top of page

DIY No-Sew Pleated Lampshade!

Happy new week and happy new DIY project! I love a beautifully pleated lampshade but do not love the price tag associated with it so I thought I would try my hand at making my own patterned beauty.

I researched quite a few tutorials and merged them together to make this one. First requirement...simple to complete. I looked for something fairly easy for my first try and also for a DIY that didn't cause me to break out the sewing machine and here we are today!

I am going to skip the lengthy written monologue where I tell you an entire story before getting to the how-to, so let's get down to the nitty gritty!

What you will need:

  • Lampshade

  • 0.5-1 yard of fabric, depending on shade size.

  • 0.5" bias tape

  • Scissors

  • Fabric cutter

  • Fabric or cutting mat

  • Liquid Stitch

  • Glue gun

  • Clean cloth/towel

  • Iron

I wanted a pretty pattern to compliment my blue & white chinoiserie lamp in my master bedroom so I chose a light green & cream scrolling filigree pattern. To keep costs to a minimum, I picked up the lampshade, fabric & bias tape at Wal-mart for less than $16 dollars. Not too shabby!

STEP1: To prep for the project, I opened the fabric and placed the lampshade on its side on top of the fabric, wrapped the shade, and estimated how much I would need based on width and length required. Once completed, I utilized my fabric mat and cutters and cut the fabric into in four sections. Note: I only used two of these four but did cut extra sections in case I needed them. The amount of fabric you will use depends on the size of the shade and number of pleats you would like.

STEP 2: The next step was to cut the fabric sections into strips, which would ultimately be my pleats. This is where personal preference comes into play. The width of the pleats is up to you. Since this was my first trial, I opted for a wider pleat because I knew the size would be easier to work with. I opted for a 1" cut and marked my mat so I could cut the material evenly. In the second picture above, you can see the strips once I finished this step.

STEP 3: Fold the strips in half, lengthwise, and attach the top and bottom of each piece. Now a lot of tutortials have you using a glue gun to glue strips together and then to the shade, which is fairly messy. To save time, and to avoid a stringy mess, I opted to use Liquid Stitch after folding strips in half. I put one small dot on the top and bottom and placed an iron on the strip to activate the adhesive.

I was able to line up 5-6 strips at once after adding the liquid stitch on each end, covered the strips with a towel, and placed the iron on top (wool setting) for 30-45 seconds until the Liquid Stitch was activated. An added bonus- the pleats were nice, neat, and uniformed after being under the iron.

Step 4: Attach the strips to the lampshade with your glue gun. I put a dot of glue at the top and a dot of glue at the bottom to attach. I lined up the strips at the top edge of the shade. As I moved on to the next strip, I overlapped strips to make the pleated look. Again, you can choose how close to place each strip based on your preference. I chose to add one strip to the very end of the prior strip. You can see below how I crafted these.

STEP 5: Once you have added all of your fabric strips to the lampshade, you will have pieces at the bottom that need to be removed. Take your scissors, while following the bottom edge of the shade, and simply cut these off. You shade will look like this when completed.

STEP 6: Add your bias tape to the top and bottom of the shade. I didn't take a photo of this step, but it is a simple one. There are two options. 1. after measuring the bias tape around the shade, you can glue this as is out of the package (it has two folded halves for those that don't know) around the outside edging or 2. you can open the bias tape and center it on top of the shade and glue the center line to the top and bottom edging. This results in bias tape inside and outside of the shade. I opted for the latter.

It is definitely not perfect but I have another in process that I am completing. I will post that one to Instagram when finished. This one will have smaller pleats and a needle and thread is involved...but still easy peasy. These steps seem fairly long in reading them, but once you start a step, it moves pretty quickly. The whole process took about 3-4 hours and that was with me cooking dinner and doing a little cleaning in between.

Here is the before and after. Do you think this is something you will try? It was a fun project and I look at my little shade every time I enter the bedroom. The best thing is, I can make 2-3 or more for less than one at a normal retail price so I can change the color, pattern, and the look if I get tired of this one.

Let me know if you have any questions but if not, happy DIY-ing! XO Jennifer

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page