How to: Making a Lamp and Felt Shade

When we originally toured our house with the real estate broker the dining room was lit by a magnificent chandelier of deer antlers. The lamp was unfortunately an heirloom and explicitly excluded from the sale in our purchase contract. So, when we moved into the house our dining room was furnished with a mere exposed 60 watt bulb in a ceramic fixture. Instead of buying a new lamp, we decided to make our own.

The design we settled on was a simple circular fixture with a felt shade. Here is how we made it.

Step 1 – The circular frame

The frame is a needle point circle. They are inexpensive, sturdy, and easy to work with using simple tools since they are wood and not metal.

To hang the circular frame we notched it at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions. The notches were cut with a fine handsaw and were the width to accept two crossbars of basswood from the local hobby store.

The crossbars meet at the center. Here we made a circular wooden hub by laying up 4 layers of 1/4″ plywood, again from the hobby store. We cut 4 circle out of the ply using a hole saw bit for our drill, then cut two of the circles into quarters. We then glued them together as layers, the two solid circles on the top and bottom and the quartered circles in the middle, leaving slots to accept the cross struts. We glued the layers and struts together with wood glue.

Step 2 – The electrical

We drilled the hub with a small hole on one side and a slightly larger hole in the other. The small hole is big enough for a power cord to pass through. The bigger hole is large enough to accept the end of a ceramic socket.

After passing the cord through the hole we wired the ceramic socket in place. The other end if the cord was wired into the ceiling with a new antiqued brass cover.

Step 3 – The shade

We made the shade with a single piece of felt, using a felting needle and some yarn to put a set of little pinstripes around the bottom edge.


We attached the felt to the frame with binder clips. After clipping them over the wood frame and felt we pulled the metal handles out of the black spring, leaving only the spring part in place. They are almost unnoticeable and we can now easily swap out shades if we change our mind or need some more color in the living room.