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3 Pleated Lampshade Styles to Make Yourself

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Soft or rigid, pleated lampshades are the interior design order of the day! Rather than spending money on this must-have home accessory, instead learn the secrets behind making a pleated fabric or rigid folded lampshade in today’s blog post. And, there's an even easier option to achieve the pleated trend - our fabric-covered Accordion Pleated Sleeve - which gives you a ready-to-fit solution!

DIY Pleated or Gathered Fabric Lampshades

Oozing texture and simplicity the fabric pleated lampshade is here to stay! Fitting with many interior styles from cottage core to Georgian elegance, making a fabric pleated lampshade yourself is really creative and rewarding process. With fabric choices ranging from floaty cotton to rich silk, part of the charm of a pleated fabric lampshade is the distortion of a larger print to create ripples of colour and pattern, hence Ikat prints are a popular choice, yet smaller ditsy prints work just as well.

Pleated or gathered lampshades traditionally use a rigid frame, known as a French Drum, which has top and bottom rings and struts that run vertically to connect the two. Our French Drum Frames use a duplex utility ring, therefore are used with a shade carrier, making it easy to lift the shade off the table lamp base to dust between the pleats or gathers.

As the UK’s premier supplier of everything lampshade making, we stock all the supplies you need to make a beautiful and bespoke pleated or gathered lampshade, including our beginner-friendly Soft Shade Making Bundles, which contain cotton tape, upholstery cotton, tailor's chalk, lils pins, a shade carrier, and a French Drum frame, all in one box.

Depending on your style of learning, many of our expert lampshade makers offer courses in pleated or gathered lampshade making; The Lampshade Loft , Jennifer Fraser Lampshades and Minerva Workshops to name just a few, but check out our Workshop Directory for more details of courses in your area. If you prefer to teach yourself, our Soft Shade Making Series will teach you the starting stage of how to bind a lampshade frame.

Lampshade Books are also a fantastic way of picking up new skills, and Handmade Lampshades by Natalie Price-Cabrera, features a brilliant step-by-step for this neat pleated lampshade whilst Joanna Hepinstall’s Sewing Lampshades, features a number of pleated and gathered projects to get your needle into. For more details on both books, head to our Book Reviews section on the Dannells Blog.

DIY Rigid Pleated Lampshades

The crisp pleats of hard lampshades offer a more geometric style of shade and can be made featuring decorative paper, wallpaper, or lightweight fabric, using our Less Rigid Self Adhesive Lampshade Making PVC, as a stable base.

Perfect for smaller or more intricate lampshade making, our Less Rigid Self Adhesive Lampshade PVC is half the thickness of our Standard Lampshade Making PVC at 150 microns, making it easier to fold, bend and pleat into your unique lampshade shape. Incredibly easy to fold into a sharp pleat, simply decide the pleat depth to suit the style of fabric or size of shade you’d like.

On hand to help you perfect your pleats, try our Wooden Paper Folder, which is used by many professional lampshade and has a sharp end for scoring and a smooth rounded shape for making folds in our Self-Adhesive Lampshade Materials

We’d advise measuring and lightly scoring the pleats onto the non-paper-backed side of the PVC first, then adhering your fabric to the self-adhesive side before starting to hand pleat. Elizabeth Cake, in her book Make your own Lampshades (read our Book Review here) has an easy-to-follow tutorial to make a Pleated Wallpaper lampshade, and by adding Less Rigid Self Adhesive Lampshade PVC, your lampshade will definitely have longevity.

Accordion Pleated Lampshade Sleeves

Short on time, but still want a unique pleated look for your lampshade? We’d like to introduce you to our Pleated Lampshade Sleeves which take minutes to put together and will add instant sophistication to any room!

Made using neat accordion pleating and offering an eye-catching interior alternative to a shop-bought lampshade, our Pleated Lampshade Sleeves work in tandem with our stylish French Drum frames, and are made using our Chic Fabric – a fabric selected for its excellent lampshade making qualities. Influenced by our most popular selling colours, our Pleated Lampshade Sleeves are available in effortless neutrals such as white, off-white, cream, black, and navy, and more trend lead shades, such as scarlet red, dark grey, bottle green, and indigo blue.

Each size of pleated sleeve - there are 4 in the range - has been calculated with precision to be perfectly pleated and stretched around your selected size of the frame, so the wider the diameter of the frame, the more pleats your sleeve will have, ensuring a full and balanced lampshade.

Check out our blog post Introducing Pleated Lampshade Sleeves for the full step-by-step instructions on how to fit your Accordion Pleated Lampshade Sleeve.


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