Organize & Clean

How To Turn a Tapered Lamp Shade into a Drum Shade

published Mar 31, 2011
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I recently bought a set of five cheap lamps from a big box store. The price was right, but I wasn’t loving the tapered shades. Purchase five new drum shades? Not on my budget. Then it hit me. A tapered shade is pretty much half a drum shade, isn’t it? Chop off the top ring, extend the spokes, flip it upside down, and for 3 bucks plus the cost of fabric, you have a drum shade! You can do it, too – jump below for the step-by-step:

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What You Need

1 package brass tubing
fabric or paper to cover shade
fusible interfacing (optional)
thin wire or strong thread
double sided tape
your old tapered shade

bolt cutters or Dremel
tubing cutter (optional)


1. Cut out the inner washer
Cut each spoke that connects the inner washer to the outer ring. This is a great job for a Dremel if you have one. Leave as much length from the center as you can.

2. Cut off the bottom ring
Cut the bottom ring off your old shade. This will be the top of your new shade. Leave the bias trim on it so you can have a good surface for attaching your new shade later.

3. Cut the tubing
Here’s your $3 secret weapon. Select tubes (available at hobby stores and some craft stores) that are a tiny bit wider than the diameter of your spokes so that the tubes slide over the spokes. Cut each tube so that it extends from the inner washer to the outer ring. The company that makes the tubes also makes a tube cutter ($7 at Hobby Lobby) that may be worth it if you are planning to update more than one shade. If you’re using a wire cutter or Dremel, slip a dowel or thick wire into the tube before cutting so it doesn’t flatten.

4. Attach inner washer, tubes, and outer ring
Using thin wire or strong thread, run thread inside the length of the tube so that it comes out the other end, loops around the outer ring, and extends back into the tube. Now slide the tube over the spoke. Tie ends of thread tightly around inner washer.

5. Attach the new shade top to the lamp
You can attach pretty much anything to your frame now. I ran double sided tape around the bias trim so that I could stick fabric to it. (The tape isn’t actually red. That’s a removable liner. The tape itself is clear.)

6. Cover your frame with fabric or paper of your choice
I ironed fusible interfacing onto the fabric to stiffen it and to help diffuse the light. Then I wrapped the fabric around the frame and closed the seam with another length of double sided tape. All done! And you can easily switch the fabric later if you feel like it!

Images: Katie Steuernagle