Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

EASY contrast trim pleated lampshade tutorial (no-sew, minimal cuts)

I’ve seen pleated lampshades around a lot lately, even shared a guest tutorial for a beautiful method here! I hadn’t made one yet myself. When I did… I always like to try something new, so I combined the methods I’d seen on DIY tutorials on blogs and some tips I was able to gather from the pros, and came up with this no-sew pleated lampshade tutorial that will work on large or small lampshades, drum or empire shape!

Contrast trim pleated lampshade tutorial

You will need:

  • Drum or modified empire/tapered shade (this might work on other styles, but I haven't tried it/can't conceptualize it on a super dramatic cone shape or other funky shape)
  • Fabric (I used 1 yard of this Indian block print for my 11" high shade)
  • 1/2" double fold bias tape (I used one package for this medium-large shade) (or cut your own from any fabric you want, or use self-fabric)
  • Low temp glue gun, though this may also work with Tacky Glue (I want to try that next!)

1. Cut the fabric into strips the height of your shade. I had one yard of fabric and an 11" tall shade so I cut three 12" long pieces to give a little extra room. If you have a pattern to match, you may need more fabric. For my relatively large shade, I used almost all three lengths of fabric to go around.

Optional: sew the strips right sides together on the short ends. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can still do this project; just leave the pieces separate, but maybe fold and press under the selvage edges so it’s easier to hide the joints in the pleats.

2. Mark every 1/2" around the bottom of the shade.

3. Glue the fabric down in little, approximately the same size, pleats all around the bottom of the shade. (Watch video of me doing this here.) Note: next time I do this I will use a softer glue like Tacky Glue, and/or apply the glue in the direction and along the bottom of the shade. I ended up with hot glue bumps every 1/2" or so in the finished product, so I think either of these other gluing methods would work better. 

4. Hang the shade upside down to help the pleats hang straight. At several places on the top edge, glue the fabric down as an anchor. Then, split the difference and halve the big pleats over and over again until you end up with more pleats about every 1/2".

5. Trim off any excess fabric from the top and/or bottom and glue the bias tape down on the front side, covering the edge. Fold the bias tape over at the end to hide it.

Apply glue to the back and press the other side of the bias tape down.

That’s it! 

Using premade bias tape is way, way easier than cutting your own especially if you don’t have a lot of sewing tools like a rotary cutter and mat. However, you could also do this with self-fabric if you had enough of your fabric to cut bias tape and those tools. I might try that sometime. I think the contrast trim is a fun, more English country look (like these gorgeous handmade ones).

You could also double up on the bias tape and do two layers, like this one I’ve seen available for sale for actually a really good price.

If you use store-bought bias tape you are limited to the colors they have. There are quite a few options and each package is only about $2, but this burgundy is not exactly the right color for the shade which kind of bugs me.

I’m not super happy with how bumpy the edges are from the hot glue. Like I said next time I will try applying the glue lengthwise along the edge of the shade, and/or using Tacky Glue, which wouldn’t dry as fast (so might take some masking tape or some thing to clamp it in place while it dries).

Actually, that is a good idea… I have another one of these to make, now I’m inspired to try that method! Stay tuned!

I also shared a video version of this tutorial over here on Instagram.

Otto's room is still coming together but shop what we have so far below!

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