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5 Essential Products for Making Traditional Soft Lampshades

Transform your living space with a beautiful, custom-made traditional soft lampshade using our extensive range of professional supplies. In today’s post, we’ll walk you through the five essential products you’ll need. Plus, we’ll direct you to our comprehensive tutorial guide, so you can learn and perfect your lampshade-making skills at your own pace. Get ready to learn about frames, fabrics, trims, and more!

The Frame

The starting point for every DIY traditional soft lampshade is picking a frame that suits your interiors, or the fabric you’d like to work with. Essentially there are no rules, but as a beginner we’d suggest working with our Bowed Empire or French Drum Frame, both of which are straightforward to make.


  • Features a gentle taper with a 10cm difference between the top and bottom ring diameters.

  • A good starting point for beginners, this frame can be used to create traditional sectional fabric shade covers in two, four or eight pieces and pleated lampshades.

  • Available in 25cm, 30cm, 35cm and 40cm bottom frame diameter.

  • Gentle flare out at the base, to create a classic bell-shaped shade.

  • Features flat top and bottom rings, this frame works with a variety of techniques, such as pleating, swathed fabrics and fitted swathed fabric.

  • Available in a nine different bottom frame diameters, ranging from 5 inches to 22 inches.


  • Traditional bell style shape with a flat top and scalloped bottom edge. 

  • Features 8 struts and can be used with sectional fabric shade covers in two, four or eight pieces.

  • Available in a eight different bottom frame diameters, ranging from 6 inches to 22inches.

The Binding

The foundation of a traditional soft lampshade is binding the frame with Cotton Tape, to give a base to sew your outer cover and inner lining onto.


Cotton Tape is the go-to tape for lampshade makers, due to its flat weave, strength and flexibility. We stock two different widths - 12mm and 20mm, both in white. For a small or medium-sized shade, our 12mm cotton tape is perfect, with the 20mm tape being better for larger shades, to cover more surface area.


Other useful tools and product for the binding stage are:

  • Mini Wonder Clips - to make sure your Cotton Tape binding doesn’t come unravelled.

  • Gutterman Extra Upholstery Thread – available in black and white, to secure your binding in place.  

The Fabric

Picking a fabric allows you to stamp your personality on your shade! Whether you opt for plain or patterned fabric there are a few things to consider:

  • A medium weight woven fabric is forgiving and easy to handle.

  • Think about the pattern or print on the fabric, because as it's used on the bias it will be angled at 45 degrees, for example, a striped fabric will not run perpendicular to the struts of the shade but will be turned so the seams form chevrons on each side.

  • For your first soft shade, you may want to consider either a plain fabric or a striped fabric, as this can visually help you find the bias of the fabric.

  • If you choose an all-over pattern, check the pattern scale against the size of frame, including which parts of the pattern you want to capture in your final lampshade.


Our range of high quality plain and patterned fabric have been specially selected for lampshade making:


  • Chic Plain Range The industry's most popular plain textile - woven and dyed specifically for making soft or rigid lampshades. Available in 35 colours, and made from 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton Composite, is 1110gsm and has a smooth, lightweight finish.

  • Cordoba Plain Cotton Range – A soft, durable plain fabric that can be used both in soft and hard shades, clothing, and craft projects. Made from 100% cotton, the Cordoba Range is slightly heavier in weight at 150gsm and available in 23 colours.

  • Chatham Printed Linen – A range of classic linen-look material in a fabulous and extensive range of vibrant, digitally printed designs. Medium weight at 200gsm, many of these unique patterned designs will work perfectly for soft lampshades, due to the pattern direction working in the bias.

The Lining

A lining has many functions; to help reflect the from the bulb; to hide any raw edges and binding and to give your handmade lampshade a professional finish.


Our white 2-way Stretch Lining Fabric is ideal for lining lampshades. It’s 100% polyester, can be bought by the meter and measures 160cm wide, making it ideal for larger lampshades or for several smaller shades.


If you prefer to use a woven fabric as a lining, consider spaying with our Fire Proofing Spray, in advance to ensure your lining fabric is safe and protected.

The Trim 

Add a trim is like the cherry on your soft lampshade! And we have plenty of trims to choose from including braid, lace, ric rac, pompoms, and even sequins!


With the option of two common methods of attaching your trim – either sewing or gluing – nearly all our soft trims will ensure a bespoke (and colourful!) professional finishing touch to your handmade soft lampshade.

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