Make Your Own Designer Paper Maché Lampshade

paper mache lamp shade

I love well-designed, beautiful, and unique products. So, when my friend sent me an image of a gorgeous lampshade and asked me if I could make one for her, I happily agreed! The lampshade was for her nursery, but it took me a few months to collect enough egg cartons, so I totally missed the deadline. Nonetheless, the lampshade was made and my new Thomas Shade, in honour of gorgeous baby Thomas, is proudly hanging in the playroom.

How to make your own designer half-dome paper maché lamp shade

You will need:

  • Egg Cartons – lots and lots of them. I used about 30 large trays, but it all depends on the size of your lampshade.
  • A packet of wallpaper glue powder
  • 1 cup cold glue
  • Yoga Ball
  • Spray paint: I used matt black for the outside and dayglow yellow for the inside.
  • Light cord and bulb

STEP 1:

papier mache lamp shade

Tear the egg cartons into smaller pieces and throw them in a bucket. Then cover them with water and let it soak for 24 hours.

STEP 2:

papier mache lamp shade

Use an electric mixer to beat the mixture to a pulp, roughly the consistency of sloppy oatmeal.

STEP 3:

papier mache lamp shade

This is where it gets awesome! Add the packet of wallpaper glue powder, and use your hands to mix it up. It feels wonderfully gooey! Or you can use a wooden spoon, but hands are much better 😉

STEP 4:

papier mache lamp shade

Let it rest for a while according to the instructions on the wallpaper glue manufacturer’s packaging. In the meantime, blow up the yoga ball and prepare your work surface: it’s going to get messy! I placed my yoga ball inside a flat bowl to prevent it from rolling around.

STEP 5:

papier mache lamp shade

When the mixture is ready, add the cold glue and mix well. Then start creating the lampshade by applying handfuls of the paper maché to the yoga ball. It sticks remarkably easy and really goes quick. You are only going to create 1 layer* so make sure that you are happy with the thickness.

REMEMBER TO LEAVE A SMALL AREA AT THE TOP WHERE THE ELECTRICAL CORD IS GOING TO BE INSTALLED.

STEP 6:

papier mache lamp shade

Allow to dry. This could take anything from 24 hours to 5 days, depending on your atmospheric moisture. My shade took 3 days, and when I took it off it was still wet on the inside and therefore very fragile. I placed it upside down inside a large bowl and left it for another 2 days.

STEP 7:

papier mache lamp shade

Once everything is thoroughly dry, deflate the ball just a little and use your hand to loosen the edges of the lampshade.

Then slowly deflate the ball, ensuring that the lampshade doesn’t stick to it.

STEP 8:

paper mache lamp shade

Use the electrical fitting as a template to ensure that the hole left at the top is large enough.

STEP 9:

Spray the inside and outside in the colours of your choice.

STEP 10:

Attach the electrical light cord, get an electrician to install, and switch on!

Happy Lighting!

* I had to make this lampshade 3 TIMES before it worked. VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: you can’t add a second layer when the first one is dry. The moisture from the pulp makes the first layer soggy and then the whole thing falls apart.

** Explain to your kids that they cannot play with the yoga ball while mommy is busy with the project. You’d think this is obvious, but in my experience, it isn’t 😉

 

Comments · 10

  1. I’ve had a 15 in here ball from the dollar store for several months now, intending to make a twine laced cover for my ceiling light, but couldn’t figure out how to work on it without it rolling around. A bowl is genius! Thank you!

    1. HI Melanie – it took me a while to figure out as well! Looking forward to seeing how your new pendant light turns out. 😉

  2. I think I’m going to try this and take it a step further. I love the little air pockets that caused peep holes in the shade. I might try using a few cookie cutters (stars and crescent moons) and build the Maché around them, receiving them part way through the drying process.
    Thank you for insipiring me!!!

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