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Lampshade kits: what are they and which should I buy?

Try a lampshade kit for a quick and easy way to augment your DIY decor.

Lampshade kits main

Ah, the joys of a DIY lampshade. You get to control the colours of fabric used in your lampshade, which is just perfect if you love a bit of match-matchy in your home – and who doesn’t love this. We have some brilliant tutorials for aspiring lampshade makers right here on Gathered! Take a look at our How to make a lampshade article for a sew your own version, or check out our How to make a paper lampshade or our How to make an origami lampshade if paper shades are you thing. But using a lampshade kit is the easiest way to get your lampshade made and on display. Most lampshade kits will typically give you a choice of style and size, and the materials included in your lampshade kit will determine how your finished lampshade comes together. But what can you expect to find in a lampshade kit?

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What’s included in a lampshade kit?

Your typical lampshade kit will contain two metal rings, one with a fitting attached which is designed to attach the lampshade made using your lampshade kit to the bulb. Often this ring is coated in epoxy resin that make it more heatproof, though don’t worry if you don’t have this coating on the fixtures in your lampshade kit – the increasing use of low energy bulbs is making this less necessary. The combination of the two different rings in your lampshade kit will determine the style of shade your lampshade kit will produce. Drum lampshade kits typically have two rings the same size, whereas empire lampshade kits have  rings of slightly different sizes, so you get a fluted shape to your finished lampshade. This is because the other essential item in a lampshade kit is the lampshade panel. This is a semi-rigid PVC sheet that sits between the two rings to provide the body of the lampshade. The lampshade panel material is usually self adhesive, so it is easy to attach your chosen fabric or paper to decorate your lampshade.

What style of lampshade kit is right for me?

If you are wanting a shade to hang from a ceiling light, a drum lampshade kit is the best choice, or if you want a lampshade for a standing lamp, an empire lampshade kit is the standard option – though that is not set in stone! You may love the look of a drum lampshade on a standing lamp. If this is you, you should still buy the drum lampshade kit! But you may want to look for a lampshade kit that has the bulb fitting offset at an angle off the lampshade ring rather than it all being on the same plane. This means you can make sure that the lampshade will still shade the bulb and stop you getting blinded by the light, even when you use it on standing lamp.

You should also consider the style of bulb fitting you want in your lampshade kit. Typically, most UK standing lights have an E14 gimbal lampshade fitting (brilliant technical term!) which works with the standard screw or bayonet bulbs. But hanging lights, or European lights have a larger E17 gimbal. If you are not sure which one you need, look for a lampshade kit containing a converter reducer ring, which will easily convert between the two sizes.

10 of the best lampshade kits to buy

Drum lampshade kit

lampshade kit 1

Find on the ThereadWhiteBlueLTD Etsy store

This lampshade kit contains a bayonet-fitting lampshade frame, lampshade hoop and lampshade panel – you just need to add your chosen fabric or paper to the materials in this lampshade kit to complete your drum lampshade. You can choose either 20, 25, 30 or 40 cms size with this lampshade kit, and you helpfully get dimensions for the size of fabric you need for each size, too. The light fitting ring in this lampshade kit is offset, which means it can be inverted if you are looking for a drum lampshade kit that could work on a standing lamp.

25cm Empire lampshade kit

lampshade kit 2

Find on the LechladeCraftBarn Etsy store

Here is a  lampshade kit for crafting a sweet little empire lampshade for a small standing light, perfect for every bedside table. As well as two lampshade rings, the kit contains self adhesive lampshade panel and step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the components of the lampshade kit. This lampshade kit also includes a shade carrier fitting, which you can see in the photo, which lets you adjust the height that the lampshade sits relative to the bulb, and makes it easy to use as a pendant lampshade, too. You get also get tape and tool for assembly and step-by-step instructions with photographs.

With or without fabric lampshade kit

lampshade kit Rock

Find on the RockandSaltwater Etsy store

Not got a matchy-matchy fabric to use with your lampshade kit, but want to be inspired by perfectly sized and adorable prints in your lampshade kit instead? This lampshade kit from RockandSaltwater is the one for you! Of course you can choose to buy it without the fabrics, but you can opt for a choice of five lovely patterns, as seen in the picture above, and your lampshade kit will arrive with your chosen fabric cut to size and ready to use. The kit also contains the adhesive tape and tool you use to secure your lampshade together.

Bottle lamp and lampshade kit

lampshde kit 4

Find on the EdinburghCraftClub Etsy store

We love the idea of this lampshade kit given as a gift along with a bottle of plonk – as this lampshade kit has a little something extra to make use of the bottle once the booze is gone! The lampshade kit also contains a fitting that can be used to transform an empty bottle into a lamp, to be adorned with the shade made from the materials also included in the lampshade kit! You also get the tool and adhesive you need for putting the shade together from the kit, and self-adhesive lampshade panel to add fabric or wallpaper to. Cheers!

Small lampshade kit

Small lampshde kit

Find on the LumeLighting Etsy store

This lampshade kit has everything you need to make a 20cm drum lampshade  that will work as a pendant or a standing light lampshade – excpet for the covering fabric. It is a great choice for a beginner as it teaches all the skills you need to make your lampshade using the lampshade kit – applingy the lampshade PVC to your fabric, attaching the rings and creating neat rolled edges – all on a small scale before you move on to bigger lampshade kits.

Drum lampshade kit with optional bottle adaptor

lampshde kit 6

Find on TheWildestOne Etsy store

We love the recyclable cardboard packaging that this lampshade kit comes in! It makes it a really nice ethical gift for somebody taking their first steps in craft – and up-cycling! This is one of the most economical lampshade kits in our review, and has everything you need to make your lampshade apart from the covering fabric.

Large drum lampshade kit

lampshade kit 7

Find on the MustardHomeandStyle Etsy store

This is the largest lampshade kit we have come across so far – but surely they can get bigger! This lampshade kit has everything you need to make 45cm diameter drum lampshade, suitable for use as a pendant or standing lamp if you have a lamp that is large enough for this lampshade kit, that is! Your covering needs to be 1454mm wide x 298mm to cover the self-adhesive panel supplied, and everything else to make the lampshade is including in this lampshade kit. It also comes with free UK postage, too, which is a nice bonus for a larger lampshade kit.

Lantern lampshade kit

Lampshade kit 8

Find on the SewProCrafts Etsy store

From the largest to the smallest lampshade kits in this review! This lampshade kit contains everything you need to make four mini covers for electric tea lights. It even contains the electirc tea lights, though the batteries and the covering fabric are not included in the lampshade kit. You need 350mm x 150mm of material to cover each of the 4 mini lanterns, and you can use fabric or paper, or why not print out a photo to decorate your mini lanterns for a family birthday or wedding? They are made using rings and lampshade backing materials just as you would with a full-sized shade, but, rather than a ring to attach to the bulb, you get a circular PVC base disc instead.

Appliqué lampshade kit

lampshade kit 9

Find on the CraftYouCraftyMe Etsy store

If you want to combine a little sewing with your lampshade making, this is the lampshade kit for you! First sew a hot-air-balloon-themed fabric panel and then turn that panel into a lampshade using the lampshade kit. All materials and step by step instructions are included, including upcycled fabric scraps for the appliqué balloons which mean that every lampshade kit is unique, though you can choose a colour palette for your materials to make sure they will work in your decor.

Hot air balloon lampshade kit

lampshade kit 10

Find on the SkyGoodies Etsy store

We can’t decide if we prefer this balloon lampshade kit or the appliqué balloon lampshade kit above – so we’re going to make them both! Rather than making a lampshade for you to cover, as with the other lampshade kits reviewed here, this option gets you a high-quality printed, cut and scored paper template that you can fold and shape into a 3D hot air balloon lampshade. The balloon attaches to a hanging light, with full assembly instructions, paperclip and string provided, or use a craft glue (not included) for a longer term fit. We just love this!

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More home treats

If you enjoyed this lampshade kits article, take a look at our 51 of the best craft kits for adults article to see what else you could make! You may also like our modern cross stitch kits roundup, or our rug making kits for beginners articles to craft more DIY decor delights.