Cylinder Drum Lamp Tutorial

So before you jump on in and make a totally awesome lamp, let me give you a heads up about a few things.

  • This is my first tutorial…yikes!
  • The pictures need improvement
  • 7 months pregnant kneeling on ‘wood floors’ is not my best moment
  • I apologize for any eyestrain caused by my ugly ass faux wood floors

Okay now that we got that all settled lets dive right on into this because I’m not going to give you some long drawn out back story about how I copied this from my great aunts best friends younger sisters cat. Lol, gotcha. No ma’am (sir?) this is an entirely invented, fly by the seat of my yoga pants idea that actually worked so why not share it! The idea is pretty flexible so feel free to play with different fabrics, lengths and  shade diameters. Annnddd….we’re off!

The total cost for everything was about $50 but it made two lampshades plus the guts that make them shine! They are a decent size too, 10 inches in diameter and 15 inches tall. If you haven’t looked, lamps are super expensive so I counted this as a win. One tidbit about this particular cord set, it DOES NOT have a switch on it. You can purchase one with a switch but I didn’t like the look of it. All links for the items I purchased online are located at the bottom of the page.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 yard of light weight fabric (I would pick something light colored)
  • Wire lamp shade rings 10 inch diameter
  • 15 ft White Ceiling Pendant Lamp Cord Set
  • 2 yards of twine (optional)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Foam brush
  • Mod Podge (matte)
  • Scissors
  • Poster board (1 per lamp)
  • Paper Plate
  • Iron
  • Clear 2 inch packing tape
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Small flat-head screwdriver

This project might seem long but I took lots of pictures so there is no doubt in your mind that you are doing it correctly. If you do still have questions or just want to share your creation please feel free to email me!

  1. Plug in your iron and while you’re waiting for that sucker to heat up measure and cut your poster board. I cut mine 15 inches high and realized it wasn’t long enough so whats a girl to do…use the extra piece from the top! If you are making a smaller shade, you may need to cut the length as well.  I know it’s probably been awhile since you found the circumference of a circle so here’s the formula: 2 · π · 5 ≈ 31.4 hey not gonna lie I had to look it up. IMG_0518
  2. So if your lamp is small and you do not need a longer poster board, skip to step 5. If you do, its pretty easy. All you have to do is flip the extra piece and cut it to the correct height to match the first piece. IMG_0524
  3. Now grab the 2 inch clear packing tape and do two nice strips down the front and the back. Try to make sure the board is free of dust and carefully lay the tape down to avoid bubbles or creases. The tape absolutely has to be clear because chances are you’ll be hanging this beauty and looking into it and seeing yellow or zebra striped tape isn’t exactly appealing. IMG_0526
  4. Put the poster aside and grab the trusty iron and fabric and iron out any wrinkles. Measure and cut the fabric so it hangs over an extra 3/4-1 inch on 3 sides of the poster board. Yes, only 3. There is a method to my madness! I will explain that once we are a little bit further. Pull the poster back over and lay the fabric on top. If the fabric has a pattern, try to keep the patter horizontal/vertical as best you can.
  5. Look at you go, moving right along! Time to get this puppy stuck together. Get the foam brush, plate and Mod Podge. Pour about 2 tablespoons of Mod Podge onto your plate (you can always pour more if you need to). Very carefully pull some of the fabric (5-6 inches) to the side and paint the exposed poster board with the Mod Podge. You only need a little bit, too much and it will take forever to dry and the poster board will get all soggy. Once that section is covered, slowly drape the fabric back over the poster board and press down firmly to ensure there are no wrinkles or bubbles.
    IMG_0536IMG_0538 IMG_0539
  6. Take the fabric from the right end now and and peel it back all the way until it reaches the small glued section on the left.IMG_0540
  7.  Working from left to right, paint small sections of Mod Podge then cover and press the fabric down (watch for creases and bubbles!) until the whole piece of fabric is glued down. Easy peasy!IMG_0544 IMG_0529
  8. This step is important because again if you use too much Mod Podge this will become a big droopy mess and no one wants that. It’s also important because this is how your lamp shade goes from simple fabric to rigid lamp! Starting from the left again, paint just a little bit of Mod Podge over the fabric. Try to get a good angle with the light so you can see the glare of where you have painted to make sure you cover the whole thing. I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t we just paint the fabric on top and leave out painting the poster board…have I mentioned this is the 3rd lamp shade I’ve made? Yes, tried that on the first go. BIG DROOPY MESS. Trust me guys, this will work. The fabric will be just a tad shiny.IMG_0548
  9. Now for my favorite part of any project, GO TAKE A BREAK. The Mod Podge needs to completely dry which will take a few hours depending on how much you painted on. Watch some TV, knit, make some cookies! Or, you could do like I did and come back to it in a few days because if you’re like me nap time unfortunately only lasts so long. Now, if you walk by and holy mother of pearl your beautiful project is warping! DON’T PANIC. Mine did the exact same thing! I freaked out until I realized it was still plenty flexible.IMG_0549
  10.   Okay, break time is over peeps. You may start to breathe quickly when you look closely at the fabric and see some wrinkles and bubbles. They will almost completely disappear once it is stretched and glued onto the wire rings so again, don’t panic. I know it looks bad.IMG_0553
  11. Now it’s time for the really cool part! Your lamp taking shape! Take that expensive lamp makers! Before you read more, plug in the hot glue gun so it can heat up. So you know how way in the beginning I said to only have the fabric overhang on 3 sides? Well, this is where the magic happens. Once the glue gun is nice and hot, grab the open ring that will be on the bottom. I found the top ring with the ‘spokes’ is a little more difficult to glue into place so having the bottom ring already in to help keep the shape was much easier. Flip fabric poster board over and start on the end where the fabric and poster board are the same length. If you have any overhang from after it got glued down, cut it off now. Place the ring parallel with the edge of the poster board and right up to the edge where it meets the fabric. (Yes I know my picture has fabric overhang, I didn’t realize it needed to be cut until after it was all finished so don’t be like me)IMG_0554
  12. Holding the ring as straight as possible, about 2 inches from the end squeeze a glob of glue on the ring and over onto the poster board. Quickly pull the fabric over the glue and push down hard getting everything glued down nice and tight.
  13. Continue to glue around the ring. Try to keep the space between the glued spots small. Stop gluing with about 2 inches left. Keep the ring as straight along the poster as you can so it doesn’t come out crooked. IMG_0567 IMG_0574
  14. Alright, now time for the top ring. This one is a little tricky so bear with me! Stand the lamp up with the unglued end on top and place the ring down inside with the corner of the spokes facing down. If you don’t understand take a peek at the picture below. Glue the fabric on the 3 points where the spokes meet the ring trying to keep it as level as possible.img_0582 img_0585 img_0589
  15. Once the top ring is being held in place, continue to glue around the circle just like the bottom ring, leaving about two inches where the ends meet again. If the fabric become bunched, you can fold it over or cut a slit, gluing one piece on top of the other. Remember how I said a little tricky? The spokes get in the way of either the gluing hand or the pressing hand. I found it easiest to reach my arm through the other side but try to keep it along that poster board guideline. img_0591
  16. GUYS. Your lamp is almost done! Alright, stand that puppy up on one end (doesn’t matter) and it’s time to seal it on up! So you know how you were supposed to have the fabric and poster board the same length on one end? This is where that comes into play (again I didn’t realize until it was too late for mine gah!). Glue that end down first nice and snug on both sides. img_0593
  17. Take the loose flailing end and glue the fabric back onto the poster board to give it a nice finished edge. img_0597
  18. Somewhere right around the middle put a glob of glue. Make sure it’t not too close to the edge so it doesn’t ooze out when you press it down. Flatten the inside flap and push the pieces together firmly. If you are trying to match up a pattern now would be the time to not mess that up haha! So glue carefully…img_0598
  19. Flatten out the last fabric edges and finish gluing that sucker! Okay see why I said to cut them even…this ladies and gents…this…*sigh*img_0600
  20.  Okay back over to where the two pieces meet on the side. Put a few more globs of glue along the open parts and press down. I didn’t even plan to have the pattern come out that straight…but so glad it did!


So the next few steps are completely optional! Our lamps are hanging above our couch and you can see up into them so I wanted to finish off the bottom.

Simple step, just glue some cool twine around the inside! I opted for some grassy stuff that isn’t super thick but you can really do whatever you want. You could also do just the top if it’s sitting on a table or you could do both! Totally up to you!


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