Book Review – Handmade Lampshades by Natalia Price – Cabrera

Often referred to as the ‘go – to’ lampshade making book, Natalia Price – Cabrera’s book Handmade Lampshade certainly earns it’s moniker.


Packed with essential information for starting to make lampshades, as well as hint and tips for seasoned shade makers, it’s full of practical step by steps project for soft frames and rigid shades. We thought we’d delve inside and tell you more about this ‘all you need to know’ guide on our favourite subject.


Craft books come in all shapes and sizes covering a huge variety of subjects. Some are very niche and some take a more broad brush approach. Feeling a little lack lustre when researching her new passion for lampshade making, Natalia used her knowledge from her role as an Editor in the Publishing industry to create a book that not only explains everything you need to know about lampshade making, but also provides eye catching and inspirational images worthy of a coffee table tome, to get the reader's creative juices flowing!


The book has a strong focus on reusing and injecting new life into shades that would have gone to waste, and even has a step by step guide on stripping back a charity shop shade, stemming from Natalia’s own journey into shade making, as well featuring tutorials using new materials to create lampshades from scratch.


Having a very specific idea for a shade for her newly renovated dining room and not being able to find exactly what she wanted (we’ve all been there :)), Natalia picked up an old lampshade frame at the tip, did her research and became hooked. Sitting hand in hand with her love of up-cycling furniture and upholstery, she took courses in traditional lampshade-making techniques, all of which she shares with us in this fantastic book.

'Frida Rocks'

Beautifully laid out, creating a journey for the reader, Natalia introduces how to make lampshades starting with a potted history of the lampshade, then moving onto factual information about types of frames, the anatomy of the lampshade and types of lighting – all with clear images, which are great as a point of reference to flick back to.


We particularly liked ‘The Lampshade Workshop’ section outlining what tools you’ll need (we love the use of wooden coffee stirrers for adding glue to trims), Fabrics (covering everything from Sari fabric to Velvet) and Trimmings and Embellishments.


'The Basic Techniques' is where the action starts, with clear and concise step by step images and instructions on how to bind a frame, make and insert a lining, make a gimbal tidy and much more in between. The level of detail is second to none and we liked the handy tip boxes highlighted in red, that continue through the lampshade project pages.


The Projects


Handily broken down by frame type, technique, project time and skill level each of the 16 step by step projects include a ‘Fabric and Decoration’ section, naming the quantities and fabrics used and a ‘Tools and Materials’ section, listing everything you’ll need to make the project. And at least five of the projects can be made using materials from our website – Dannells.com.


We found the step by steps extremely easy to follow and it’s clear each project has been thoughtfully put together, leaving the reader in no doubt that they are doing the right thing at the right time.


The Skill Levels range from ‘1 light bulb’, a simple drum lampshade such as the 'Pixie Folk' shade to ‘5 light bulbs’, a more complex soft shade such as the 'Frida Rocks' (the book's cover lampshade) or the 'Ikata' below. Stepping through the skill levels takes you from soft shade making tutorials to double sided drum shades (Disco Digitale) and even tackles making your own lampshade template (Dotty Love).

'Disco Digitale'
'Ikata'

For the more experimental among you, you’ll enjoy the challenges of lampshade fabric decoupage ('La Gitana'), a dip dyed shade ('Alchemy Tatiana') and a spot of hand embroidery ('Lady Penelope').

'Alchemy: Tatiana'

Check out our favourite scrap busting project, from the book, the 'Fairy Lanterns' and the version we made for the blog earlier in the year - How to make a mini lampshade garland for Spring.


To finish off, the book has a more inspirational lampshade pics, bios of some of the projects collaborators (a lovely read in themselves), a great resource listing (including us!) and a useful glossary of lampshade making terms.


Overall, this book definitely lives up to its reputation and should provide you with the confidence to take your lampshade skills to the next level and if nothing else take in some stunning images to whet your lampshade making appetite.


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