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Book Review - 50 Thrifty DIY Shades by Adeline Lobut

50 Thrifty DIY Shades is book based around you guessed it.…decorative shades that can be made up of scraps of fabrics, bits and bobs and unusual materials. Packed with traditional lampshades and more quirky upcycling ideas for making shades, there are plenty of interesting projects, and skills, to get your teeth into, or as always to inspire your own lampshade making practise.

When reading a book review we always find it interesting to found out a bit about the author and their motivation for writing the book and how they connect to lampshade making, but Adeline Lobut has proved a bit of a mystery. We did discover that she’s French and is an Editor and writer at Marie Claire publishing with a few creative titles to her own name, but that’s as far as the internet would take us. Clearly apparent from the projects in the book, she has a passion for upcycling, but with a chic twist - many of the lampshades featured in the book wouldn’t look out of place in a Parisian home!

The book starts with a brief instruction to making two types of shade – a standard 30cm drum shade and a ‘conical shade’ similar to our Candle Clip Lampshade Making kit, but on a larger scale. We found the instructions a little thin, especially for a beginner and instead of using tape to adhere to the rings, strong PVA glue is suggested, which we personally wouldn’t suggest. It might be best to use one of lampshade making kits to try out some of the drum lampshade projects first, then move on to constructing your own shade?

So what’s can we expect from the chapters? The ‘Wool and Fabric’ chapter includes and our pick of the projects is this pretty shade pictured below made from mixed ribbons and old head scarves. The placement of the scarves make all the difference and the more contrasting the better!

In the ‘Beads, Ribbons and Scoobies’ chapter there are a few more complex beaded shades, for those with time and patience. The understated ‘Round lampshade’ caught our eye though, made using scoobies, which interestingly is the knotting that we most commonly known for making friendship bracelets. With lots of similarities to the current on trend craft, macramé, we thought this would look great in any modern interior and at the back of the book is handy step by step guide on how to create the knots.

Always a fan of a bold and colourful lampshades, the cover shade sits in the ‘Upcycling’ chapter. A simple, but fun paper shade with a tin can base, other possibilities for this idea could be to use strips of fabric adhered to strips of lampshade making PVC, with our French drum frame.

Other highlights include the 'Gentleman’s lampshade' cleverly put together from pre-loved ties, the ‘Photo booth’ shade, which could be easily transformed with printed digital images to create photo booth strips and the beautifully simple ‘White Silk’ paper shade, made from silk paper, a salad bowl and a Camembert box – the results are tres chic!

Overall this book is the perfect eye candy for the keen upcycler or experimental lampshade maker and while the project instructions aren’t that detailed, with some previous lampshade making experience they are all very achievable.

One of the best parts of any creative book is that if it isn’t your personal style you can just adapt, by changing out the materials or swapping the colours to get to your desired end result. And we’re looking forward to seeing what you might take and make from 50 Thrifty DIY Lampshades.


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