Purple Paper Feathered Lamp Shade




Introduction: Purple Paper Feathered Lamp Shade

My daughters have shared a bedroom since they were born. We now have the space for them to each have their own rooms. It was decided that they can choose the decorating style and color for each of their spaces,

My elder daughter LOVES the color purple, and wanted a purple lamp. I was having a very difficult time finding one that did not look like it belonged in a hookah bar or a burlesque show. (Not that there is anything wrong with hookah-bars and burlesque shows, just not right for a 10 year old girl!)

She asked if I could make one for her. Well, if you have read my instructable on the Teddy Bear Fail, you know that my girls have me wrapped around their fingers. So, yeah... I said of course!

I decided to document this process in hopes everyone else can enjoy it as much as I did!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials

To make this I used the following materials:

  • White tissue paper
  • Purple tissue paper
  • Punch balloons - (because they are generally larger than regular balloons)
  • Mod Podge - (for grins, I used glow in the dark!)


  • Foam brushes
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ceramic coffee cup

Step 2: It's All About That Base

To make the base layer for the shade, start with one of the punch balloons.

  1. Blow it up to the size you want. Keep in mind that after it is dry, it will shrink a little so plan for that in your sizing.
  2. Tie it off.
  3. If the rubber band is attached remove the rubber band from the top of the balloon.
  4. Set the tied end in the ceramic coffee cup.
  5. Tape the balloon to the coffee cup. This will make a sturdy base/stand to work with.

Step 3: The Tissue Issue

To make the structure of the shade:

  1. Tear some of the purple and some of the white tissue paper sheets into pieces. It is best if the pieces are smaller than the size of your fist. Too large and they can wrinkle when applied to the balloon, but too small and it may cause too many layers for light to penetrate.
  2. Using the foam brush, lightly brush a thin layer of Mod Podge on the balloon over a small space.
  3. Lay one piece of torn up tissue paper on the Mod Podge.
  4. Again, lightly brush a thin layer of Mod Podge over the newly applied tissue piece.
  5. Add more Mod Podge and another piece of tissue, overlapping part of the last piece.
  6. Repeat until the balloon is covered down to the cup. (You can always trim up what you don't need much easier than adding more length later!)
  7. Make sure the balloon is covered about 3 layers thick. Too much, and the light can't get through, too little and it will not hold together very well.
  8. Set aside to dry at least 24 hours.

Step 4: The Feathers That Aren't

This is how to make tissue paper feathers. I used tissue paper as apposed to real feathers, because it is much easier to apply, and it covers nicely. My daughter approved!

  1. Take a full sheet of tissue paper.
  2. Fold over the edge about 2 inches.
  3. Turn the paper over and fold the double layer over another two inches.
  4. Repeat going back and forth making an accordion shape from the tissue paper until you reach the end. This method works better than rolling because it will keep the side edges more even.
  5. With the scissors, cut the length of folded paper into three equal-ish sections.
  6. Fold one section lengthwise.
  7. Again, with the scissors, starting at one end, cut into the folded tissue paper, along the side opposite the middle fold. Make your cuts angled downward to the other end, and cut about halfway into the paper width. (Do not cut your feathers all the way to the end. There needs to be a nice solid piece to attach to the shade.)
  8. While the paper is still folded, starting at the top of the paper cut a curve along the side.
  9. Unfold the paper.
  10. You now have some feathers that aren't.
  11. If some are still connected along a fold, gently cut them apart to separate.
  12. Repeat all the steps until you have enough feathers to cover the entire shade.

Step 5: Burst Your Bubble

Alright, your balloon structure is dry.

Time to burst your bubble. This step is an instruction on what NOT to do, or what you MAY experience.

I separated the structure from the cup and turned the shell upside down.

With the scissors, I attempted to trim the bottom edge of the shade shell. I was not as careful as I really REALLY should have been with scissors around and balloon and I popped it!

I had not anticipated the Mod Podge essentially glued the paper to the balloon, and as the balloon shrank it collapsed the entire shell in a slow crackling implosion!

Had I thought of this, I would have let the air out gently and slowly, working the inside of the shell away from the balloon gradually.

I did not take pictures (or video for that matter) because I was panicking... just a little as I witnessed my work destroy itself.

After a few LOOOOOONG minutes, the compression stopped. I was able to remove the actual elastic balloon from the inside of the collapsed shell. I gently worked the shell back into a spherical shape again.

I inserted another punch balloon and inflated that one to restore the shell to size and shape. (That is why the balloon in the pictures went from red to blue!)

I added another layer of Mod Podge sealant to the outside in an attempt to give it more stability.

So now that it was dry.... again, I carefully continued to trim the edges.

It does not need to be perfect because it will not be seen under the layers of feathers.

Step 6: Feather Up!!

It is time to add the feathers to the neatly trimmed shell.

  1. Return the balloon and shell upside down to the cup.
  2. With one of the feathers, measure about where the base of the feather will hit if the tip hangs over the edge.
  3. With the brush make a line of Mod Podge along the circumference of the shell just where the base of the feather hit. Do no go all the way to the edge with the sealer, because the feathers need to hang loose.
  4. Add a feather to the stripe of glue.
  5. Add a thin layer of Mod Podge over the end of the feather to seal it in place.
  6. Repeat all the way around the shell. Randomly inserting purple feathers here and there.
  7. Return the balloon shell right side up, so the knot is back in the cup.
  8. Again, with one of the feathers, measure about where the base of the feather will hit if the tip overlaps about half of the first layer of feather.
  9. Repeat all the way around the shell. Again, randomly inserting the purple feathers.
  10. Continue this until the entire shell is covered with feathers.
  11. The very top layer will be only purple feathers.
  12. Overlap them generously at the peak.
  13. Add a layer of Mod Podge to the very top. This will make a nice strong point for hanging your lampshade.
  14. Set aside to dry for 24 hours.

Step 7: Deflate-gate!

  1. When it is dry... again, SLOWLY let the air out of the balloon.
  2. Work the balloon around away from the inside wall in case some of it stuck, again.
  3. Add a thin layer of Mod Podge to the inside of the shade for added support.
  4. Let it dry.

Now you have an empty shell that will be your shade!

Step 8: Let There Be Light!

There you have it!

I have it set for a table lamp, but to make a hanging lamp, just cut a small circle at the top and feed the socket through.

I also tried with with a black light bulb and it makes the white pop to an awesome shade of purple! (The pictures do NOT do it justice!)

Also, the glow in the dark Mod Podge makes quite a unique green glow when everything is off!

Purple Challenge

Runner Up in the
Purple Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Sew Fast Speed Challenge

      Sew Fast Speed Challenge
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge

    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    how did you set yours to be on a table lamp?


    Reply 4 years ago

    Hi, MickiV! The table lamp has the wire frame over the top of the bulb. With the locking end cap, I can set the shade right on top. Of course I use LED bulbs so there is almost no heat generated from the bulb. If you use a CFL or incandescent bulb, you may need to cut a vent hole or two in the top to let the heat escape.
    If your lamp does not use the over the top shade frame then a wire frame structure may need to be constructed. Or depending on the size of the shade you make, a hole could be cut from the top just wired enough to hold the socket, and the shade could be inverted, testing on the lamp itself.
    Thanks for asking! And thanks for checking it out!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks! Makes sense with the light bulb


    Reply 4 years ago

    You are welcome! :)