How to make a paper lampshade

Make this easy paper lampshade by upcycling scraps of old patterned paper and card! Custom-make your own DIY paper lampshade using different colours or shapes, it's easy using our free guide and instructions.

How to make a paper lampshade by upcycling scraps

Want to spruce up your home without spending a fortune? How about upcycling old paper and making your own DIY paper lampshade, like this one designed by Vicky Bailey! Bring character and originality to your room with our easy paper lampshade. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make! If you want to try something a little more advanced, why try our origami lampshade project.

Simply cut multiple shapes and layer them over a piece of card and wrap it around a wire lampshade frame. We’re using a circle die and a die-cutting machine to cut circle shapes, but if you don’t have a die-cutting machine, you could use craft punches or even just scissors to cut different shapes! Pick some patterned paper that suits the style of your room, and get crafting.

Upcycle a tatty lampshade you already have or buy a cheap wire frame. If you’re buying a kit, look for one that has heat-resistant backing – this is the best choice if you are unable to use a low wattage light bulb with your lampshade.

This is a super easy project that will instantly add pattern and colour to any room, and it’s a lot more fun than a socially distant visit to the shops. So put the kettle on and cancel the shopping trip, we’ll show you how to make a paper lampshade! And if you’ve got the bug for recycling, check out our other upcycling craft projects.


You Will Need

  • Patterned paper
  • glue gun
  • Lampshade frame

Total time:

Step 1

How to make an easy paper light shade

First, cut lots of different sized circles from patterned paper. We used a die cutting machine and a nesting circle die set to cut ours, but a craft punch works just as well. If you don’t have any patterned paper, or just want to refresh your stash, we have lots of free patterned papers ready for you to download as PDFs.

Step 2

How to make an easy paper light shade

Cut a piece of white card or paper to fit around your lampshade frame. Choose some paper that is this enough to cover the frame without tearing, but not too opaque as you want the light to shine through!

Layer the circles onto the cards, overlapping them so that no white parts are showing. Layer the paper pieces with the larger ones covering the base, then fill in the gaps using the smaller circles. If you’re using different patterned papers, make sure you spread them out evenly. Try to line up the circles on the top and bottom of your paper lampshade for a neat and professional finish.

Step 3

How to make an easy paper light shade

Once you have all your circles positioned onto your card, wrap the card around the frame and secure your DIY paper lampshade into place using a glue gun. Add a few more circles onto the paper lampshade to conceal the join.


Fancy making an origami lampshade?


Once you’ve mastered this paper lampshade, how about trying your hand at an origami lampshade? It’s more of an intermediate project, but with our free template and step-by-step instructions, you’ll soon be a pro. 

origami lampshade tutorial