Hello World of Fellow Lampshade Makers or perhaps you might be thinking about learning. The internet has made the world a smaller place to meet fellow lampshade designers and makers. We are a growing niche as consumers are getting a taste of great lampshades in the shelter magazines and new web magazines.
I love to hear from other lampshade makers. I've reached out to a few and others have contacted me. We all have our own styles and favorite sources. All of my contacts have been excited to share our sources and tell of some great "find".
Most of the lampshade materials are hard to find. I will give you that! I have to admit it was a question my publisher's asked before they accepted my book contract. How clever of them. It is not impossible to find materials, but it is harder than some crafts. And at times it takes some creative thinking.
In The States our main source is The Lampshop in Concord, NH. They have been a resource for me for over 20 years. Colby and gang run The Lampshop. It's been around for longer than I know; his mom ran it before Colby took over the helm. They are mostly an online source although they are open a couple of days a week. Give them a call first; I think it's Tuesdays that they are open. The Lamp Shop has ALL of the materials needed, glue, frames, styrene, trims, etc. We are lucky to have them.
Mainely Shades of Portland, Maine was also a main lampshade source; they are no longer selling lampshade materials.
I hear from many of you in far away spots like New Zealand, Austria, Philippines, South Africa, France, UK, etc. You tell me that you have a hard time finding materials. I tried to search out to a few small lampshade companies in Australia for a query on supplies. They said they were happy to sell some styrene if asked. I know that Artistic Bias will export 50 yards of styrene to a legitimate business. I am at the point of my business that I order 25 or 50 yards at a time. It's heavy stuff and shipping is a consideration.
So what else to do if you can't find materials????
this is the real time for creativity. One of my new friends can not get Pressure Sensitive Styrene where she lives, so she makes sewn shades and renovates old wires. (if you do this, make sure to sand and paint old wire due to rusting) Note to new lampshade makers: not all lampshade frames will work for making hardback shades; some are for sewn shades only.
If you are a lampshade maker and happen to have stumbled on my blog, please feel free to share some source tips you have found around the world. I am sure it will be appreciated.
It is my feeling that the more we share the more we receive!
Or at least that's my experience. I remember the days of trekking to the library to search through those big blue Thompson books with all the companies addresses and telephone numbers. This sure dates me! Life before the internet.
pressure sensitive styrene is the backing for hard back shades in certain parts of the world. Some countries also use pressure sensitive vinyl. I think it is quite similar. When neither are avalable you could always use a spray adhesive to laminate fabric to something that is translucent; not sure what but just take precautions with the spray toxins.
lampshade wires or frames styles vary significantly country to country. The UK uses a no thread uno for many table lamps; we use a clip on or washer top w/ finial. Drum shades seem to be popular all over the world. Wow. that's cool, isn't it. And, Yes, Drum shades are pretty easy to make, too. I've written many a blog post here on The Lampshade Lady Blog. Styles come slow to New England where classic tradition lingers, but drum shades are catching on with some of my students and customers. Just look on Etsy and see how many are avalable! LOTS of fun drum shades in a variety of styles. I have just found a super fixture for hanging a drum shade that I will be posting shortly. (fellow lampshade designer shared her source:)
Fabrics are everywhere. That said, I spend a huge of time trying to find the perfect fabric. I always peek at ebay and most likely if I counted all the time searching for that "great stuff" my lampshades would be 3 times more expensive. When looking for fabric for lampshades I ask myself, "Will I be sick of it in a year????" Does the fabric you choose have lasting power or is it too trendy? fun today-passe tomorrow? I'm looking through my house right now (It's Sunday, my day off and yes I'm working-sort of) and love most of my fabric choices. It's a mix up crazy house of colors and styles but I think it works and is comfortable and very livable. The old paisley shawls go great with my Swedish Tio Gruppen contemporary fabric. My motto of interior design is a bit sketchy: buy what you like and it will all go together! Ha. I know I would have flunked out of Interior Design School! I just hate it when rooms match TOO perectly. I still laugh about an old neighbor that bought page 24 of one of our well known home goods catalogs; it sure went together well! To wrap up fabrics- I love vintage stuff and it has lots of staying power, just look how long shabby chic has been hanging on. As well as how it blends with contemporary decor, too.
Note of caution: I do worry when I see lace and crochet drapped on top of lamps. I think this is a huge fire issue and would avoid it. It does look romantic but....I see it so many times in the Shelter Mags and wonder if they are putting out the wrong message.
Fire hazards are always something to consider if using alternative materials when making lampshades, whether it's paper, fabric, plastic or ??? Please use caution. The larger the shade the higher the wattage you can use. The compact florescent light bulbs are handy considering they do not get as hot.
I hope to hear from the other Lampshade Ladies out there, Lampshade Guys, too. (that sounds funny, but I know they are out there!)
Workshop Update: April 16th Workshop in Vermont is full. I still have a few spots left for the 14th of April, Thursday.
My shop will be closed March 19-28. Gone Spring Skiing! Praying for some much needed sunshine; it's been gray here for too long.