the 21st century. Nice job!

    1. k80bennett

      Nina that is hilarious. I didn’t see it before but I definitely see it now! I don’t know if you got the memo, but Daniel Boone is the next design fad…

  3. michellet2013

    It looks great Katie! I’m just wondering how you finished the edges of the fabric—did you wrap them around and spray more adhesive? Thanks!

    1. k80bennett

      Thanks Michelle! I left about a half inch seam on both the top and bottom. I sprayed the fabric then centered the shade and rolled it. Then I just folded the extra top and bottom fabric over the shade and smoothed it (it was plenty sticky). It’s not the neatest edge and I may glue a piece of ribbon or something over it, but I don’t really see it so I’m not sure I’ll bother. Let me know if I can answer your question better!

  4. Susan Glassow

    I love the whole look — the handwoven Cretan wedding blanket, the old 1920s dresser, the Shibori pattern…my eye follows the scrolls and lines of each from the bed to the lamp or the lamp to the bed…a seamless passage. I want to see how the blue is illuminated at night.

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