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Welcome to the Lampshade Loft Blog

My name is Jane Warren and I love interiors - especially how they are lit up and enhanced by lovely lampshades. I make shades and teach you how to as well, so sign up and learn how to make them in your own choice of fabric.

In my blog here I offer tips on how to make the best lampshades - oversized, using paper, if to line or not and other random subjects all to do with shades!

Please read about my collaborations and inspirations on this blog, and sign up to receive my newsletter to hear more news and tips!


By Jane Warren, Jan 15 2018 02:36PM

pleated and gathered lampshade made by The Lampshade Loft
pleated and gathered lampshade made by The Lampshade Loft

There is a world of difference between making a pleated and a gathered lampshade - pleated shades are traditionally formal, with sharp knife pleats runnng from the base to the top of the lampshade frame. Usually made using silk, which allows for crisp pleats, they add an elegance and formality to any room scheme. They need careful handling whne being made, with each pleat having the same width.

Gathered shades are more relaxed, the fabric is literally gathered by running stitch either by hand or using a sewing machine (using a ruffler foot) along the top and base edges of a length of fabric, pulled to fit the circumference of the frame, and then hand stitched in place. Right now, gathered shades are in vogue, and lovely they are too, adding a pop of colour and texture in both formal and relaxed room settings. They are being made using sari's, vintage textiles, modern block printed ikats and silks too. Both pleated and gathered shades really should be lined, otherwise you get some very odd reflections in the room when lit!

I rather like the look of having a shade with a formal pleat at the base and then the fabric pulled up and gathered at the top - best of both worlds!

By Jane Warren, Aug 23 2017 10:28AM

It was so lovely to see The Lampshade Loft's workshops featured in this month's (September 2017) edition of The English Home. Although I don't, at the time of writing, publish dates on this website of workshops I run from home, believe me they are taking place!

Please contact me and let me know type of lampshades you would like to learn to make - modern contemporary drums or the traditional hand sewn styles? I teach both methods and can either run a workshop to teach you one or the other, or tailor make a day to demonstrate both or a couple of days to learn both.

When people contact me to learn, say the drum shades, I put a date together and tie up with others who have also enquired, so there are around 4 students. This gives me plenty of time for each one of you, showing you all the best way of making the shades with some profressional tips too. You will all go home with a wonderfully made shade with the skills to make many more! So please contact me ( and I will email you my fliers giving detail and prices.

By Jane Warren, Jul 17 2017 04:13PM

Hard shades can look different and unique
Hard shades can look different and unique
Soft shades are tailored to fit the frame and need expert sewing
Soft shades are tailored to fit the frame and need expert sewing

Many lampshade makers produce a range of styles of shade, from traditional hand sewn to the contemporary hard or laminate shades. So often we see references to them, but what is the difference?


Soft lampshades are traditionally hand sewn shades, using fabric that is stretched across the frame, which is then sewn onto the top and base rings. It is stitched into the fabric and underneath that, through the lampshade tape that has been tightly bound around the frame. The fabric is stretched on the bias and attached using sharp pins, and only sewn when the desired tension is found. Traditional sewn shades also sometimes have a 'balloon' lining, which is a - usually - cream stretchy fabric - that is also sewn onto the frame and proudly hides the working or metal struts and arms of the lampshade frame. Added onto these are the chosen trims - anything from glass beads to a simple gimp or braid to both hide the sewn stitches or to add a final flourish.

Also in the soft shade category is the gathered or pleated lampshade. These too are handsewn onto the taped frame, and are lovely using an empire shape frame. There is much work to produce a soft shade, but the results are wonderful - a beautifully tailored interiors item that brings a touch of class to any room.


Hard shades are so called because the material used to make them is a fire-resistant laminate (or plastic) or a stiff card. These lampshades come in different shapes and sizes - from square, rectangular to oval but the most popular shape we see are drums. Drum shades are made using little fabric applied to the laminate panel - which is then adhered to the rings, hand rolled with extra fabric tucked under to give a perfect finish. The making of these takes little time but can look exciting with different colour laminates inside the shade including gold, copper or bright neon colours. In addition, double sided laminate is available meaning the shade can have fabric both on the outside and the inside.

There are differences too between the pricing of the shades, the hand sewn soft shades can take some hours to make, especially if lined, whereas the hard shades can take as little as an hour. Soft shade making is a true interiors skill, with hand sewing and fabric manipulation requiring expert handling. The drum or hard shades are quicker, more a craft with no sewing involved but although are not so complex to make, they can still be made to look fantastic!

At the end of the day, what matters is what 'look' people are after - and finding the right shade, whether soft or hard, to add interest - and light of course to the room.

By Jane Warren, Mar 8 2017 02:36PM

I often get asked how to make lampshades using paper - either wallpaper or wrapping paper or paper maps - in fact there are so many items you can use to make shades! how about sheet music or old manuscaripts?

The best method I have found is to make the lampshade in the normal way you make a drum using fabric, but then instead of tucking in the excess fabric under the rings, just cut off the extra paper along the rings once you have rolled it. You can then use a bias binding to finish the shade:

* take your binding, and open up one side and iron it smooth

* attach double sided sticky tape around all the top of the shade, take off the cover

* place the closed part of the binding onto the tape

* tuck the opened up part of the binding under the rings

* job done!

As far as the paper itself is concerned, ensure there is nothing printed onto the back - maps for example, often have street names on the reverse - this will all show once your shade is lit!

I also iron paper before I use it, but if there are creases such as from the folded Ordnance Survey maps, which I use, it can add to its authenticity.

Take note of the width of paper - wrapping paper for example - is barely 50cm wide. This means you will only be able to make a small 15cm (diameter) drum shade but you can add pieces together (see previous post on making large shades) and positioning a seam opposite the main seam.

These paper shades are entirely fire proofed as you make them with the materials all tested by the lighting association, and your paper will not be a hazard.

They are fun to make and entirely bespoke! so come along to a class and learn how to make drum shades - including paper ones!

By Jane Warren, Jan 2 2017 12:02PM

Often I get asked to repair a much loved lampshade - they perfectly fit their current lamp base after all and therefore it makes sense to use the current frame, and make a new cover and lining.

There is quite a lot of work involved - the current lining and outer cover are removed, sometimes the frames are rusty and need to be re-sprayed and then a new lining and outer cover made - in fact there is often more work than making a new lampshade! However it is worth it, but why do these shades fall into disrepair? it is worth looking after them, and here are some pointers:

* ensure you use a cool to the touch eco bulb to prevent scorching

* try and have a 5cm gap between the bulb and the lining - use a candle bulb which are slimmer?

* if your outer cover is made from silk, position the lampshade away from the window, light and sunlight not only fade the colour but the silk can rot too - there are wonderful silk mixed or faux silks available these days to use instead

* dust your shade from time to time using a feather duster

* handle the shade with care - they can get knocked each time someone puts the light fitting to off and on

Following these basic principles should ensure a longer life for your shade, but if it does need repairing please do get in touch! I ask my customers to: send me photos of their shade by email along with the dimensions plus an idea of what they would like - and I will then send you a quote by return.

Meanwhile - happy new year to all my customers and visitors - here is to a happy 2017!

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