Introduction: Make a Fabric Lamp

Lamps are expensive. And I like my lamps in pairs so the price of fancy lamps doubles fast. The only thing more common than an expensive lamp is an expensive ugly lamp. I solved that problem by making this cheap lamp that is easy on the eyes.

I created the pattern from scratch. Through trial and error, I've come up with a classic shape that you can interpret however you like.

It is easy to sew, easy to assemble, shouldn't set you back more than $20 and is super versatile. Just think of the possibilities. You could use felt, or upholstery fabric or embroider each of the panels before sewing them together.

You can see my Etsy listing here

Step 1: What You Will Need:

Materials:

1. Fabric - 1/2 yard will be plenty
2. Fusible Interfacing - Optional. If you use a heavy fabric you don't need this. I used a thin cotton.
3. Matching Thread
4. Polyfill
5. Lampshade (not pictured)
6. Light bulb (not pictured)
7. (1) Fence Post Cap - This will be the base of the lamp.
8. (1) All Thread Lamp Pipe Kit , 12" - This kit will include the 2 washers and 2 nuts you will need.
9. (1) 8' Lamp Cord Set
10. (1) Lighting Fixture Socket
11. (4) Adhesive Feet - For base of lamp to allow for cord clearance

Tools:

1. Pattern, which you can download here
2. Sewing Machine or Needle
3. Straight Pins
4. Scissors
5. Screwdriver
6. Wrench
7. Iron (not pictured)
8. Ironing Board (not pictured)

Step 2: Pattern

Follow this link and download the pattern. Print it out and enlarge it 200% at a copy center. It is not likely to print on one piece of 11x17" paper unless you get it at just the right angle so it may be easier to enlarge half of the pattern at a time. Tape the two copies together after matching the lines.

The pattern includes a 3/8" seam allowance noted by the dotted line. Cut along the dotted line and pin to your fabric. Cut out 6 pieces. Depending on the type of fabric that you use, you may want to use fusible interfacing. I used a fairly thin vintage cotton that benefited from interfacing, but if you use a heavier fabric it won't be necessary. If you do think your fabric will benefit from it, follow the pattern provided and cut out 6 more pieces out of fusible interfacing. Follow the directions on the package to fuse. The kind I used required I lay the fusible side down on the wrong side of the fabric, cover with a damp cloth and press with a hot iron. Very easy.

Step 3: Sew

To begin sewing, lay two pieces with right sides together and pin along one edge. I put pins 3/4 of an inch from either end as markers for where to start and stop sewing. You will need the very top and bottom to remain open so that later you can turn it right side out and fit it over the lamp post.

Once the first two pieces are sewn, continue matching piece by piece with like sides together, pinning and sewing until you have made it all the way around the lamp. There will be six seams. Fortunately, these fold up like an accordion as you move to each new section, so you'll find it easy to keep extra fabric out of your way while you are pinning and sewing.

Step 4: Clip and Stuff

You should now have what looks like a deflated balloon. The next step is to clip the seams so that when you turn the "balloon" right side out you will have nice, smooth seams.

Once you've clipped all of the seams, turn the lamp right side out. Pin the top closed and stuff the lamp from the bottom hole with fiberfill. Use small pieces to avoid lumps and don't be afraid to overstuff. Rotate the lamp every once in a while so that it is filled up evenly. The handle of a wooden spoon is a great tool to push the fiberfill up into the top of the lamp.

Step 5: Assmble the Lamp

Now it's time to assemble your lamp. After screwing 1 nut followed by 1 washer onto one end of the threaded lamp pipe, stick it into the top of the fence post cap. Tighten a second nut on the underside of the fence post cap. (The order from top to bottom will be nut, washer, fence post cap, nut.) Then adhere the 4 vinyl feet to each corner of the base. This will make the lamp more stable and will also create clearance for the cord.

Fold under the fabric at the base of the lamp and then slide the lamp over the lamp post pole. You may need to help it along by pushing some of the stuffing out of the way from the top of the lamp.

Step 6: Sew Top Closed

Once you have your fabric base anchored on the lamp pipe, make sure that the stuffing is even and full. When you are happy with it, sew the top closed using a running stitch in a circle near the top. By tightening your thread, you'll close the top.

Step 7: Wire

With the washer in place at the top of the lamp, screw on the base (or "cap") of the light fixture socket.

Push the cord up through the base and out through the socket cap at the top and tie what is called an underwriter's knot.

There are two screws on either side of the socket. Loosen these screws slightly. Wrap the ribbed wire around the silver screw and the other wire around the brass screw. Tighten with a screwdriver.

Pull the extra wire back into the lamp and snap the socket down into the cap and you are done!

Comments

author
terter made it! (author)2012-05-26

This is an AMAZING idea and well done instructables!...VERY creative
Thank you!

author
oddmuffin14 made it! (author)2008-08-20

really cool project! this is a much better (and safer) way to incorporate all those fun fabrics into my life instead of just putting them on top of the lamp shade. You have just saved me from burning down my house!

author
Valche made it! (author)2008-02-26

Oh wow, this is great. I can't wait to make one, where do you learn to make the drafts (i think that's what they're called?) for stuff like that? +1 & favorited!

author
naturaldesignchick made it! (author)2007-10-01

Such an amazing project. I can't wait to find a fun and funky fabric to make some lights for my bedside.

author
Dorion made it! (author)2007-08-15

Just love this. I'm a stitcher myself and am constantly surrounded by gorgeous fabrics and questions on how to use them. This is a fantastic solution, and versatile!

author
TheAnticraft made it! (author)2007-08-10

This is one of the COOLEST projects I have ever seen. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm feeling as optimistic as possible (I am the Anticraft)! Thanks so much for posting this instructable pitterpattern!

author
drbec made it! (author)2007-07-28

I love this instructable! I will be bookmarking this to try in the future for sure!

author
kris-8675309 made it! (author)2007-07-21

I must say that this was a great project. I was needing a lamp and I was able to easily follow the instructions with no difficulty. My lamp looks great!

author
Lychee made it! (author)2007-07-20

I love green color and shape of the lamp!!!It is very understandable to follow these guidances with photos.

author
jessiep made it! (author)2007-07-18

If you'd like your project included in the Sew Useful Contest, be sure to add a link to your lamp's Etsy page.

author
lilysmom made it! (author)2007-07-17

What a creative and unique project! Thank you so much for the easy to follow tutorial with so many good photos. I can't wait to have a cool lamp like this in my home.

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