Making Screen-Printed Lampshades: Part 2

Screen printed fish lampshade

So, carrying on from Part 1, here’s how I actually make my piece of screen-printed fabric into a lampshade using a British-made drum lampshade-making kit from Needcraft. And, as you can see from the photo above, the fish print did make a lovely lampshade!

Drum lampshade making kit from NeedcraftThis is everything I use to make a lampshade: self-adhesive pvc panel; two metal lampshade rings, one with fitting; extra sticky double-sided tape (all included in the kit), plus seamstick tape (also available from Needcraft), fabric scissors and a pencil.

For this blog post I’m using the 30 cm drum kit, but have also made 20 cm, 40 cm and 45 cm drum shades, and the same technique is used.

The first thing I do when making a bee lampshade is mark up the fabric on the reverse side to make sure the bees line up with the middle of the lampshade and are evenly spaced around the shade. The centre marks I made before printing help, once I’ve transferred them onto the reverse of the fabric. Marking along the edges also helps me keep the pvc panel in line when sticking it on.

Next, it’s time to stick the pvc panel to the back of the fabric. This gives the lampshade strength and makes it fireproof. I start by peeling back a short section of the backing paper and lining up the panel with the marks on the fabric. Then, slowly peeling back more of the backing, I smooth the panel onto the fabric until it’s completely stuck down, hopefully finishing in line with the marks at the opposite end! Then I turn it over and make sure the fabric is totally flat and adhered to the pvc panel.

Now, using sharp fabric scissors I neatly trim off the excess fabric around the pvc panel. You can use a craft knife to do this too. The pvc panel has two kiss-cut strips along each long edge which need to be removed. First I fold the edges back to snap the joins, then carefully remove the strips. I then decide which end of the fabric panel I want to be on the outside of the overlapping join and place a piece of seamstick tape along that edge on the pvc side. Seamstick tape is super sticky, so it helps create a really strong join.

Now to prepare the rings. Double-sided sticky tape is attached to the centre outside of each ring and squished down so it sticks around the outer edge. Then the backing tape can be removed (I do the ring with the fitting on first so I can put it down on the table without it sticking to things) and the rings are ready to be attached the fabric panel.

If I’m making a shade for a table or standard lamp, the ring with the fitting has to go on the bottom edge of the shade, with the fitting facing inwards. If I’m making a shade for a ceiling light, the fitting has to go on the top edge. I carefully line up the two rings right on the edge of the pvc panel, at the non-seamstick end, then roll them along the edge, sticking them to the panel until it’s almost completely rolled up. I then remove the backing from the seamstick tape and complete rolling up the lampshade.

Now comes the fiddly bit! I carefully smooth down the fabric around the edges of the rings and smooth it around the inside of the lampshade. I snip the fabric where it overlaps the struts on the ring so it wraps around more neatly.

The kits come with a little tool which can be used to help tuck the edge of the fabric around the inside of the ring, but I usually prefer to use my thumb nail! After a bit of work, all the raw edges of the fabric can be neatly concealed.

And ta da! One finished lampshade. I love how it’s possible to create a professional finish with the Needcraft kits with no special equipment, just time, patience and attention to detail. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I hope you have fun creating your own bespoke lampshades!

Screen-printed bee lampshade on linen

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3 comments

  1. Hi, I love this. I love the texture the bee and the fish have instead of a solid colour!What method did you use for screen printing , ie it doesnt look like you used an ezicut paper? thanks gina

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Gina! The bee and the fish design are both printed using the photo emulsion technique, which is fairly tricky to do at home but I was lucky enough to be able to make the screens at my local art college. It is a great technique for printing detailed images, so it reproduces my bee sketch and the vintage fish image perfectly! I’ve recently tried using drawing fluid and screen filler to create simple designs with a hand-painted feel and have also just produced a ‘paper cut’ style design using a thin sticky-backed plastic, the kind used to cover books, which has worked surprisingly well (though not sure how hardwearing it’s going to be)! I’ll be sharing photos of it soon. Best wishes, Kat

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