Introduction: Thread Lampshade

Picture of Thread Lampshade

A Thread lampshade is a super easy and pretty lampshade that can be made with just simple thread/string, glue and an inflatable ball. It's fun to create and doesn't even take a lot of time! plus the whole lampshade is super cheap- can be made for under $10!
it can be used to decorate your personal room, halls or they make perfect wedding decorations!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
  • Thread - 250 metres- (you can use crotchet thread, simple twine, cotton yarn or thin jute yarn- all have their unique effects)
  • Glue - 1 bottle- it's the main ingredient!
  • Inflatable rubber ball
  • A bulb with a bulb holder
  • A long wire with a 2-pin plug
  • Permanent marker
  • Empty tic-tac box
  • newspapers ( to spread on your work station to prevent a mess)

note - if you cannot find a thin inflatable rubber ball, a round balloon can also be used. However, I would advise you to use an inflatable rubber ball- because hey it's reusable!

Step 2: Setting Up Your Workspace and Materials

Picture of Setting Up Your Workspace and Materials

Spread newspaper sheets to prevent a mess, preferably on the ground as this gives you a lot of area to work.

Fill up air in the inflatable rubber ball till the ball is taut. With a permanent marker make a circle on the ball (this is to demarcate an area that will not be covered by the thread- the ball will be taken out via this hole and the bulb-holder and bulb will be inserted via this hole).

Now this is a neat trick to coat your thread in glue - take an empty tic tac box ( but preferably a slightly larger box with a lid) and make two holes, one on the bottom and one on top. pass the thread from the bottom hole to the one on top. Now fill up the box with glue and put the lid on it (you may have to refill the box a few times based on the size of your box). this way, when you pull the thread from the top, it comes pre-coated with glue! pretty neat, eh?

If you don't want to wind the ball with wet thread, then you can wind the balloon with dry thread and brush the ball with glue once you've wrapped it.

If you're using a thin thread, I would advise you to use glue without diluting it. However if you are using a thicker thread (like jute yarn) you can dilute your glue with water in the of ratio 1:1.

Step 3: Start the Winding!

Picture of Start the Winding!

This is the fun- and messy part! if you want you can wear gloves while winding the ball.

Wind the ball with the wet glue-coated thread and make sure the the winding is tight and you do not wind the thread over the circle that was marked on the ball. Make loops over the widest circumference of the ball. Try to wind the thread over all parts of the ball without leaving any empty patches.

Step 4: Leave the Ball to DRY

Picture of Leave the Ball to DRY

After you have finished winding the ball, brush the wound thread with diluted glue.

Then, leave the ball to dry. It takes approximately 24 hours for it to dry and harden completely. Let it dry in a place where it won't be disturbed much.

Step 5: Removing the Ball and Adding Final Touches

Picture of Removing the Ball and Adding Final Touches

After the thread windings have fully dried and hardened up, slowly deflate the ball. Since the ball is made of thin rubber, it should easily separate from the thread and the glue. be sure to handle it gently so as to not disturb the shape.

Attach a 2-pin plug on one end of the wire.

Insert the wire on the opposite end via any small hole (opposite to the circle marked). Then connect the wire to the bulb-holder,and attach the bulb and -voilà!- your super pretty thread lampshade is ready!

You can hang it in any corner of the house (it can be suspended via the wire itself), over tables, or just keep it on a corner table.

Step 6: Alternative Materials

Picture of Alternative Materials

Thread- you can use cotton yarn, jute thread, crochet thread, twine or even woollen yarn.
Different types of thread have different effects, all of which are equally pretty. if you use a thinner thread, you will need more thread to cover the entire ball properly. However, if you use a thicker thread (like jute yarn or woollen yarn) you will require lesser thread to cover the entire ball.
The thicker the thread, easier it is to make a lampshade.

Glue- you can use Fevicol, elmer's glue, PVA glue or any synthetic resin adhesive.

Ball- if you can't find an inflatable rubber ball, a round balloon can also be used. However, balloons tend to expand and shrink with temperature. hence make sure the balloon dries in a place where temperature in relatively constant.

Glue Box- if you don't want to use a box, you can pour the glue in a bowl and dip the thread in a bowl.


American Ruin (author)2014-07-30

Super groovy!

TrollFaceTheMan (author)2014-07-25

Neat, and very stylish XD

WyeDoc made it! (author)2014-06-24

Great idea! I made this to spice up an old lantern floor lamp I have but with a twist. I made two holes (top and bottom) and a frame to hang the light bulbs from. I also added tissue paper to the inside to diffuse the light a bit. Thanks for the Instructable!

TrollFaceTheMan (author)WyeDoc2014-07-25

Thanks for sharing :)

advaym (author)WyeDoc2014-06-24

Your lampshades look amazing!

Watermelon123 (author)2014-06-17

Amazing, great job.

This is awesome and I love that you use a ball that you can reuse to make a bunch of these. And it's a nice round shape that's hard to get with a balloon!

Mielameri (author)2014-06-15

This looks fantastic! Thanks ! And the tic-tac glue coating method is brilliant :)

albinsebastian made it! (author)2015-10-25

I made a similar one. It is very easy everyone should try..

advaym (author)albinsebastian2015-10-26

these look great!

trude10 (author)2015-10-15

Love it!

advaym (author)trude102015-10-15

thank you!

mohnish raj (author)2015-04-23

Can we hang photos from the lamp shade , using threads?
will the structure be strong enough to hold it ?

advaym (author)mohnish raj2015-04-24

if you're planning on hanging light objects like photographs, light decoration pieces etc. ; it should be able to hold all that.
The structure is actually much sturdier than one would imagine. especially so if it's made with a thicker thread.

mohnish raj (author)advaym2015-04-27

Thanks a lot ! xD
Btw Can i use wollen thread ?

jose m (author)mohnish raj2015-04-28

you can use a wollen thread/yarn. however, keep in mind that the wool will gain a funny texture once you apply glue on it.

mohnish raj (author)mohnish raj2015-04-27


Bill WW (author)2014-06-18

Really great design, I love it!

A question - what is the generic type of glue?

Voted for you in the glue contest, of course.

advaym (author)Bill WW2014-06-19

thank you!
I've used 'Fevicol', which is a very commonly available glue in my country. it's basically a synthetic resin/white adhesive.

ffrisell (author)2014-06-17

Very nice! A lamp like that will be needed in my new house. I will try to get some "african" feel to it since we are moving to Zambia. Maybe thin roots or long grass instead of yarn... hmmm...

advaym (author)ffrisell2014-06-17

you can use a thick brown jute thread to make it. that should give it an authentic african feel.

stechi (author)2014-06-15

Good explanation, and I like the glue applicator. But I think some comments are in order about the RISK of FIRE. Light bulbs, especially the incandescent type, get really got after a while. Commercial lampshades have a BIG hole at the top to let hot air out. They also have a kind of spider that holds the lampholder in the middle of the big hole. I'm just worried that the heat could start a fire, maybe only after while. That would be bad. Even with bulbs that don't generate so much heat, like LEDs or CFLs, a fault could create some heat and the shade could BURN.

advaym (author)stechi2014-06-15

I've made two lampshades like this including once that's been in use everyday since a year! and believe me, there is no actual fire hazard.
The bulb I've used is a mere 15 watt small bulb. moreover, by virtue of using thin thread the heat gets dissipated and the lampshade doesn't really heat up!

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