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How to make a lampshade with cardboard and wire

Lampshade of card and wire

Original lampshade

Learn how to make a flower lampshade using cardboard and wire. This is slightly more involved than our previous version which only uses cardboard, however this method creates a very beautiful effect.

What you will need...
1. Old lampshade
2. Card: 2 large sheets. Red for petals effect, and green for leaves effect.
3. Wire: 2 - 3 meters. Thick enough to hold a shape strongly, but thin enough to bend reasonably easily.
4. Scissors
5. Wire clippers/pliers
6. PVA glue
7. Fabric tape approximately 1/2 inch thick
8. Pencil and eraser
9. Compass
10. One pin for making holes

A few pics followed by the write-up

Remove old lampshade cover from frame Cut four equal lengths of wire Attach wire to lampshade frame Tighten and tidy your joins Finished joins Shape your wire

The base for our old lamp has a beautiful leaf-like design coming out of it. This design was our inspiration to create a lampshade cover which looked similar to a flower or plant. This is how we did it...

Step 1: Strip your old lampshade cover
Cut and tear off the old lampshade cover so you can work with the frame.

Step 2: Cut your wire
The wire is used to create more framework to represent petals. Cut four equal lengths of wire for four petals.

The length depends on how long you want your petal to be - make sure it's long enough to more than adequately cover the light bulb. The length for one petal must cover the initial joining (please read next step), down one side of the length of a petal, up again, and for the final joining.

Step 3: Attach the wire to the lampshade frame and shape into petals
Bend one piece of wire in half. Hold the two ends of the wire in position over the top of the original lampshade frame, allowing a good two or three inches overlap. Start bending one of the tips' excess wire over and inwards within the petal, winding it tightly around existing frame. Keep bending until you have four or five loops for strength. Using pliers, cut off any excess wire. Now attach the other end of the wire one quarter of the way around the ring of the frame and bend and join. Again bend the wire inwards.

Repeat this with the other three wire lengths to create your four petals. Using the tip of your pliers, tighten and tidy your joins by squeezing together. Now check and bend your petals into the shape that you want.

Trace shape of petal onto card Cut four petals of equal shape Cut strips of fabric tape for joining Glue on fabric tape Under side of finished petals Top side of finished petals

Step 4: Create your card petals
Trace around one petal frame onto your red card. Allow an extra 1/2 inch around the frame for attaching later. Allowing an inch extra for the top of the petal would be great, too. (This was an afterthought for us and we think if we'd done this, the final effect would have been very nice.)

Cut out your petal shape, then trace and cut another three more.

Step 5: Attach your petals to the frame
Turn your petal frame upside down and align the underside of your card underneath into position.

Cut out eight pieces of fabric tape just short of the length of one side of a petal frame. (Two for each petal).

Saturate a piece of fabric tape with PVA glue, align centrally over the wire and press down firmly and evenly over the wire to join it to the card. Hold for a minute to ensure it sticks well, and then glue another strip on the other edge of the petal.

Now you must do the opposite petal next, and follow with the last two in whatever order. It's important to do the opposite petal second because as they overlap, it allows you to bend the petals into position very easily later on.

Cut card for the leaves Draw curves for base of leaves Finished leaves template Cut four sets of leaves Create pinhole design

Step 6: Create your leaf template
Using any spare card, create a template for your leaves.

To do this, keep your lampshade upside down and the petals completely flat on the table. Now mark on your spare card where you need to cut, so it runs evenly along both outer frames of the two petals either side of it. Later we will be making folds in the card, so when the petals are bent down into a nice lampshade angle, the leaves will bend with ease into whatever position you wish your lampshade to be.

Using a compass, create a nice curve at the large base of your leaf template, and cut.

Now we want to make a concertina effect, so first fold your template perfectly in half. Open out again, and now fold one of those halves, in half again. Do this to the other side too.

Now you need to create folds bending the opposite angle, so turn the card over. Refer to the picture for help with this one. You only want to make two more folds, and you need to fold exactly in the middle of the previous two center sections.

Now create leaf-like effects at the bottom of each leaf, using the folds you created as center spines for each leaf.

We used a compass to create curves and then cut out the card.

Step 7: Create your leaves
Now you have your template, trace four times onto your green card, then cut them all out and fold in the same way.

Now we want to create pinholes which allow the light to shine through to display beautiful patterns. We created what looks like the veins in a leaf. Draw the pattern lightly in pencil first, then erase after you have created the holes along these lines.

Glue leaves to petals Attached leaves under side Finished lampshade Finished lampshade Finished lampshade Finished lampshade Closeup of pinhole effect

Step 8: Join the leaves to the petals.
Using PVA glue, run along the edges of the leaves and attach to the underside of the petals, right next to the frames. You will need to bend all the petals slightly inwards to allow you to do this now your leaves have been folded.

Allow all to dry.

Finishing touches!
Once dry, turn upside down and screw your new lampshade cover onto the base.

Now you can play around a little by bending the petal frames up or down into the position you like most.

You can also experiment as we did (you may see it in one of our photos) by pushing in the center fold of the middle leaf in each set of leaves. This gives another great many-layered look.

We suggest you use a 40watt lamp for this project.