How to Make Your Own Lights & Lampshades
Lights are an important feature of most rooms in the home, and if you would like to create your very own lamps and lampshades, you will find a huge resource of creative ideas on this page.
The tutorials below range from the very easy to more technical constructions, with a great range of styles and prices. So if you are DIY minded or perhaps you want to add a personal touch with some unique décor, you are bound to find a project to inspire you here.
I hope you will enjoy the craft how-tos I have compiled :-)
Cheese Grater Lamp
Making Your Own Decorative Lighting
All kinds of objects can be converted into lamps including animal ornaments, cheese graters and colanders, so it's a brilliant craft to get creative with - and the finished results will certainly impress your friends!
Some of the how-tos below are super easy 2-step processes whilst others are more in-depth. Some include recycled objects, some are revamps of existing lanterns or lampshades, and some consist of sculpting a lamp completely from scratch. Whatever your level of crafting expertise, you will find projects you can confidently accomplish.
Although the more advanced projects on this page are for plug-in lamps rather than built-in household lighting, if you are not comfortable with wiring a plug or doing the electrical work involved in any of them, please leave this to someone who has experience and knowledge in this area. If you don't know anyone personally who could do it, ask at an electrical/hardware type store.
If you are not sure where to start, the simplest projects for beginners are the fairy light revamping projects, as well as candle holders and lampshade DIYs. My favorite things to make are light garlands for Christmas and other special occasions.
SAFETY: Always keep safety in mind when working with electrics, and make sure lightbulbs have nothing flammable near to them when in use. If there are flammable materials like paper being used in a lampshade design, it would be best to use low watt/low heat bulbs. Always make sure air is allowed to circulate around the bulb, and please don't leave a candle or a lamp unattended when lit/switched on.
Lamp-Making Craft Books
Here is a selection of inspiring books for making your own lanterns, candles, crafts and lampshades.
Geeky & Techy Lamps
- The Blamp
A blender crossed with a lamp!
- Tetris Lights
Wall display in the shape of Tetris blocks.
- Industrial Chic Lamp
Cool lamp design made using pipe fittings.
- Alien Abduction Lamp
Funny lamp design made with toy cows.
- Cheese Grater Lamp
Only very simple items are needed for this make.
- DIY Solar Lantern
Nice weekend project to make solar powered light-up lamps.
- Pacman Ghost Lamps
Fun way of recycling plastic bottles.
- Vintage Camera Nightlight
Awesome idea for a photography fan's room.
- Book Wall Lamp
Recycle a book into a wall mounted light.
- How To Make a Lamp Cordless
Turn a plug-in lamp into a battery-powered lamp.
Awesome DIY Constellation Canvas
Lamp Making Tutorials
- Quirky Hanger Lamp
Easy and cheap project which is very fashionable.
- Floor Lamp Transformation
By recycling lots of pop bottles and using silver Duct tape.
- Wood Veneer Lampshade
Revamp an ugly lamp with veneer strips.
- Lightbulbs & Candles
Recycle bulbs to make a funky candle holder.
- Tableware Lamp
DIY tabletop lamp made with teacups and saucers.
- DIY Map Lamp
Cover a plain lampshade with a map.
- Ice Lanterns
Pretty outdoor decorations for winter.
- Book Light
Turn a reading book into a handy bedside lamp.
- Paper Flower Lampshade
Colourful and tropical lampshade with floral ruffles all over.
- Modern Bedside Lamp
Cool and stylish bendable light with a concrete base.
- Origami Lamp Template
Instructions for folding an elegant paper shade.
Recycled CD Lamp
Drilled Can Lanterns
Click here for the tutorial for these lamps.
Photo by Potholes and Pantyhose.
- Faux Capiz Shell Chandelier
Made by stringing together wax paper circles.
- Straw Cluster Chandelier
Who thought drinking straws could look so cool?!
- Bushel Basket Lamp
I think this would look fab in a rustic country kitchen.
- Bird Cage Light
There are only brief instructions for this quirky lamp.
- Drinking Straw Pendant Light
Made from loads and loads of straws grouped together.
- Trendy Hanging Lamp
Damask shape Plexiglass light.
- Coffee Filter Lampshade
Who would have thought coffee filters could look so elegant?
- Ballet Tutu
Cute idea for little girls and ballet enthusiasts.
- Vintage Doily Lampshade
Simply stitch doilies together over a wire frame.
- Decorative Luminaries
Affordable shade made with metal plates from a DIY store.
- Bowler Hat Lights
Fun and contemporary idea for using bowler and top hats.
- Copper Orb Lampshade
Really inexpensive because it's made of cardboard!
DIY 'Starry Night' Canvas Art
What you will need:
* Stretched art canvas; white in color and quite large in size to accommodate the lights - approx. 20-25" tall
* Paints; I'd recommend acrylics
* Contact paper
* Craft knife and cutting mat (optional)
* Strand of small fairy (Christmas) lights; either yellow or white colored lights would work, and the larger the canvas you use, the longer the strand you'll need.
* Awl, punching tool, screwdriver...whatever you have to make a hole in the canvas.
* Stiff board
- I would recommend drawing the basic design of the tent in pencil, and marking where you want to insert the light bulb 'stars' in the canvas, before you start. Remember that you won't be able to insert lights around the border where the wooden frame is.
- Cut out out two triangles from the contact paper to represent the opening of the tent. Stick the triangles onto the canvas in the correct position as shown in the diagram. This will keep the paint off this area.
- Paint your tent and sky design. You don't need to be much of an artist for this because the majority of the canvas will simply be black or midnight-blue! Remember to paint the edges of the canvas too.
- Remove the contact paper.
- Punch holes in the front of the canvas with the awl. Put the holes where you want the lights to be positioned, bearing in mind how many you have available to use on your strand; you should try to use all or most of them. The holes shouldn't be made too big because the lights will have to fit snugly in the canvas in order for them to stay put. To stop the fairy lights from dragging down on the canvas, you can use tape to hold the cord onto the wooden frame in a few places for support.
- To stop the lights from falling out of the back, it would be a good idea to lastly glue a section of stiff board onto the wooden frame at the bottom of the canvas.
Note: Please do not leave any DIY lights switched on for long periods of time, or unsupervised. Thanks :)
Wire Ball Pendant Light
Lanterns & Creative Candle Holders
- Paper Bag Lanterns
With designs cut out of the bags.
- Frosted Mason Jars
How to stencil glass jars with frosting spray.
- Apple Votive Holders
Natural & temporary holders made from apples - great for Halloween.
- Lace Candle Holders
Pretty and feminine jars.
- Table Lanterns
I used to make these fun lanterns as a kid.
- Ice Lanterns
Beautiful Winter decorating.
- Medieval Sconces
These look like something out of Dracula's castle!
- Shoe Stand Candle Holder
Or you could hang the jars around the home or from tree branches.
- Copper Pipe Candleholders
Industrial style holders for candles create a modern look.
- Paper City Lantern
Cute lamp made cheaply, but would look fantastic on your side table.
Hanging Globe Lights
Ceiling Light How-Tos
- Basket Pendant Light
Inspired by an Anthropologie design.
- Plastic Cup Lamp
Cool way to recycle lots of cups.
- Glass Bubble Chandelier
Cool looking hanging light made with glass baubles.
- Hanging Bauble Light
Beautiful silver and clear statement piece.
- Wooden Hanger Chandelier
Eye-catching project with a clear video tutorial.
- Vintage Globe Shade
An interesting new use for a vintage globe.
- Tree Branch Lights
A nice idea to hang pendant lights or wrap fairy lights around the branch.
- Linear Crystal Chandelier
Simply hang crystals over a long lighting rod for a stunning centrepiece.
- Lace Lamp
Arrange lace doilies over a blown-up balloon.
- Japanese Lantern
Costs only a few dollars to make.
- Enamel Colander Shade
Very simple to put together and perfect for the kitchen.
- Ombre Lampshade
Subtle and inexpensive pendant lamp with a colour gradient.
Egg Carton Fairy Lights
Ways to Decorate Paper Lanterns
Spherical paper lanterns are cheap lampshades you can buy in plenty of shops such as IKEA and they are usually plain - so the following tutorials show you how you can make them a lot more interesting!
- Paper Petal Lanterns
Add tissue paper petals to the plain lampshade.
- Flowers & Pom-Poms
Two different ideas to embellish the lanterns.
- Letter Lighting
Add cut-out letters to the lantern.
- Paper Scrap Light
An inexpensive revamp that anyone can do.
- Wax Paper Petals
Cute and budget friendly.
- Mini Bunting
Cute lantern makeover with little fabric garlands.
- Cocktail Umbrellas
Fun idea for mini umbrella decorations.
- Fortune Teller Sphere
Brilliant idea for making a faceted globe lampshade.
- Ruffle Paper Orbs
An innovative way to use cupcake liners.
- CMYK Colours
A cool idea for designer types.
- Ombre Chrysanthemum
Trendy lantern covering made by dying coffee filters.
- Scattered Flowers
Cut out flower shapes from ephemera and make a pretty swirl design.
Inexpensive Paper Lanterns To Decorate
Creative Craft Lamp Videos
Lamp & Candle Making Kits
Here is an excellent range of lamp and candle making kits to help you with your DIY project:
Fairy Light How-Tos
- Cherry Blosson Lights
Using a faux or real tree branch and tissue paper.
- Ping-Pong Balls
Fun mood lighting made out of ping-pong balls.
- Wire Basket Globe
2 hanging plant baskets decorated with fairy lights.
- Heart Wall Lamp
Cute heart lamp which would be great for a girl's room.
- Marquee Letter Lamp
Foam core board lamp in the shape of a letter.
Sparkly sphere light made of plastic cups.
- Flameless Fire Pit
I bet this would make a room feel really cozy.
- Origami Box Lights
Simple and colourful decorations made by folding paper pieces.
- Vellum Flower Lights
Very pretty lights which would look great anywhere.
- String of Lanterns
Shade each light with painted paper cups.
- Rope Light Strand
Really quick to make and is a great look for a nautical theme.
- Giant Candy Lights
Awesome DIY candy garland for the festive season.
- Wine Bottle Lights
Possibly the simplest idea you can try, but it looks cool.
Candlesticks & Light-Up Wall Art
- Wine Bottle Candlestick
Cut wine bottle tops off to re-use them as candle holders.
- Illuminated Canvas
With a sweet 'Good Night' message.
- Letter Light
Bring a bit of Broadway showbiz into your home.
- Twinkle Board
Spell out any word you like in fairy lights.
- Twig City Lantern
Rustic lamp made with tissue paper and twigs.
- Concrete Candle Holder
Hold 4 candles in a solid concrete base.
- Plumbing Pipe Candlesticks
Industrial style candle holders.
- Chair Leg Candlesticks
Recycle old chair legs into grand candle holders.
- Clay Candle Holders
Minimalist style and simple to create.
- Fairy Lights & Mirror Garlands
Amazing statement wall art which combines fairy lights with sparkly mirrors.
- Canvas Sky
Combine a peaceful painting with light.
- Shadow Wall Art
A clever concept yet simple to make.
Paper Lampshades on Glasses
Home Light Projects
- Modern Sparkle Display
Pretty light art which looks like a starry sky.
- Paper Bag Luminaries
Very effective outdoor lights, perfect for Halloween.
- Light-Up Houses
Lovely little felt houses with tealights inside.
- The Tubble
A coffee table made with lights, bubbles and a bathtub.
- Paper Doily Wreath
A delicate and feminine decoration.
- Epic Dining Room Light
Homemade modern light fitting as a statement piece.
- Tree Branch Chandelier
Beautiful light for over the dining table.
- Fabric Fox Lamp
Interesting technique which can be used to make any shape in fabric.
- Driftwood Lamp
A natural style design inspired by a designer version.
- Affordable Branch Pendant
Designer style light using a tree branch and clear cable bulbs.
- Bathroom Mirror Hack
Cool looking idea for a desk or bedside lamp.
- Vintage Tripod Lamp
Perfect for the budding photographer.
- DIY Plumbing Lamp
Use plumbing pipe to feed a lamp cord through - easy peasy!
- Simple Fabric Lampshade
Very pretty shade made with strips of your favourite fabric.
Hanging Coffee Can Lamp
Candles & More Cool Lights
- Wine Glass Lamps
Perfect for outdoor or indoor table décor.
- Photo Lanterns
Using semi transparent vellum paper.
- Ping Pong Ball Pendant
Colorful circular lampshade made from plastic balls.
- Mason Jar Chandelier
Awesome illuminated glass jars.
- Solar Mason Jars
Create outdoor lights from these popular glass jars.
- Windsock Garden Lantern
Long tube fabric lantern with light fittings inside.
- Rope Pendant Lamp
Rustic chic created by weaving thin rope.
- Houses By Night
Magical castle and house photos with an electronic candle lighting them up.
- Hanging Cage Chandelier
Fun and bright caged bulbs hanging from the ceiling.
Cocktail Umbrella Lamp
DIY Globe Nightlight
Fun Lighting Projects
- Revamping Lampshades
Upgrade your plain lampshades by adding pretty fabric.
- How to Make a Lamp out of a Statue
Make a hollow figurine into an unusual, one-of-a-kind lamp.
- DIY Photo Shade
Personal lampshade with photos printed all over.
- Driftwood Candle Holder
Easy concept with a fab rustic style.
- Car Themed Lampshade
Cute idea that is ideal for a boy's bedroom.
- Tree Branch Chandelier
Light-up ceiling chandelier with a rustic branch arrangement.
- Barrel Hoop Chandelier
Medieval style design with baby food jars.
- Wine Glass Chandelier
A bundle of wine glasses are used in this elegant lamp.
- Birdie Lamp
Bird cage transformed into a quirky light.
Foam Bloom Lamp
Tutorials For More Things To Make
- Geometric Cube Pendant
Simple wooden cube construction.
- Tetra Pak Triangular Globe
For if you have lots and lots of time on your hands!
- Drop Cloth Lamp
Free-standing lamp in a simple style.
- Industrial Sconce
Makeover a sconce with a rust effect plastic cage.
- Wine Glass Cluster
Stunning chandelier with sparkly glasses.
- Yarn Lampshade
Cool effect created with yarn and wallpaper glue.
- Funky Floral Fairy Lights
Transform a plain set of lights into sparkly flowers.
- Retro Troll Lights
Make a glowing troll hairdo with LED lights.
- Clay Valentine Marquee
Lovely project for crafters.
- Toy Fire Truck Lamp
This is one of my favorite ideas - what a conversation starter!
Road Cone Lamp
Fairy Light Fishbowl
Creative Handmade Lighting
- Grapevine Lighting Spheres
Made using either grapevine or wire, these look magical outdoors.
- DIY Owl Lamp
Create a lamp using a solid owl ornament.
- Fruit Bowl Lamp
Transform a dated lamp into a bright yellow retro statement piece!
- Elephant Nursery Lamp
Clever technique involving carving Styrofoam.
- Doily Flower Bouquet
Pretty bouquet of light-up flowers.
- Metal Screen Teardrops
Industrial style pendants made using supplies from a hardware shop.
- Designer Corner Lamp
Cool idea for a light, made using hardware parts.
- Mason Jar Monogram
An eye-catching and stylish use for mason jars.
- DIY Sponge Lamp
Great effect produced just with rolls of tape.
- Bauble Chandelier
Shimmery gold sequins adorn this centrepiece light.
DIY Candle Centrepiece
Lighting Ideas & Inspiration
- Design Sponge
A variety of trendy and crafty lighting projects.
Loads of user-generated lighting tutorials.
- Recycled Lamp Ideas
Including biro pens, plastic spoons and banana packaging.
- Packaging Lights
Cool light designs you can create yourself with recycled packaging.
- Martha Stewart Lamps
Lots of ideas and projects from the Queen of crafts.
DIY lamp inspiration and tutorials.
- DIY Coffee Cup Light
Excellent idea consisting of upside-down teacups and saucers.
- Vintage Lampshade Garland
Cool idea you can recreate yourself.
- Fairy Light Tree
Sculpt a beautiful wall mounted tree shape with little lights.
- Natural Lighted Wall Art
Effective idea using tree branches and a canvas.
Granny Square Lampshade
Please Leave a Comment!
thpalex on February 22, 2016:
Thanks for discussing great lens, was helpful to me.
sbconcepts on July 03, 2014:
Awesome lens with so much info! Thanks!
AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on January 20, 2014:
Angela F from Seattle, WA on December 21, 2013:
Love the cheese grater lamp!
anonymous on September 17, 2013:
nice as visit I appreciate you.
ehomedesignidea1 on August 23, 2013:
I really love this lens. I'm inspired to come up with my own DIY lamp.
anonymous on August 20, 2013:
Love the foam light, now where to find that foam at is the question! Cd light is very cool! Gonna make our lamp out of 33 lp's! and the egg crate lights are really neat idea too! Want to add some color though, maybe paint inside and outside. Thanks! Gonna try making them!
anonymous on August 19, 2013:
Such creative and wonderful lamps! I never even imagined or thought of doing anything like this before
Tricia Deed from Orlando, Florida on August 18, 2013:
I love your original creations. Great stuff.
BlowDryBar on August 09, 2013:
I made a really simple lamp once. It was a giant rubber ducky with a light bulb inside. It looked really cool lit up!
ToolHire LM on July 30, 2013:
I never would have thought that a cheese grater could look so cool! Amazing ideas, I 've got a lot of reading and practicing to do. Thank you! :-)
jasmints on July 15, 2013:
Very cool lamp ideas and lens! Thanks for sharing :)
lindarose92 on February 14, 2013:
Beautiful ideas! Check out my lens "Make Your Own Lamp" if you can, I hope you like it :)
cargoliftken on January 10, 2013:
the cheese grater lamp is brilliant!!! No pun intended ;-)
siennabrown1 on November 23, 2012:
Awesome suggestions, thanks a lot :))
anonymous on October 24, 2012:
Nice ideas! <3 it! tenkyu..
anonymous on October 07, 2012:
Some fantastic ideas on here wow, thank you you have got my mind ticking know with what I can use to make a lamp :D
ArmchairBuilder1 on October 05, 2012:
Wow, I never knew how much you could do to make your own lighting! And what better than to use stuff that would normally go to a landfill. Thanks for sharing.
Essentially Ind on September 27, 2012:
I just loved the lamp designs of Ruffle Lamp, Foam Bloom Lamp, Cocktail Umbrella Lamp. Each design is beautiful and too unique.........:)
anonymous on September 26, 2012:
Love the Egg Carton Fairy Lights!
BradfordBrain on September 21, 2012:
Great and unique ideas! Love it!
Joy Neasley from Nashville, TN on September 12, 2012:
Love the ideas. I love the elegant look and atmosphere that lights can give when they are done right.
pimbels lm on August 25, 2012:
Wow, I love this lens, very nice, thank you for sharing.
MrAdvice LM on July 24, 2012:
What a creative idea. Thank you for sharing. I like the fishbowl with Christmas lights for a deck. A+ lens
elliot-small on July 19, 2012:
Loving this page!! I do a fair few bits my self, would be great if you could stop by my page so we can share tips etc. have a look at some of my work on http://www.facebook.com/thefurniturerecyclingshop
I am about to turn a giant torpedo into a standard lamp!! would be great if you could look at the pic and give me some pointers, you can't miss it, its the huge yellow torpedo amongst a load of antiques :)
UKGhostwriter on May 26, 2012:
Fantastic lens ..pinned too!
allmysonsjacksonville on May 21, 2012:
These are all awesome ideas!
Oosquid on April 21, 2012:
Love your cheese grater lamp idea. Nice lens.
BestLaminateInc1 on April 12, 2012:
What great ideas!! I love it! I know what I'm doing this weekend. :)
nelchee on March 05, 2012:
I always wanted to make lamps but haven't gotten to it yet (I do have some sketches for them). My ex boyfriend made the most amazing electric lamp by painting floral motives on a CD spindle cover and no one could ever guess what it's made of.
mommafox on February 29, 2012:
Thanks for the inspiration!
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on February 12, 2012:
Really creative ideas for lighting. I feel inspired to get crafting. Thanks!
KevCooper on February 04, 2012:
Some very cool ideas.
anonymous on January 28, 2012:
Never seen so many handmade lamps before, my favorite is the outside jar hanging on trees. Well done indeed on this.
VarietyWriter2 on December 17, 2011:
Great ideas. Blessed by a Squid Angel :)
anonymous on December 09, 2011:
Very original deco items...keep it up.
anonymous on November 17, 2011:
You have got some really excellent ideas here it must have taken you ages researching DIY sites
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on October 01, 2011:
This is one of the best compilation of DIY lamp info I've seen. Super lens!
Heatherseesthel on August 18, 2011:
What a creative lens! I love the cheese grater lamp! I'm totally posting a link to this on my facebook wall: AffordableLamps Facebook Page. Keep up the good work, Studentz! Someday I'll have to try the road cone lamp!
anonymous on July 22, 2011:
love all of the ideas, the cheese grater is so nice