Friday, February 26, 2010

A Shade Better ~ How to make a Box Pleated Lampshade

Hello again everyone!

Jen @ Sanctuary Art is holding another makeover party, be sure to link in or just stop over to see all of the projects! So, my makeover is a current piece I am working on for a client. A box pleated, silk lampshade, this is a recover, so just replicate the original. It turned out perfect, I must say, so I thought I would take you through the steps.

But first, the before pics........

1. take apart shade, I always do this very carefully to preserve the lining and outside for the new pattern. Oopsy, sorry no pictures of this, too anxious to get started.

2. clean up the frame. remove any rust, glue etc.

3. spray the struts with an off white spary paint to prevent any future rust and to give a clean finish.

4. okay, we now have pics! wrap the frame top and bottom with seam binding, this provides a base to sew the lining and outside to. Make sure you wrap tightly! I measure the circumference and multiply by 3 to get the yardage needed to wrap.

5. If you were lucky to preserve the lining, trace the lining onto kraft paper, and voila the new pattern! Otherwise you will need to roll the frame and trace. Most likely adjustments will have to be made to achieve a taught lining. More on that in a later post.

6. Cut the lining, sew the side seams and trim.

7. Now to the pleating! This is time consuming and very tedious! But first a tip! When working with white silk, DO NOT wear MASCARA! Any little flake and you are DOOMED! Also, be careful sewing and pinning! OOpsy whats that BLOOD? Yikes! Anyway, you get the idea!
Cut your fabric and begin marking for the pleats. This shade happens to have 3/4" pleats, so along the top and bottom edges measure and mark every 3/4".

8. Begin pleating, match up the top and bottom marks, insert a straight edge and press. Go to the next set of marks, match them up and bring this pleat to meet the first, insert straight edge and press. Continue pleating until you have enough pleats to go around the top.

9. Machine stitch the top edge of the pleats to secure them in place.

10. Begin pinning the pleats along the top edge.

11. Now to the bottom. This step is time consuming as well. Begin placing the pleats and fanning them out. Even spacing is the key, this takes some time.

12. Sew your pleats to the frame. First the top then the bottom. Trim the excess fabric close to the stitching.

13. Back to the lining. Drop the lining in. A few cuts will have to be made to stretch up and over the spider wire. Pin the top, stretch and pull the side seams to the bottom and pin. I always go back and fourth top to bottom pulling, stretching and pinning to get it taught. Next, sew the top lining to the frame then the bottom. Trim the excess lining.

14. Finish the spider wire cuts with folded lining fabric.

15. Apply the trim and you are done! Voila!


Have a great weekend!


  1. Beautiful - wow! You made that look easy!

  2. I make bespoke lampshades for a living but I have never made a pleated one,your instructions have helped me work out how to do two I have on order,so a big thank you. I will let you see the results ! Lisa

  3. Very helpful! I would never have even attempted a pleated lampshade but you made this look pretty doable! Thanks for sharing with my party, Judith!