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'Bee happy' lampshade with a vinyl interior by Three Bears Prints

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Starting with this bee-autiful lampshade, we're thrilled to announce our new series of shade collaborations with Marliese of Three bear Prints. Over the coming weeks we'll be showing off not only her fabulous designs, but also how you can use our lampshade kits and lampshade making materials in different ways, with a large helping of Marliese's creative inspiration!

For this 40cm diameter lampshade, Marliese used her handcrafted lino cuts of three large bumblebees placed on a background of white lino cut flowers to form the basis of her design. By making the bees very large in size, Marliese knew these would tie in with the drama of the yellow inner, making the lampshade into a real feature piece.

The yellow inner is one of our many coloured gloss vinyls, and you can see how Marliese applied this to her lampshade in her fantastic step-by-step tutorial below. The two yellows together really pack a punch and the block of colour certainly makes the shade standout!

By using our fabric printing service, Marliese was able to incorporate 3 sets of her bee design into the circumference of the lampshade. To make this easier, we provide a template as as part of the printing service, which helped Marliese plan how the design should look. If you are able to create your own fabric designs, Dannells can print this onto a fabric especially designed for lampshades.

What you need to make your vinyl interior shade:

Yellow vinyl - 1.5 metres (all vinyls are are 610mm wide)

How to apply vinyl to the inside of your shade

First of all, I attached the vinyl to the lampshade PVC. Before starting this step, I watched this Dannells' tutorial, so I was clear on the technique. This is an unusual process using water - protect your table surface if you need to. Cut the vinyl to size, around 5cm larger than the size of the lampshade PVC.

2. Lay the vinyl over the lampshade PVC. Make sure the PVC is in the centre, with the 5cm border around. You want to have the lampshade PVC with the backing sheeting face down onto your table. Lay the vinyl so that the coloured side is facing up. I had to keep everything in place with some makeshift weights.

3. Make a hinge with masking tape along the top of the length of the vinyl.

4. Flip the vinyl over using the masking tape as a hinge.

5. If you are worried about losing the position of the lampshade PVC, mark the corners out with masking tape on your table.

6. Soak the PVC panel with a soap and water mixture - 3 drops washing up liquid to 250 millilitres of water. Go right up to and over the edges of the PVC panel, wetting your table area around the PVC panel. Don't get the vinyl wet.

7. Carefully peel the backing off the vinyl. Be careful not to get it wet.

8. Flip your vinyl over and lay it onto your PVC as smoothly as possible. If you are able to get help to do this, I would recommend this! (I did not have help but I can see that if you had an extra pair of hands, it would go on smoother).

9. Starting in the centre, use a plastic card (or a lamination squeegee) to press out the bubbles/water towards the edges and smooth the vinyl onto the backing.

10. Trim off the vinyl from around the PVC, which will also give you an opportunity to remove any stubborn air bubbles.

11. You may have some stubborn wrinkles and bubbles. Using a hairdryer to heat the plastic will resolve most of them. Some of them just disappear when you apply heat - others will need to be smoothed with your fingers, pushing the air towards the edge. Be careful not to overheat the vinyl as it may stretch or warp. Leave to dry.

12. There is a 'kiss cut' or a pre-marked cut along the length of the top and bottom of the PVC. Fold this up to leave a mark on the vinyl. Score along the vinyl with a craft knife, so that it comes away with the PVC when you remove these strips in step 16.

13. On this composite image you can see the special lampshade fabric printed with the bee design. Place the PVC, backing side down and vinyl side up onto the wrong side of your fabric. If it helps, you could mark out exactly where it should go on your fabric. I also mask taped one end of the PVC into position to hold it in position ready for the next step.

14. Peel the backing off one end and place it into position on the fabric. Smooth the PVC on. Peel the backing off gradually and smooth the PVC onto the fabric the whole length.

15. Peel the strips off the length from the top and bottom of the PVC.

16. The fabric and backing is now ready to be applied to the rings!

17. Put a line of tape along one edge of the PVC. This will be used to stick the seam of the lampshade.

18. Now it's time to move onto the rings. Press the double sided tape all the way round the first ring - I always do this to the one with the struts as you can lay this easily on the table. Peel off the backing. Go round the second ring with double sided tape.

19. Place each ring just under the edge of the PVC. Place both rings onto PVC at the same time. Keep them exactly perpendicular to edge of the PVC. Roll the fabric over as you go to secure them. It is really important to make sure you have the correct ring top and bottom. I had to peel off my fabric and start again, not once but twice ,as I made silly mistakes! You need to align the ring with the struts either top or bottom, depending if it is a ceiling shade or lamp base shade. The struts should face inwards.

20. Cut a slit when you get to a strut to ease the fabric round it.

21. Here you can see the ring rolled halfway. Keep everything taut.

22. On this composite image, you can see the lampshade near completion. Stick down the seam where the PVC overlaps, removing the backing from the double-sided tape you stuck earlier in step 18.

24. The lampshade is nearly finished! Use the tool provided to tuck the fabric in behind the ring.

25. The lampshade is finally finished. The oversized bees and bright colours make it a real talking point and I love that it creates a stunning feature in the my living room - a modern bright contrast to my Victorian mantelpiece.

About Three Bears Prints

Fabric designer, Marliese of Three Bears Prints lives in Perth Scotland, where nature becomes the inspiration for her fabric collection, but her creative ideas don't stop there.

As well as designing fabrics, she's a dedicated furniture up-cycler, lampshade maker and sewer, and has a second muse in her daughter, for whom she creates fun fabric designs, such as her train track and halloween fabrics. Her designs are available as fabric and wallpaper and can be bought from her website. See her tips and handout on lampshade making here.

Follow Marliese on Instagram @threebearsprints and on Facebook.


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