Barrel (Drum) Lamp Shade




Introduction: Barrel (Drum) Lamp Shade

Make your own barrel lamp shade using some simple materials picked up at craft and hardware stores.

Step 1: Getting Started

I was looking for a way to cover an ugly light fixture instead of changing the it since I didn't want to spend that kind of money or deal with the electrical work. Because I couldn't find one I liked, I created my own. Please note that I'm just using this as a cover. If you would like to actually integrate a light and hang it as a fixture I'm sure it's possible, but you'll have to figure out the additional steps.

The items I used are:

2 23'" quilting hoops
12"x18" heavy duty template plastic (also found in the quilting section of the craft store)
scotch tape

3 1-1/4" mug hooks
3 picture hangers
6 1-1/2" S-hooks

Tips: The plastic can get static and pick up a lot of dust. I wiped mine down with a dryer sheet in the beginning and at the end to cut back on it.

You will need to calculate how many plastic sheets you need by figuring out the circumference of your shade. The formula for this is circumference = pi x diameter. In my case C = 3.1415 X 23". My circumference is about 72.25". I used 18" sheets so 72.25"/18" = 4.01. I needed at least 5 sheets to have enough to go all the way around.

You could pretty much use any kind of material for the sides of the shade, but I think something with some rigidity will hold up better.

No matter what material you use, be sure not to place it to close to the bulb for safety purposes.

Step 2: Hoop 1

Note: Quilting hoops consist of two rings - inner and outer. by loosening the outer ring you can slide material between the two rings.

Begin by loosening the wing nut on one hoop. Do not completely remove the wing nut, but loosen it enough that the plastic will slide easily between the inner and outer rings.

Lay the hoop on a flat surface and begin placing the plastic between the inner and outer rings. I overlapped the sheets quite a bit, but you can do it however you like.

Once the sheets are completed tighten the Wing nut without lifting. If you lift before the hoop is tightened all your sheets will slide through.

Once tightened you can flip the loop over and check the edge. You may need to wiggle the hoop and sheets to make sure the edges of the sheets are completely hidden

Step 3: Hoop 2

Loosen the second hoop and completely remove the inner circle.

I added some ribbon to this hoop. You don't have to. You can just skip this ribbon crap if you don't want it.

Tape the ribbon onto the outer edge of the inner circle. (This tape won't be seen as it will be hidden by the outer ring when finished.) Run the ribbon back and forth across the circle in whatever manner you like. I found that I needed to use tape every time the ribbon wrapped around the circle to keep it from sliding. When you're done, put this circle off to the side for a second.

Now take the outer circle from the second hoop and lay it on a flat surface. Take the previously assembled hoop with plastic pieces and sit the raw plastic edges inside the second hoop. It may take some work, but make sure all the edges are inside the second hoop.

Take the circle with the ribbon and carefully slide it into the structure through the top. Push it all the way to the bottom until the second hoop is back into it's original state.

Tighten the wing nut on the second hoop without lifting as with the first hoop. Once tightened, flip the structure and check for exposed plastic edges again. Make any adjustments as needed.

Step 4: Mounting

Using hot glue attach the picture hangers inside the Hoop 1 (without the ribbon). I used 3 in a triangle pattern.

Measure the distance between each hook and use it to plot the holes for the ceiling.

Screw your mug hooks into the ceiling. I had to make pilot holes with a small drill bit. Just depends on the ceiling.

I used two S-hooks from each mug hook. Add more to hang lower or remove some to hang higher.

Connect the S-hook to the picture hangers.

You're done.

Step 5: Update 03/30/09

I wasn't feeling the ribbon. It was too fussy for the rest of the design, and I didn't want the exposed bulbs to be visible from below so I changed it. See below:

Take down the shade.

Remove the bottom ring and take off the ribbon and tape.

Use the ring to trace a circle onto a piece of styrene. (Styrene is the plastic that you'll usually see covering fluorescent lights in offices or sometimes in kitchens. I picked it up at the hardware store.
2 'x 4' for $6)

I cut the Styrene using scissors. Go slowly and be careful because the styrene likes to crack. The guy at the store suggested using a table saw with a very fine blade. That would probably be faster and give a cleaner edge, but I don't have a table saw.

Replace the bottom hoop as done previously in step 3.

Once complete, I placed the circular piece into the shade through the top while being sure that it sat completely on the small edge created by the inner ring of the bottom hoop. If you're feeling daring you could glue it into place, but I like that everything is loose so I can change things up.

Rehang and you're done.

Step 6: Other Tips

Instead of ribbon you could also put more plastic to block the view of the old fixture completely.

Try other papers with different patterns or colors to go with your room.

I lined up the wing nuts on both hoops to keep things uniform. If you don't like them you could hang the shade so the wing nuts are in the least visible space.

Compact fluorescent bulbs give off less heat than traditional bulbs so you may want to consider using them for safety. If not you can use a lower watt traditional bulb.

Quilt hoops come in lots of sizes and colors (plastic). you could make a longer version by just adding another row of plastic and another hoop.

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Anything Goes Contest

    Anything Goes Contest



10 years ago on Introduction

I made this to fit my floor lamp! I did that by sticking one of the outside hoops longways into the shade and seeing where the sides would touch the inside of the shade while the top of the arc came to just the right height. The adjuster hardware was directly at the bottom and centered. I marked the hoop with pencil on one side where it touched, then measured the distance from the open part of the hoop to the line. Then made another mark on the opposite side of the hoop that matched that measurement. Then I sawed both sides on those lines. Then measured the whole arc that was left, marked it directly in the center and drilled a very large hole there (which split the wood, btw, but not bad enough to ruin it, so be careful). Then I found a washer that matched the size of the hole and hot glued it atop the hole. Then I fitted the arc to where I wanted it to be, marked one side of the lamp shade inside, measured and matched the other side. then I hot glued the arc to the inside of the shade, let it cool, and fixed it to the lamp's harp. Voila. I did not use ribbon. I also did not, obviously, leave the outside hoops on. Just used the bottom one while I stretched the fabric over the top inside one, folded over and hot glued the edges to it inside. Close pins are very helpful for this. Hope that was helpful and not confusing.


12 years ago on Introduction

I liked the ribbon, I would add it back over the diffusing styrene. It added a bit of retro elegance.


12 years ago on Introduction

Awesome writeup. I am totally going to make one sometime soon. ill post pics when I'm done.


13 years ago on Step 6

I've been wanting to make a drum lampshade but I'm all thumbs.
Using the hoops is a great idea. I like how you hung it also. Thanks.


13 years ago on Introduction

This is a brilliant idea - I think I will make one for my downstairs and cover the plastic with a light fabric and see if that works - thank you so much!

Big G
Big G

13 years ago on Introduction

Very nice! I work in a lighting store, so this is pretty cool to see! It would be interesting to hot glue 3 or 4 small L brackets to the bottom where the ribbon is now, cut a circle out of frosted plexiglas, and rest it on the brackets. That way, you would have a diffuser of sorts on the bottom, and you would not be able to see the bare lightbulbs if you happen to be underneath the fixture. Just a random thought of mine. :P Overall, a great Instructable!


Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

Thanks. I agree about putting something in the bottom. I plan on doing just that when I get a chance to go pick up more supplies.