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Embroidery with The Art of the Needle

So the person I’m introducing you to this week is the wonderful embroidery artist Elizabeth Tapper from the Art of the Needle. Elizabeth creates decorative hand embroidery and is a designer and teacher… Welcome to the world of the embroidered lampshade!

I’m a professionally trained hand embroiderer, with two small children, now living in Somerset. I first came across Needcraft’s lampshade kits when planning my hen party two years ago. Possibly an unusual choice for a hen party – but I loved it! It also meant I could combine this new love with my enduring love of hand embroidery and so I entered the world of the embroidered lampshade!

My professional training at the Royal School of Needlework introduced me to many different embroidery techniques. One was crewelwork, which uses stylised images from nature and this was the perfect choice for my new project. My design used undulating tendrils, buds, flowers and leaves. I decided to make a lampshade for each season, so Autumn would be reds and orange, Winter blues and grey, Spring pinks and yellow, Summer bright pinks and blue.


The wools arrived and I happily sighed over the lovely colours before deciding to start with Autumn as a trial run.

Once I was happy with Autumn, I framed up the fabric for the three remaining designs.

With the embroidery completed on the remaining three seasons, it was time to make them up into lampshades!

I cleared the table, turned on the radio and moved my coffee out of spilling distance.

embroidery strips ready to be made into lampshades

I’d carefully measured before embroidering to give myself just enough fabric for each one.

Each lampshade has a tiny embroidered snail with my initials.

I’m very pleased with the result – they look just as good when illuminated too. Possibly a whitework lampshade next…?

embroidered lampshade

Tips for making a perfect embroidered lampshade:

I’ve made several lampshades since that first time and have made a few tweaks to the instructions, which others may find helpful.

  1. Rather than have a raw edge on the outside of my lampshade which could end up fraying, I prefer to add a line of double-sided tape to the inside and fold the fabric over on this end. I then put a line of double-sided tape on top of this fold to stick it to the other side of the lampshade, as per the instructions.

  2. I only cut the fabric once the long edges have been broken, but not removed. This means there’s less time for the fabric to fray. Where the fabric has been doubled over, leave more of it to tuck over and into the frame.

close up image of lampshade making
  1. Always pull the long strips off away from the centre of the lampshade – this also reduces the amount the fabric frays.

  2. Make a small cut into the fabric where it touches the metal struts, so that it wraps around them. A solution to prevent fraying, such as Fraycheck, may be useful.If there’s a sticky line on the inside of the lampshade, gently rub it with a tiny bit of cream cleaner on a cloth.

  3. If there’s a sticky line on the inside of the lampshade, gently rub it with a tiny bit of cream cleaner on a cloth.

close up image of lampshade making

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