How to Make a Beaded Lamp and Wallpaper Shade

I was going to post the finishing touch on the creative wall  I have been working on in my studioffice, but the paint was not dry so I decided to post a project from my book, Instant Decorating instead.   The photo below shows a few decorating ideas for a little boy’s room. The lamp was made with all different color wood beads and wallpaper, but you could change the look entirely by the choice of beads and wallpaper pattern you choose.

Since I did this project a long time ago, I don’t have a before photo of the lamp.  It was a plain round blue ceramic base.  This room was my friend, Pam’s son’s bedroom.  ( Hi Pam – flashback time! )  I posted about the cardboard valances in the post – How to Make a Recycled Cardboard Window Valance. I will share how I made the Dalmatian blinds in a future post.


Lamp Makeover

The lamp came to life again with the help of colorful beads and a cover made with wallpaper that simply fits over the existing lamp shade.

How-to-make-a-curtain-rod-fTrendy Modern Version:

For a grown-up style lamp use crystal beads for the base and your favorite wallpaper pattern for the shade.  Instant chic!

How to Make A Beaded Lamp Base

supplies needed:

  • Lamp
  • Wood beads- enough to cover base
  • String
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

1.  Remove shade from lamp and set aside. Knot one end of a piece of string long enough to go around the lamp base – plus 6 inches.

2. String beads until you have enough to go around the base once.

3. Place a line of hot glue along bottom edge of base. Tie strand of beads onto base and press into glue.

4.  Trim excess string, making sure no string shows. Repeat process, omitting glue until you reach the top of the lamp base.   Secure last row of beads with hot glue.  The hot glue is applied only on the top and bottom strands so beads don’t slip off.


How to Make the Wallpaper Lamp Shade

supplies needed:

  • Lampshade
  • Wallpaper border or wallpaper cut to height of shade
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paper clip
  • Paper hole punch
  • 1/4-inch ribbon – circumference of top of shade plus 15 inches
  • White glue

1. To determine amount of wallpaper needed, measure bottom circumference of shade and multiply it by 2 for length; height of shade is height of paper needed.

2. Lay wallpaper printed side down.  Using a ruler, measure 1/2-inch or pleat size you desire. Make a small mark with pencil.  Continue marking at 1/2-inch intervals across top and bottom on entire length of wallpaper.

3.  Lay ruler vertically to line up and connect the first two marks. Open a paper clip and use the point end to gently score the wallpaper by running it lightly against the ruler. (Practice this on an extra piece of wallpaper. You do not want to go through the paper.)  Continue to connect all pencil marks and score lines.

4.  Turn wallpaper over and pleat as you would a fan.

5.  Pinch sides of one pleat together, then using a paper punch, punch a hole about 1/4-inch below top edge. Repeat for each pleat.

6. Thread ribbon through holes and tie over existing shade. Make a bow or knot and trim excess.  Arrange pleats evenly around shade. Glue edges together in back with white glue.  If pleats do not lay flat, you may have too many, remove a few at a time and make sure each pleat has a crisp fold, or when pleats are arranged over existing shade, put a dot of hot glue under every few pleats to hold in place.




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  1. Thank you so much for telling me how to make a pleated lampshade from wallpaper!!!!!!!

  2. jessica@fourgenerationsoneroof says:

    I love the colors and I really love how versatile this project is. I think I might give it a try with some different colors beads to match my kitchen area :) Nice idea and my little man can string the beads! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jessica @ Pretty Providence says:

    I LOVE this. I can’t wait to thrift an ugly lamp so I can try my own variation of it. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Oh, this room brings back sweet memories! My daughter’s room wasn’t done in the fireman theme, but it was done with wallpaper from that same company with another line of those bears! She’s 25 now, so it’s been a while, but those bears made me smile today. TFS! :)

  5. Love it! Love all the color without it being overpowering.

  6. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Oh, I see a grown up version of this in my future. I love it.

  7. Diane, This is absolutely adorable! I never would have thought to use the beads like that. I’ve got all kinds of ideas for different patterns and colors running through my head now. LOL Thanks so much for sharing it! ~Mary (I’m pinning this!)

  8. Ok, I’m a little confuse on the bead work base. So you don’t string all the beads and you don’t glue each row? Looking at it I would have assumed you just hot glue each bead to the existing lamp…what am I missing???

    1. Hi Alicia –

      Sorry for any confusion. You could just hot glue each bead on the base, but over time – some would eventually fall off. Using string or wire to make a bunch of a what is basically – necklaces to go around the base keeps the beads in line and prevents them from popping off. Gluing only the bottom strand will be enough to hold all the other strands of beads that you add on above it in place. You could also make one long strand of beads and keep wrapping. If you do this though, the beads will start to look angled on the base, that is why I did each row of beads separately. I hope this helps, if not let me know. Basically all it is- is layers of beaded strands wrapped separately around the lamp base. Each one covering more of the lamp as it is tied on. Hot glue the bottom to make sure is doesn’t move. Once that is secure it will hold up all the other strands.