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BEAM - Professional Lampshade making safety standards

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Making and selling lampshades may be your dream job, but have your thought about the more regulatory and safety considerations of retailing your own lampshades?

In this BEAM post we’ve collated information, standards and guidance in association with The Lighting Industry Association (LIA), to highlight what you need to know from a safety perspective and to ensure the hard lampshades you’re making are to the highest possible safety standards.

Lighting terminology

Before we start delving deeper into our safety standards in this post, let’s check in on everyday lampshade terminology:

Incandescent light bulbs

Incandescent bulbs have been used for over a century and have been used as the main light source for domestic dwellings, due to being available in many different sizes and wattages. Also known as filament lights, due to the light up ‘filament’ housed within the glass bulb, incandescent bulbs are no longer available and have since been superseded by the Compact Fluorescent Lamp below. Check out our more detailed information on how an incandescent bulbs works.

Incandescent Lamps (Light bulbs)
Download PDF • 239KB

Halogen Light Bulbs

Halogen is a type of lighting technology that is essentially an enhanced version of an incandescent light bulb . With similar technology to and incandescent bulbs Halogen light bulbs have tungsten filaments housed in a quartz capsule and filled with iodine and bromine gases. From October 2021 a number of types of halogen lamps are no longer allowed to be sold in the UK, with the eventual phasing out taking place by 2023. To understand more on how a Halogen Light Bulb works download the PDF below.

Halogen Lamps
Download PDF • 186KB

Compact Fluorescent Lamp

CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) light bulbs are the most common type of energy-saving bulb available today. An excellent energy-efficient alternative to the traditional incandescent bulbs, there are a wide range of bulb styles now on the market, some which are designed to mimic an incandescent bulb, and these are measured in both wattage and lumens.

LED Lamps

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are the latest development in the lighting industry. Made popular by their efficiency, range of colour, and long lifespan, LED lights are ideal for numerous applications including night lighting, art lighting, and outdoor lighting and are seen as the environmentally responsible light source going forward.


The wattage of the light is the amount of energy it takes to produce a certain amount of light. The higher the wattage, the brighter the light, but also the more power it uses.


Lumens (denoted by lm) are a measure of the total amount of visible light (to the human eye) from a lamp or light source. The higher the lumen rating the “brighter” the lamp will appear.

For further information on types of light bulb caps, take a look at our Common Cap Lamps PDF below.

Common Cap Lamps
Download PDF • 305KB

Dual Wattage Marking of Luminaires for Incandescent and Compact Fluorescent Lamps

When making a lampshade to retail it’s good practise to give your customer as much information as possible, particularly when advising them on what wattage bulb to use.

The Lighting Association give this guidance on the luminaire marking of incandescent maximum wattage ratings:

‘Several customers have requested advice concerning the luminaire marking of incandescent maximum wattage ratings, as these lamps are being phased out and will be no longer available, and the option of marking CFL equivalent.

Additional marking of the CFL equivalent is being requested by several retailers. This should not be used in place of the normal incandescent wattage marking and is included for information only.

The manufacturer is responsible for product safety and they should consider each product on a case by case basis to ensure safety is not compromised. It should be noted that, for lamps, wattage equivalence marking will be replaced by lumen equivalence marking to help consumers make the correct choice of replacement lamps in the future.’

At the time of writing, there is no further regulatory guidance on marking Lumens on handmade lampshades, but we advise professional lampshade makers continue to mark the wattage, to inform customers. This can be done using our 40 and 60 wattage stickers which can be applied to the handmade lampshade using the guidance explained in our handy PDF that's available in the next section.

Guide to wattage recommendations

A major yet often overlooked aspect of lampshade selection is safety—specifically, heat generation in relation to shade size. Higher wattage bulbs generate greater amounts of heat and require more ventilation, which means larger or wider shades must be used.

For example, for a 60-watt bulb, there must be at least 75mm of space between the bulb and the backing of the lampshade. Very simply, the higher the wattage, the larger the shade.

This is less relevant when it comes to LED bulbs which emit negligible heat compared with alternative sources.

Take a look at our handy PDF below which included a Heat Ventilation Guide

Bulb Wattage
Download PDF • 136KB

Fire Resistance and Glow Wire Testing

When retailing handmade lampshades it is important to ensure that the components you are using to make your lampshades are the safest possible and manufactured for lampshade making.

Glow wire testing is an electrical safety test designed to evaluate the flame resistant properties of plastic materials used in electrical devices. Its purpose is to protect against the risk of fire from overheated or electrically energised parts which may cause the plastic material to ignite.

Our Stick It Lampshade Making PVC range has been tested in the Lighting Association Laboratories and has passed the glow wire test meaning that fabrics, textiles or papers that are laminated to our PVC will become fire resistant.

Download our test certificate from which show that our products have been tested rigorously.

In relation to the textiles used for making lampshades REGULATION (EU) No 1007/2011, applies where weight of fabric is greater than 80% of product. Most fabrics used on hard shades are below this level therefore labeling is not normally required.

Regulations for portable luminaire in UK and Europe

If alongside retailing lampshades you also sell lamp bases and other lights it’s essential to be aware of the following guidelines supplied by The Lighting Industry Association.

EURO Plug to UK Plug Adaptors

‘The UK Plugs, Sockets, etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 SI 1768 require that manufacturers, of portable electrical equipment for domestic use, fit a UK BS1363 approved plug or, alternatively, for equipment fitted with a plug other than the UK type, an adaptor which must not be removable without the use of a tool. The adaptor must be of an approved type.

In the interest of safety, certain portable luminaires are required to maintain correct polarity for example:

i) portable luminaires incorporating an in-line single pole switching device (the switch needs to be maintained in the live conductor);

ii) portable luminaires incorporating an Edison Screw lamp holder (the live conductor needs to be connected to the centre contact); etc.

Two pole European plugs inherently on their own cannot maintain polarity and are not required to do so in continental Europe.

In the UK however, users are historically accustomed to a polarised supply and could expect a level of safety not forthcoming with uncontrolled polarity.

It is therefore important, when fitting a polarised adaptor to a two-pin non-polarised plug, to undertake a correct polarity check prior to final fitting of the adaptor. Alternatively, it may be appropriate to consider use of a double-pole in-line switching device.

It has further come to our attention that certain Euro type two pole plugs do not fit comfortably within adaptors currently on the market, i.e. the adaptor does not close fully around the Euro plug possibly due to the different sizes of Euro plug. In each case LIA members are reminded of their duty of care to supply only safe products. In any case of doubt the Euro plug should be removed and replaced with a correctly fitted and appropriately fused approved UK BS1363 type plug.’

Lighting and related standards

This list of standards is provided as a guide for use by manufacturers. A complete list of standards is available from British Standards (BSI) Standards are continually being up-dated, amended, withdrawn and/or re-issued. Every effort is made to maintain this list up to date.

  • British Standards are the body responsible for the issue and publication of standards in the UK.

  • CENELEC is the European body responsible for the preparation of electrical standards in Europe.

  • IEC (the International Electrotechnical Commission) is responsible for the preparation and publication of electrical standards worldwide.

  • CEN is the European body responsible for the preparation of other (non-electrical) standards in Europe.

  • ISO (the International Standards Organisation) is responsible for the preparation and publication of other (non-electrical) standards worldwide.

Every effort is made by the above bodies to align standards. For instance, in the lighting industry, most of the work on standardisation is carried out at IEC level resulting in international standards.

Need any further help?

As LIA members, Dannells Ltd are happy to supply further regulatory information should you require it so don't hesitate to get in touch at


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