DIY Garden Burlap Lamp Shade

Being frugal does not mean being cheap! It means being economical and avoiding waste.” -Catherine Pulsife

We have this floor lamp that has fallen over too many times to count and the shade has been fixed, taped and stuck back on every time. Stupid lamp!

The other week, we decided it was time for a new shade! As usual, we wanted to try to create a lamp shade out of something we already had in the home without having to spend extra money.

Our first thought was to use the hardware cloth (a.k.a. chicken wire) we had left over…

Begin by taking the old shade apart because you will need the hoop. Using wire cutters, we cut out the size of hardware cloth we needed to go around the hoop allowing enough to overlap by approximately an inch.

Lamp Shade How-to

Then we used some craft wire to wire it all together and secure it to the hoop.


This is where we got stuck for a week or so…. We didn’t agree about the next step and bounced ideas back and forth until we thought of garden burlap. Granted, we may have been able to skip the whole chicken wire part but at least it will provide a solid frame.

We liked the idea of using 100% natural garden burlap (also used in gardening & lawn projects) because it would be a nice earthy look. We like to mix earthy, sleek and futuristic, second hand store, contemporary, rustic and everything in between …basically, we like eclectic.

We kept this soooo simple because we just needed a damn shade! Plus, we’ve never made a lamp shade before and making a professional shade did not interest us. Far to much work for something that would eventually be switched out later. We’re always changing stuff 🙂

So… we unrolled the garden burlap and folded it over three times which happened to be about the same height as the skeleton of the lamp shade made of hardware cloth. (use as much or as little as you want, create a look you like) Then we cut off enough to go around the lamp shade and overlap an inch or two and held it in place with clothes pins.

We took a needle and some heavy thread (actually a yarn) then simply stitched it in a basic, primitive style onto the hoop. We didn’t secure it at all along the bottom and just let it hang.

We should also mention we weren’t comfortable using an incandescent bulb with this shade. Use a cooler blub like a CFL  …or an LED that produces no heat at all.

You can make the edge of the burlap nice and tailored or you can leave it very rustic and primitive – both looks shown below.



In the photo below you can see we did not let the old polk-a-dot lamp shade go to waste – we used the material in 3 different frames.

We hope this inspires you to reduce waste and hopefully save a little of money.

Update Below:

The shade above has been murdered! We needed the hoop to make a gift for our friends. See Birdcage Lamp Shade!

We did make another shade but we put it together so fast we forgot to take photos for a “How-to” so I’ll just show you the finished shade. If anyone expresses any interest maybe we’ll try to piece a demo together.  The shade below has NO hoop – and yes, more hardware cloth was used 🙂

Click on photos for larger view.

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