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Introducing lampshade diffusers + DIY bespoke fabric diffuser tutorial

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

'Diffuser' might be a new word for your lampshade lexicon, but they’re a handy addition to your lampshade making materials, enabling you to change the look of your shade and the light it emits.

Far from dull, our diffusers come in a range of shapes, sizes and patterns and if you're keen to add another aesthetic trick to your arsenal, we'll take you through what you need to know about diffusers, as well as a handy tutorial on how to make your own from your chosen fabric.

What’s a diffuser?

A diffuser is a lightweight disk that sits in the bottom of a pendant lampshade, i.e. those hung from the ceiling. These can be translucent polypropylene (not transparent or see through) or opaque with a die cut hole in their centre, made from foamex.

What does a diffuser do?

The diffuser is used to diffuse the light from a lampshade, creating a softer and widespread light, meaning the light is not concentrated in one spot. From an aesthetics point of view diffusers are especially useful for hiding a bulb and help to draw your eye to the lampshade design instead. Diffusers work especially well on larger shades, bringing a sense of both completion and functionality as demonstrated below by Marliese from Three Bears Prints below, which she used to finish her super-sized 70 cm shade. Check out full post here - Super Drum Parakeet Shade post.

What shapes of diffusers are available?

Our diffusers come in an array of shapes and sizes fitting our Circular, Rectangle, Square, Oval, Triangle and Hexagon lampshade making frames.

Are they all plain?

No! We also stock a range of decorative die cut diffusers, in a variety for patterns to add a real point of difference to your finished Lampshade Making Kit.

Whether you opt for a floral pattern, classic louvered design or a fun star pattern, each comes with two sections – a premium foamex diffuser cut with your chosen design and a translucent circular diffuser that will be placed on top.

Bespoke fabric diffusers

What's better then one of our off the shelf diffusers? The one you make yourself of course! By combining a standard translucent diffuser, with our Textile Self Adhesive Film and your choice of fabric the world is your oyster in terms of style and colour. Create a bold statement by matching your diffuser to your outer lampshade fabric or use a patterned fabric to accentuate the shade's colours and tones.

A patterned fabric provides a beautiful contrast, between the unlit and lit version and creates a definite feature you wouldn't necessarily expect! Find out how to make your own using the tutorial below.

What you’ll need to make your own fabric lampshade diffuser

Diffuser to fit your lampshade – we used a 30cm diameter diffuser


Masking tape

Fabric measuring approx 33 x 33 cm (or for other sizes just add 3cm to each side of your diffuser)

How to make your own fabric lampshade diffuser

1. Iron your fabric removing any creases and place face down on a clean, flat surface.

2. Unroll the Textile Self Adhesive Film and cut to roughly 2cm wider than your diffuser. The film is extremely high tack, so we found it easier to secure this to our surface using pieces of masking tape in each corner, with the tacky side facing up.

3. Place the diffuser carefully onto the Textile Self Adhesive Film and firmly press down a little at a time.

4. Turn over and smooth down.

5. Cut around the edge using either scissors or a cutting knife and cutting mat.

6. Remove the backing paper to reveal around 5cm of the diffuser.

7. Place the pre-ironed fabric onto the Textile Self Adhesive Film sheet, over the tacky section that has been revealed and smooth into place.

8. Repeat pulling away the backing paper in small sections and smoothing the fabric down at each stage.

9. Carefully cut around the edges of the fabric.

10. Gently bend the diffuser to place inside of the open end of your lampshade and let this drop to sit again the plain ring.

11. Voila! You've made your own bespoke fabric diffuser.

Creative Diffusers

Earlier in the year we interviewed Karen Kench of Kettle of Fish Designs, who designs clever bespoke diffusers using historic imagery, which can be purchased from her website to add to an existing lampshades. We love her witty and charming Zoetrope style lampshade diffuser that brings a whole new life to a plain lampshade.

Karen says, ‘Some designs will work with a patterned diffuser, others won’t. Generally, I prefer a plain shade with a patterned diffuser, as it’s just more distinctive. For my cloud lampshade, I thought it could look a bit ‘heavy’ with clouds all over, so I’ve designed a diffuser that looks plain until you put the light on and the clouds appear.’

Read more about Kettle of Fish and Karen in our Meet the Maker post.


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