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Wow, thanks for all the great info! I didn't realize that some frames are made only for sewn shades. Thanks for the advice for picking out fabrics too. I didn't realize that about the fire hazards!

judy lake

Hi Heather,
My mom had a 100 watt light bulb in a small shade, (not mine) and the inside had all melted. I believe styrene will melt, but fabrics too close could certainly catch on fire.


to answer your post I have to tell you that the most difficult supply, the one I can not get in my country is wire frames! specially the victorian frames! imposible... since the set up to build your own frames is not a cheapy one..I have to work with what I can find and modificate the ones that inspire me. Finals are also difficult, nice ones,,,
hard to find things are my speciallity...

your blog is a great find!!! I love it!

judy lake

Hi Mariel,
Where do you live? Maybe someone will be able to help out. Never thought finials might be hard. I love making my own with the brass swivel bases. Keep an eye out for them.

The Lampshade Studio

It is important to use a 40V bulb for small shades to avoid burning if using lace, crochet or even plastic/stryrene. In South Africa, the sticky styrene is not available, one has to sew the material on 1 or 2 sides to fit it over the non-sticky styrene - a longer more intense process!

judy lake

Thanks Sandra, yes, this is helpful advice.



Does pressure sensitive styrene have a different name to it ? I am from the southern part of India and I have been trying to source it here... However, no one here is aware of what it is. Since I don't get a hard backing for the shade, I resort mostly to making square shaped shades... And I use the regular tracing sheets that are available in the local stationery store. But not sure if it is heat resistant...


judy lake

Hi Woodooz,
Some countries use pressure sensitive vinyl. It is pretty similar to styrene.

I started making paper shades, cut and pieced many moons ago and used heavy tracing paper, almost a vellum paper to line the shades. Always must use a low wattage bulb if the shades are small.

Double Glazing

It is not easy to make lampshade and some other craft, so we should salute the people behind this stuff. Keep it up!

Elena Needham

Hi, I am from New Zealand, and have shipped what i use for lampshades, self-adhesive pvc, from a company in the UK called, they have a website with this name. It is sticky on one side. A roll is 1.5 metres wide x 25 metres long, and VERY heavy!! works out quite reasonable. Obviously the more you buy the cheaper it is, especially in shipping.

The thing i am finding hard to source down here is the 'Quick' glue, practically impossible, can anybody help me with this. Thanks Elena.

Leah Bechtoldt

I live in Vancouver, WA USA, and have been making Victorian fabric lampshades for a dozen years or so. I agree with the above post regarding acquiring wire Victorian frames. Virtually no one is making them any longer, due to cost of production and also shipping. I found a supplier in Canada, but to ship these large items is not cost-effective unless buying in bulk. Every once in a while, I luck out during an antique or thrift store spree and find one I can repurpose. Just keep your eyes out. Same is true for antique silk brocade.

judy lake

Hi Leah, thanks for the comments and suggestions. It is certainly a treasure hunt, but the internet sure makes it easier than. We have it so much easier than the lampshade makers in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. They really have a hard time sourcing materials. Heck, but isn't that the fun of it!! Just like finding fantastic vintage fabrics. I'll keep an eye out on Etsy for your work. xo judy

G. Leitch


Do you know of anywhere in Vancouver, BC, where I can find pressure sensitive styrene?

Thank you!

G. Leitch

judy lake

Hi in Vancouver,
I do not know of a source there, but sure there must be one. I had some friends making shades in Toronto and think they found a source near there.

google, google. Also try asking some lampshade makers in your area. I do know that Artistic Bias exports styrene, An order must be a business and order at last 25 yards.


Hi Judy,
I live in Toronto. Do you mind finding our and sharing your friends source for pressure sensitive styrene in Toronto? Thanks very much!

judy lake

Hi Cheryl,
I do not know one, but a little research on your end with google and contacting local lampshade makers may help source it in your area. I have a source in NJ that does export in quanties to businesses- check prior post to yours.
I had 2 students from Toronto and I think they were able to find some up your way.


Hi Judy,
I've googled and googled, have reached out to local makers and even have contacted some plastic manufacturers in the hopes of finding a local supplier but have not had any success. If you have the contact information of your two students, would it be possible for you to find out from them who their source is? Thank you in advance!!!!


I make sewn lampshades which are washable and the outer cover can easily be replaced to suit your decor. I used to have the frames made by local welders but accuracy in respect of the uprights and consistency in the size was a problem.I have recently found a supplier in Cape Town and I am working on the costing which may be heavy and make the procedure too expensive. I usually have a stock of shades which are lined and waiting for my customers choice of fabric. I am self taught and find it very labour intensive but cannot find any books which would advise me of an easier way to make them.


Could you please tell me where or what kind of paper I can use? The thickness would help & where to get it. I am passing if the styrene it is not gold and I will not pay the prices I am seeing over $5 a foot, that is crazy your are hundreds into just styrene for a few lamp shades. As well 5 minutes in a car where I live ruins the styrene. So where can I find appropriate paper and what is the thickness needed? Thanks Stephani
[email protected]

judy lake

Hi Stephani,
I only use styrene for making my shades. I suggest looking on etsy at some of the folks that use paper on their shades and see what they say.
I do think the styrene is a little expensive, but a yard goes a long way. I usually have a big roll in my shop if you happen to be in the neighborhood.... it's really the shipping that adds to the cost. Very hard to ship. I buy it by a roll of 50 yards so it is a good if you should come by always best to give a call to the shop.

Marissa Camacho

Have any of you tried I think they have practically everything you need.

judy lake

Looks like lamp parts. That's handy. The main source for "all things lampshade making" is


I am in cape town and have no idea where to get lamp shade frames for my lamp projects.


judy lake

Hi Deborah,
Sorry I have not a clue where to find supplies near you, but the internet is a wonderful resource! Another tip might be to find a local lampshade maker and see if she might sell you some supplies or share their sources. I always do when asked and will sell out of my shop if lampshade makers come in, but no shipping. To think of the days where I started making lampshades with no internet.... can you to the library to look up companies... ha, seems so long ago,
best luck,

Wendy DiTuri

I have covered my frame. Now I am having trouble finding gimp and fringe or beads. Is there a place that has more than one or two colors?

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