We often ask our lampshade makers ‘what’s your favourite part of making a lampshade?’ and more often than not it’s when the lampshade comes together and the seam is closed - the magic moment when you start to see a beautiful, bespoke shade.
Closing the seam on your lampshade is important for creating a long-lasting and professional product and to help you choose the best finish for securing your seam, we’re highlighting four Dannells products for you to try.
A little history
In large scale lampshade manufacturing seams were sealed using a two-step process and Dannells Director, David Little, who has a wealth of lampshade manufacturing experience, remembers a glue edging machine being used to coat the edge of the panel with EVA adhesive, similar to the one in the You Tube video below, which is used for gluing seed packets closed.
This process would be followed by a sonic welding machine that would then seal the glue and the seam together, using a brass plate the same size as the seam. By positioning the shade in between the plates, bringing them together and pressing, the glue would be activated and the seam sealed in an instant.
The alternative technology of the time was another sealing device that had a heated jaw, similar to crocodiles jaws. The shade would be put between ‘the jaws’, then left for a few minutes and it would seal the shade.
Modern Seam Solutions
Luckily for modern day home lampshade makers, hefty machinery, heat or crocodile jaws are not needed! As adhesives have moved on in both quality and application, there are many products and methods available to professional lampshade makers for closing lampshade seams, creating a professional finish.
Double Sided Tape
Supplied in all of our lampshade making kits, double sided tape is the go to for securing your seam in place when you're making shades for your home or for friends and family.
Our Tesa double sided tape comes in a range of widths – 3mm, 6mm, 9mm and 12 mm. The width of tape in our kits is 9mm and with its high tack adhesive properties, this will make sure your seam is secure.
Other widespread uses for our double-sided tapes amongst our Facebook Lampshade Makers Group are to add bias tape as a trim to the top and bottom of your shade – see our recent Lampshade Kit Hack #7 - Applying Bias Tape to find out how - and can also for adding lightweight trims to the outside of shades.
If you are making for to sell and want to ensure your seams stay put it’s worth considering one of our other more professional grade solutions.
Seamstick is a 12mm wide tape, that’s clear in appearance and is available in a 25 metre roll. It will adhere to the majority of fabrics and provide an extra secure seam closure. This said, some fabrics and materials have a silicone or staining treatments applied to them before sale, which can resist adhesives. We strongly advise testing this on your fabrics first, to ensure this tape works to creates a strong seal.
Soft Furnishings Bond Tape
Soft Furnishings Bond Tape (also known as SFT) is an extremely user-friendly clear, double-sided self-adhesive tape that gives an intensely strong bond on smooth, clean, dry surfaces and again is 12mm and available in a 25 metre roll. Coming with multiple benefits – it can be re-positioned and be ironed - it’s a popular choice with soft furnishers and upholsterers, as well as lampshade makers.
Typical applications include bonding fabric to fabric, fabric to other surfaces, ribbons, paper to cardboard & much more. It can also be used for home décor, draperies, crafts and trim applications.
Again, we would recommend testing the SFT tape on your fabrics and PVC in advance due to anti-staining treatments that are often applied to fabrics during manufacture, which can resist adhesive tapes.
Tips for closing your seam with tape
Follow our tips for applying either our Seamstick or Soft furnishing Tape and you can’t go wrong!
The best conditions for using both our Seam Stick and Soft Furnishing Tape is in a warm room 15 - 30 degrees c, as the adhesive won’t work at cold temperatures.
Ensure you have a clean and dry surface
Apply the tape to the lampshade panel and remove the release paper
Overlap the seam and join together with the tape, ensuring the top and bottom edges of the shade line up at the seam
Place the lampshade on a clean flat hard surface and use a Seam Roller LINK to apply firm even overall pressure
With a wide array of Superglues available on the market, lampshade makers are now increasingly turning to this method of sealing a lampshade seam.
Previously a method that offered little repositioning option, advances in super glue technology, such as activated glues and LED technology now provide much more flexibility.
A good example of this is our Bostick Fix and Flash Strong Adhesive, which is possibly one of the smartest super glues on the market. By applying the multipurpose glue using the precision nozzle for accuracy to your seam, you can reposition as required until you are happy to seal in place. Simply activate the light by pressing the switch and run along the seam to solidify the glue, for a secure bond in 15 seconds.
When using any of our super glue range, using simple foam clamps or everyday clothes pegs to hold the lampshade seam together is a great way of bringing in an extra pair of hands!
Happy shade making!
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