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Lampshade making tips: How to tuck fabric around the rings on a drum lampshade

Do you get frustrated with bulky and unsightly fabric around the top and bottom rings (rolled edge) of your handmade drum or coolie lampshades? Read on for more top tips from our Lampshade makers group to help you make professional lampshades. (If you’d like to join our lampshade makers group we’ll tell you how further down).

How to neatly tuck fabric into the top and base ring on a drum or coolie lampshade

When making lampshades there are many variables to consider, not least the type of fabric you are using. For a drum or coolie lampshade you will find less weighty cotton fabrics are easier to work with than a heavy wool, velvet or Harris Tweed. The latter will be harder to tuck in around the edges of the rings and you will possibly need slightly more fabric to ensure tucking the edges in thoroughly.

Alison dye_Facebook group Dannells_fraying fabric


  1. Iron your fabric first, this makes the fabric stiffer and easier to work with.

  2. Starching the fabric will give it even more structure.

If the fabric is thick I usually cut it a little wider at the seam end to ensure there is enough to tuck in
  1. A few of our professional makers in the group suggest leaving a ‘tab’ (excess fabric) at the outside end of the fabric. See the image below. This ensures there is enough fabric to tuck under the rings where the fabric is at its bulkiest due to its being doubled up at the seam.

Jane Warren – The Lampshade Loft

  1. Reduce the bulk by cutting a little bit out from the layer underneath. (At the seam, as above).

  2. Cut according to fabric thickness, not just around the PVC. I usually allow an extra couple of mm around the PVC edge.

Can I suggest start tucking under two or three tucks, then move along 2 or 3 inches then working back to where you started then repeating. This should stop the fabric gathering. (On rolling the fabric around the rings). Marg Hinds
  1. When applying your double sided tape to the rings you can do it in three ways:

  2. Apply the tape to your fabric

  3. apply the tape to your rings along the length of the rings

  4. Apply your tape wrapped around the rings, like this:

This is the way I’ve always done it ( I was taught to do it this way), I find it helps when tucking the fabric under. If I’m making 15cm or smaller I put it on the other way (not wrapped round just on the outside edge) Emma Rockman
  1. When pulling the fabric over the top rings, pull it upwards first, then over, then tuck under the rings. ‘I find if I use a very thin fabric, it can pucker around the rings. Having the vertical pull up first avoids this’.

  2. When using tricky fabric this has been suggested:  A thin layer of interlining in the ring creates padding which ensures you don’t get any wrinkles.

  3. It is possible to cover the rolled edge with tape or bias binding, like this:

Ruth Kirby_dannells facebook group_bias binding drum shade

Ruth Kirby

How do you finish yours?

We’d love to hear other tips in the comments below!

These tips are from the lovely members of our lampshade makers group, would you like to join for support and inspiration with your DIY lampshades? Join HERE.

Lampshade making tips

For more professional lampshade making tips read: Finishing touches for making the perfect handmade lampshade

Are you ready to buy your first lampshade making kit? See our huge range of lampshade making supplies and kits HERE

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