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Lampshade Inspiration - How to use laminated parchments

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Parchment lampshades are back! Offering a delicate, soft glow and holding plenty of possibilities for creativity, their natural feel fits well with many interior trends.

Just a small step up in terms of skill from making one of our lampshade making kits in this post we'll introduce you to five types of parchment and tips on how to finish your parchment shades.

The Story of Parchment

Over the years lampshades have been made from many materials and parchments, although used previously, came into popularity in the 40’s and 50’s, due to their semi-transparent nature, durability and from a maker perspective, how easily they could be cut to shape.

Real parchments were traditionally made from goats skins, which were treated and manipulated, so they were soft and supple. Paper is the modern day replacement, often made from cellulose fibers prepared from fir trees or plants such as cotton or flax.

Why use parchments for lampshade making?

By using a laminated parchment for a lampshade you can create a variety of hard shades, in combination with our rigid frames, with both traditional and modern aesthetics.

More translucent than our standard Stick-It lampshade making PVC, which is used with your choice of fabric, our parchments are available in a range of finishes and textures. Additionally, the paper outer makes it the ideal canvass for drawing, printing and painting onto meaning you can add your own personal twist to each lampshade you make.

Our parchment is available to buy 'off the roll' by the metre and comes in a variety of widths that are detailed below for each type.

Is it safe to use parchment for lampshade making?

As our range of parchment papers are adhered to our thinnest clear Stick It lampshade making PVC, therefore any lampshade you make using these products will be fire resistant. All our PVC backings have been tested and passed the glow wire test carried out by the Lighting Industry Association.

Introducing our Parchment range

Each of our parchments has different textures, colours and light up effects, so here's our guide to each parchment, its qualities and ideas on what you can use it for.

1. Nimbus Light Parchment

True to traditional parchment in appearance, our Nimbus Light Parchment is quality marbled paper and is laminated to clear 300micron PVC for making rigid lampshades. When lit, this product emits a warm glow, which enhances the attractive mottled effect beautifully. Popular for more traditional shades, the Nimbus Light Parchment will create a sense of age and history.


  • Laminated to clear 300micron

  • PVCWidth: 132cms (59")

  • Colour: Cream

2. Perga Natural Parchment

A cloudy and natural coloured cigarette paper, Perga Natural Parchment gives an organic, natural and semi-translucent look and allows plenty of light through. Popular amongst our lampshade making community this paper is ideal for printing or drawing onto.


  • Laminated to clear 300micron PVC

  • Width: 148cms (58")

  • Colour: Natural

3. Perga White Parchment

Clean and minimalist Perga White traditional paper has a Shoji effect, used in Japanese architecture for window screens. Although cloudy, this white cigarette paper parchment emits plenty of light and is perfect for contemporary rigid lampshade making. Again suitable for printing or drawing onto.


  • Laminated to clear 300micron PVC

  • Width: 148cms (58")

  • Colour: White

4. Pergacel (Decorative embossed card)

This beautiful white Pergacel has stunning, finely embossed patterns that generate an enhanced decorative effect when lit, giving it the appearance of Alabaster. Flexible, rigid and strong enough to make lampshade on its own, this is not laminated to a lampshade making PVC and for fire resistancy can be used in conjunction with our Fire Proofing Spray.


  • Width 122cm

  • Colour: White

5. Biche

A popular classic, our embossed Biche parchment material has a subtle surface texture that is seen once lit and emits a warm glow due to the translucency and the cream surface of the biche.


  • Laminated to clear 300micron PVC

  • Width: 90cms (35")

  • Colour: Cream

Tips for making a parchment shade

Different to making one of our Lampshade Making Kits that are made up with fabric, parchment has no fabric margin to tuck under the frames. Usually this, along with the doubled sided tape on the frame, is the main mechanism of holding your shade together, but instead check out our three 'finishing' options that can be used when making a parchment shade.

Bias binding

Bias binding comes in many widths, colours and patterns and is great way of completing your parchment shade, whilst also adding a bit of personality. Using exactly the same method as you would with a Lampshade Making Kit, follow our recent blog tutorial on Applying Bias Binding.

Chic tapes

In place of bias binding try our chic self-adhesive binding tapes which are available in a huge range of colours. Easy to apply they can be stuck directly onto the front of your parchment shade, then pushed over the ring and tucked in behind the frame.

Use our Applying Bias Binding tutorial as a guide for the depth when applying to the front of the shade.

Thonging or sewing

Before adhesives, many shades were held together using thong, narrow strips of leather which would be woven ttryhrough holes made in the parchment. This method is easy to recreate by carefully measuring and marking the holes along both edges of the shade and then punching using a belt punch, before threading. Take a look at our Neon Stitched Empire Cork Lampshade tutorial, which uses the same process.

Try before you buy

If you want to see and feel the parchments featured for yourself, we'd be only to happy to send them to you. Simply send your sample request to

Happy shade making!


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