How to Make a Pleated Paper Lampshade
Paper lampshades are attractive accessories which will fit into most decorative schemes. They are fun to make yourself and require no sewing skills, so you don’t need to be an expert to have a go. What’s more they are very cheap to make yourself and once you’ve bought the frame, you can replace the paper section as often as you like. You could change them with the seasons, or make exclusive ones for parties or special occasions.
Perhaps the easiest type of paper shade to start with is a pleated one, since no pattern is necessary. All you need is a strip of pretty wallpaper cut to size which you fold into concertina pleats and then gather up with a ribbon to fit the frame. You may have some wallpaper left over from when the room was decorated, but even if you buy a roll, the remainder need not be wasted. You can use the extra to line drawers or for découpage.
Empire or coolie frame
Patterned wallpaper twice as long as the measurement round the bottom ring of the frame. Avoid paper with very large patterns, since the design may be lost in the pleating.
Narrow ribbon the length of the top ring plus 20cm (8in) for the bow.
Bias binding (optional) four times the length of the measurement round the bottom ring of the frame. This will trim the top and bottom of the shade.
Hole punch or leather punch to make the holes for the ribbon.
Making a Pleated Paper Lampshade
1. Trimming the wallpaper
Cut a strip of wallpaper twice the measurement round the bottom ring. Then trim the strip along one long edge so that its width is4cm (1 ½ in) longer than the length of one strut.
2. Marking the paper
Make sure that one end of the wallpaper is at right angles to both long edges. Then working from that end, mark both long edges on the wrong side at 4cm (1 ½ in) intervals, using a sharp pencil for accuracy. Join the marks to make folding guides. Mark a line 2cm (3/4 in) down from the top edge as a guide for the punched holes.
3. Contrast binding
If you wish to bind the edges, glue the binding over one or both of the long edges of the paper. Glue a ribbon trim on at this stage if you prefer, either using it like binding, or just gluing to the right side. Leave to dry completely before starting to fold the paper.
4. Making the first pleats
Fold the paper along the marked lines, with the right sides together, so that all the folds go in the same direction. Press along the folds to make sharp creases.
5. Concertina pleats
To make the concertina pleats in the opposite direction, pick up the first pleat and place the folded edge against the fold of the next pleat, wrong sides together, and press. Continue in this way, folding the paper into 2cm (3/4 in) pleats. On very stiff paper, press pleats individually between your fingers or run the back of a knife over them to get a sharp crease.
6. Punching the holes
Following the marked line 2cm (3/4 in) down from the top edge of the paper, punch a hole in the centre of each pleat for the ribbon to be threaded through. Punch the holes two at a time by folding a pleat and then punching. Use a paper punch or leather punch on the widest setting to do this.
7. Fitting the shade
Run a temporary thread through the holes and pull up roughly to fit the shade. Check that it fits comfortably on the frame, and alter at this stage if necessary – on a coolie shade you may need to reduce the number of pleats by trimming off some of the paper at one end.
8. Forming the shade
Remove the paper from the frame, take out the thread, and join the two ends of the paper together, trimming one end so that the edge will lie inside a pleat at the other end. Glue.
9. Thread the ribbon
Using a bodkin, pass the ribbon through the punched holes, starting at the center front, with the join in the paper at the center back. Pull up the ribbon and tie the ends in a bow.
10. Attach to the frame
Thread a needle with strong button thread, knot and thread it through the ribbon inside the shade to secure. Pass the thread round the frame and then under the next bit of ribbon, as shown. Continue all the way round and fasten off.
Ways to give extra support
Instead of attaching the paper lampshade to the frame with buttonhole thread, the shade ban be supported on the upper ring with a series of half holes punched centrally on the edge of each inside fold. This means that you can change the paper shade without un-stitching it from the frame. Position the holes centerd 5mm (1/4 in) below the previous row of holes; prepare the shade with ribbon as before, and sit the new holes on to the top ring.
The ribbon trim holds the shade close to the top of the frame, but on large pleated shades or on coolie shades, the pleats may not lie flat against the bottom ring. Run a line of transparent or matching thread through the pleats near the bottom edge, draw up and knot to fit the bottom ring. For extra support, use another thread to link the first thread to the bottom ring in the same way as the ribbon is attached to the frame in step 10 above.
Reference: The Country Look—Decor & Crafts