Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to make a drum shade

How to make a drum shade with a hula hoop!
What to do with that brass chandelier.

Go from this....


To This....

I have never been considered a very modern girl. Vintage yes, Old, at times. Grumpy? ugh... But modern no. I grew up loving the antiques my parents collected, so anything old and chippy, I always find myself cherishing it's beauty.  I am certainly a lamp, chandelier, lampshade collector too. I can't deny that about myself. So whenever I'm treasure hunting, there's always something calling my name within this category. If it has great lines, I'm taking it home! "Lady, step away from THAT shade!"
When our home was built, every builder used these cheap looking 5 arm brass chandeliers-even the picture above, which is similar but still not exact, doesn't show how bad mine really looks. It hangs above my head right now and I absolutely hate dislike it. (I dislike the word "hate".) I would love to tear it down from the icky popcorn ceiling and replace it with something else. I do have a replacement in the garage ready for it, but that requires my dearest to do the electrical work since I can't just rig it with a glue gun. Err. Pinning him down to do it though is a whole other story, so here I sit under this tragic early 90's rendition of blah.
Honestly I really shouldn't say this, it's really just my opinion and I didn't mind it way back then, I was so excited to begin our life together that they could have hung a piñata up there and it wouldn't have fazed me one bit. And I often see others still using theirs and in their homes it looks just fine. But my home is not traditional by any means,  It's "me". Can't really describe that, I can only tell you that the brass chandelier is not fitting in with my "me" décor. LOL
Over the years I have considered painting it. At one point I even had the hair brain notion to turn off all the power, you know, because safety first, and then swing from it, until it was ripped from the grips of the floor joists above, yelling and screaming with laughter all the way as it would crash to the floor. Yes I truly envisioned the whole thing! But then reality seeped back in when I realized, gee, I could get hurt and not a moment before. When I came to my senses, I realized how much I actually use it all year long to hang the ornaments on that I paint for Christmas while theyre drying. Err. Ok, it's certainly functional and I'm not an electrician, so I've got to come up with a safer idea.
Throughout the years, I'm always contemplating it's dimise, I have tried those little lamp shades. and they worked for a while, but I can still see the shiny fake brass. Again, I was going to paint it, but geesh, what a hassle when you can't take it down, besides I've already done this to my kitchen chandelier and I still have the shirt covered with paint as a reminder not to try THAT again! 
After a year of contemplating the doom of this eyesore, finally I decided on a modern drum shade like I had seen in a European Ad a year or two ago, to cover the whole thing. But finding one for the size I needed just became a continuous nightmare, always just a bit too small. Never the right size.
Eventually, I had seen somewhere that you can build a drum shade with just poster board and a couple of hula hoops and a glue gun. Bingo! Now this is right up my alley. I love to be able to DIY myself AND I get to use my trusty glue gun!
So I tried it and wanted to share it with you!

I measured the width of my chandelier first just to make sure I would purchase the right size hoop and off to Wal-Mart I go!
Here's my purchased list:
2 Hula Hoops $3.00 each
3 sheets of poster board  $0.33 each
***There is also a tutorial for using just poster board and hot glue towards the end***
Then the rest, I had at home already....
Glue for glue gun
Spray adhesive
Sewing machine (you can skip this step if you wish)
Just so you know, there were two different sizes for the hula hoops.
I bought the smaller one and mine was a bright orange plastic neon!
There are two sizes in those thick paper ones, but they were more expensive. 
$5.00 for the small one.
I knew my fabric would hide the coloring on the plastic ones and the bonus of these were they have a flat interior surface.
Here's what I did....
Measure all the way around the hula hoop.
Write it down, Measure twice, cut once they say.
I measured going around the OUTSIDE of the hoop to be safe.
Be sure to add inches on to your measurement so that you can overlap it later.
If you added too much on, you can always cut it off.
Decide what height you'd like your shade.
I did 14" as that was sufficient to cover the brass...WHOOPEE! I'm on my way!


Cut 3 sheets of poster board to the height you wish to have your shade. Again, this is what I cut down to 14" leaving the length of all 3 boards as they were.



Lay the poster board down flat and evenly glue those 3 sheets together to create the length of the shade going around, with some left over to overlap.

To be sure I had the correct length, I laid the measuring tape on the floor and then laid the poster board along it's length, this way I was able to eye the overlap for each one evenly.

Stand it up inside your hula hoop to make sure it can go all the way around with some extra. I allowed the overlap to be exactly the same amount of space that I did when I glued them together, for uniformity once the light shows through.

Cut your fabric to the height and length of the poster board, adding on a 1/2 inch or 1 inch extra on all sides.

At this time, cut 2 more strips of your fabric at that same length, these will be used to cover the hula hoops. Just measure how wide you wish for them to be so you have enough to cover the hoops. I cut mine to just about 3".
Lay the poster board flat on your table and spray with spray adhesive and attach your fabric. Just remember that spray adhesive is messy and gets on everything, protect your table and use wisely. LOL someone should have told me this FIRST! However, I finally found a good solution for my second shade: I laid my fabric down on top of the poster board to make sure the pattern match all the way down the length of the poster board. then I just lifted the fabric, sprayed a little, smoothed it out, then continued lifting and spraying and smoothing. A little bit at a time work better for me than to spray the entire board first. I'm still scraping it off of my grandmothers table! Err. I don't have a picture for this step out of sheer frustration. And I didn't want to touch my camera now that I was completely covered in spray adhesive!
I used a glue gun to attached the fabric to the hula hoops putting the raw edges on the inside knowing very well the poster board would cover it. However if you can use the spray adhesive or a fabric glue, you may like the results better as my first shade, the glue looks a bit bumpy under the fabric.
Here is where you can do one of two things. My first shade I used my rolling cutter to cut the fabric flush with the poster board. It's nice, but I think I would have preferred a nice edge folded over to the inside. So if you wish, you can fold over the fabric and glue it. Or if you would prefer, on my second shade I ironed the fabric over for a nice edge and then after using the spray adhesive on the front, I just sewed it on with my machine. Keep reading on as I have included lots of pictures for this step below.
Now lay a covered hula hoop on the table and stand the fabric covered poster board inside the hoop. The picture below shows right before I covered the hoops, as I was constantly measuring that I didn't flub it up.  Or if I did, then I would know in which step I would have to go back to recalculate.

Make sure it will fit again all the way around with a little overlapping so you can glue it together there.
Once your sure everything will fit nicely, I just glued the first corner in place and continued to glue a little bit and press the shade to the hoop, continuing all the way around until the overlapping portion. I did not glue the seam just yet, I glued only at the bottom to allow it to move where I needed it when doing the other hoop.
Now lay the other hoop on the table and the hoop you just glued goes on top and fit your poster board into the bottom one.
Continue to glue the same way you did with the top portion.
Finally glue the seam section together.
There are so many ways to hang your shade listed on the internet. However I am impatient so I used four long wires and poked a hole through the poster board in four sections evening around the shade and wrapped it around the hoop. Then I wired the shade into the chain that the chandelier hangs from. This worked for me because my chandelier hangs very high and you can't see it. However if your is hanging lower, you may wish use ribbon to tie it onto the chain. Just make sure your ribbon does not hang directly over the bulbs.
I eventually hung crystals from the arms of my chandelier because I am a crystal kind of girl. So you may see a picture here of that as well.... Oh, there it is. Just for instant satisfaction, I used some generic ornaments hooks to hang my crystals. Although I have since changed those out and used prettier ones.


On another shade all I had was poster board. So I doubled up the poster board to add some stability to it. Used the spray adhesive and then sewed the fabric onto the poster board.


Cut those two extra strips of fabric. 
I created an edging with them to help stabilized the edges and make it look more like a real shade. 
Super easy and it's how I also use to make the straps for tote bags.
Fold the strip in half and iron it.
Funny, this is the true color of my fabric, I don't know why my camera keeps picking up a dark gold color. Err.


Now open the strip and fold the outer raw edge in just to the center, using the original fold line as a guide. Iron.
Do both raw edge in this way. Being sure everything has a nice crisp ironed edge.

Now fold the fabric in half....onto the original fold line and iron, with those raw edged now on the inside. I have a crease on mine in the next picture, but it's not supposed to be there. I was just being sloppy at the time.



So I ironed it out.
This creates an edging you can sew onto the poster board, inserting the poster board edge into the fold. If you wish to hot glue it instead, that would work as well.
Below is where I am just making sure both are the same size.
Just open the flap on the binding, insert the poster board up to the crease and then you can begin to sew it on or glue it.  This gives you a nice edge on the outside AND the inside.

Below is the 3rd shade that was eventually finished with an embroidery hoop.
Yes you can use those too for normal size lamp shades.  
In this picture below I used the extra fabric to create an overlap towards the inside of the shade instead of cutting the fabric flush with the poster board.  I like this effect best because it hides the raw edges of the poster board.  I sewed it directly onto the poster board. First I attached the fabric with spray adhesive, then I just ironed a double folded crease in the extra fabric instead of cutting it off, and then sewed it on. 
Once one side was completely sewn on then repeat the ironing of the crease for the other side and sewed that side.
I did one side at a time only to make sure the fabric didn't slip off the poster board. This way gave me the guide line for ironing the second side and everything fit nice and tightly. Besides my stitch ripper has run off with a few unsavory buttons and I'm not sure if it's planning on returning anytime soon!
I hope I haven't forgotten anything. If I have, please just let me know and I will correct it for others! 2 photos below is the photo of my first drum shade with the hula hoop, Believe me when I say they got better as I worked out the kinks, but I'm happy I no longer need to walk into the room and see that brass....
Oh c'mon, I was just having a bit of fun with that last picture. LOL
I do know this idea will also work if you have a bare bones lamp shade you wish to. That's my next project!
Either way, right now, I am thrilled with my new shades! And the best part is I have so much more fabric to work with that I change them out when ever I please. And that PLEASES me! LOL
Can anyone say HOLIDAYS! (snicker, snicker, evil little laugh, snicker snicker)
And can you imagine the wide variety of fabrics, colors and patterns to choose from! I just get shivers thinking about it!
If  you get a chance to try this, I'd love to see a picture!
I myself am on my way to look through my fabric collection!




  1. Need to try! can't believe you did that with just a hulahoop! looks great!

    1. Thank you Karen! I did have a lot of fun, they were quite easy too! I'm planning on changing them out for Christmas too!

  2. This looks amazing, Susan! What a clever gal you are! I have a beautiful pewter washed brass table lamp that was my Mom's. It needs a new shade and while a hula hoop would be much too large, I get the idea and will look for a large embroider hoop. I hope they make them that large...Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial! ♥

    1. Thank you so much Jil! If you do not find an embroidery hoop large enough (and sometimes those babys can be a bit more expensive), you can always cut down one of those thick paper / cardboard hula hoops. Just cut out a section and then put it back together with duct tape!

    2. Jil, I forgot to mention that remember you can do this with just poster board, just double it up for stability. I have one I make without any hoops at all that now covers these spot lights I have over my sink. I just pushed some wire through and twisted it on to the tops of them! PS. Dollar tree has just started selling hula hoops, I wonder if they are really bendy, because if so, then they can be cut, take section out and put back together with duct tape to make a smaller hoop. Wa-la!