There are a few basics that can make or break a lampshade. It totally helps to use the right stuff. Slinky grosgrain could drive you to nutty... crummy glue... poor fabric can be impossible... some of this is repetitive for some of you, but these are questions I'm email every day... so here goes.
1.) use the right grosgrain. 40% cotton/60 rayon. Most craft stores carry rayon or poly. Order from The Lampshop or other on line sources.
2.) use quick glue; available at The Lampshop. Transfer it into a squeeze bottle. It'll make your life so much happier.
3.)use a galvanized wire frame.... no rust- a happy lampshade maker.
4.) do great design. start with good materials & great fabric. great fabric is so much better than wasting time with poor quality.... I just finished a shade w/ client's fabric was printed sooooo far off the grain of the fabric- impossible and will never look perfect as many times as I tried to line it up.
5.) I get asked a lot about the price of styrene. It's isn't cheeeep but one yard goes a long way. Just look at the price of nice lampshades. You can probably get 4-6 lampshades out of one yard of styrene depending on size of shade.
6.) The Lampshop in Concord, NH is one of the main lampshade material supply sources. They have a very good on-line catolog.
***Hope this helps out some of the new lampshade makers! I'm so happy to hear there are lots of new lampshade makers in the works. I've been doing this over 27 years and still learning new things every day. I swear! There is plenty of work for good designers.
be brave + try new ideas + experiment + stick you neck out and have fun + go beyond average... keeping pushing your design skills and color combinations + stay away from cliched design trends.... they will be gone in a flash... who's so bored of chevons.... and maybe black....and even hanging light bulbs, thank god....I think good design is something you are still in love for 10 years not 10 weeks!