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Shade Carrier Systems explained

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

If you’ve been making lampshades, using our Lampshade Making Kits, you’ll be aware that there are two different methods to attach your lampshade to a lamp base, the first being a standard utility fitting and the second being a duplex fitting, the later of which needs to be used with shade carrier system.

As shade carriers systems can sometimes be a little confusing, we thought we’d straighten the record and explain the difference and the benefits this has for you, as a shade maker, in today’s blog post.

First of all let’s start by exploring the shade fittings…

Standard utility fittings

Found at the centre of lampshade making ring, a standard utility fitting attaches to a lamp base or pendant light fitting and is part of a utility ring. Paired with a plain ring, these are used to make rigid lampshades and are part of our drum , square, rectangle, oval and hexagon lampshade making kits. Also it’s worth noting that all of our utility rings come with a reducer ring making them suitable for both UK and European lamp fittings.

Duplex fittings

A duplex fitting is a double ring, hence the name duplex, which can be found in our Coolie and Empire Lampshade Making Kits.

The wider ring of the two sits at the top of the lampshade, leaving the small ring sitting below and free for use with a shade carrier system. The smaller and lower of the two rings are a standard size, measuring 110 mm in diameter and this is always positioned 4.5 to 5 cm below the top ring, regardless of the size of the lampshade.At the bottom of the shade is a plain ring and both Empire and Coolie shades are known for their graduating shapes, with a narrow top and wider base.

Shade carrier systems and how they work

When making your lampshade using a duplex ring, to sit the lampshade on a base you will need a shade carrier. The diameter of each of our shade carriers is the same making this a universal system and they fit onto any British (BC) or (E27) European lamp holder fittings.

The shade carrier attaches to the lamp base and is secured in place using the threaded ring, which you’ll find around the light bulb holder. The lower of the two duplex rings, then simply sits on top of the shade carrier.

Benefits of a shade carrier

Available in a variety of heights - 4”, 5”, 6”, 7”, 8” 9”, 10” & 12” high - a shade carrier system allows you to control the height between the bottom edge of your shade and the lamp base. This gives you the option to show off the lamp base (i.e. using a taller shade carrier) or creating a low lighting option (i.e using a shorter shade carrier), for a cosy feel.

A shade carrier system also makes it easy to clean the shade and base by simply lifting the shade off the carrier. We'd recommend then dusting the shade with a Lampshade Cleaning Foam. Many hotels and restaurants use shade carriers with their lampshade for this reason.

Traditional shades

The shade carrier system is also used in conjunction with a number of more traditional soft shade frames, such as the French Drum lampshade frame, Bowed Empire lampshade frames, and with our larger sized Scallop Lampshade Frames.

Pendant light with duplex fittings

And if you change your mind and would like to use a duplex lampshade as a pendant light that's possible too! By attaching a Spider (a lampshade duplex adapter) to your pendant light fitting and reach your duplex shade up and over the spider (ladders advised for this!), then let the spider 'catch' the lampshade , allowing it to hang in place.

You Tube Video

Finally, if you'd still like to know more you can watch Sam, our Demonstrator explain how to use a shade carriers in more detail in the You Tube video below.

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