Introduction: Velum Map Lampshade

About: Everything I make is done with love and imperfection.

I found an amazing pile of maps printed on velum and finally found the perfect project to do with them.

The velum has a slight amber cast and looks awesome with light shining through from behind - so I decided to redo an old lampshade (found at a garage sale) to give it a new look.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

The Lampshade

The lampshade that I had is double lined. I was really happy about this because it meant that I could keep the inner layer as protection from the lightbulb - I didn't have to worry about the velum getting to close to the bulb and melting (or catching on fire!).

I did a bit of reading about using velum or paper for lampshades before I realized that my shade had an inner protective layer. If you don't have an inner layer to your lampshade I would recommend looking further into this. Apparently, you can buy fire-retardant sprays and it is also recommended to have a low-heat bulb. I buy low-heat energy efficient bulbs anyways, so I feel confident that my lampshade is safe.

The Maps

I was lucky and found a stack of velum maps from different areas of the Yukon. If you want to recreate this project and you don't have maps like this laying around, you should be able to print your own on purchased velum. Paper maps might work well too - hold one up to the light and see if you like the effect.

The Other Tools & Materials

  • Sharp craft knife (exacto would probably be best, I used a utility knife)
  • Sharp craft scissors
  • Long straight edge and cutting mat (because my maps were so big, I just used old pieces of board)
  • Hot glue gun and good craft glue
  • Ribbon - I used both 1-inch ribbon and 3/8-inch ribbon in a neutral beige colour to match my map pieces.

Step 2: Disassembly

The first step was to disassemble my old lamp.

First, I ripped off the decorative ribbing that circled the top and bottom, and was glued on to each of the lampshade spines.

The, using a small pair of very sharp scissors I cut through the outer fabric layer of this lampshade being very careful to leave the inner layer intact. I had to check out how the lamp was put together in order to make sure that I wouldn't incorrectly disassemble it.

My lamp is simply glued onto the inner metal pieces, so I was confident that cutting off the outer layer would not disturb the inner. I cut all of the outer fabric layer off of the shade to expose all the inner metal structure. In some places, the inner layer of the lampshade started to slide off and I quickly secured it back to the metal structure with hot glue.

Step 3: Cut Out the Pieces

Making a template would have been a good idea - I encourage you to do so at this point. I didn't, and winged it with a map piece.

I measured the 8 lamp sections and cut out a section of map slightly larger than my measurement. I cut out pieces that measured 6" at the top and 7" at the bottom with an even angle connecting the top and bottom.

I cut out 8 map sections using a long straight edge and a sharp craft knife. I centered the pieces over what I found to be interesting sections of the maps.

Step 4: Apply Map Pieces to Lamp

Before attaching the map to the lamp, I rolled the map piece so that when I laid it on the lamp it sat nicely and conformed to the natural shape of the lamp.

I used a combination of hot glue and craft glue to attach the pieces - at the top and bottom as well as on the sides to the lamp spines.

I first applied the map to four sections of the lamp, leaving a free space in between each one. Once the glue was dry, I trimmed up the edges of the map section using sharp craft scissors. Then I applied the last four sections, gluing them in place and then trimming them to fit.

Step 5: Add Finishing Ribbing

I first added the ribbing to cover the joins of the map edges (along the lamp spines). Again, I used a combo of hot glue and craft glue to attach the ribbon to the top of the lamp first, then down the edge. I did this to all 8 spines.

Finally, I used a wider piece of the same coloured ribbon for around the top and bottom of the lamp. I attached it to the outside of the lamp and folded it in half to secure it on the inside.

I allowed this to dry and then put my lampshade back on its stand. All in all, this project took about 3 hours.

Makerspace Contest

Participated in the
Makerspace Contest