DIY Lamp shade {balsa wood}

I was in a shady contest… As in a lamp shade contest, hardy har!   I posted about the diy shade contest last week, but left you hangin’ with no deets. So, I’m back today with a shady tutorial!How to make a balsa wood lampshade

Let’s start with the inspiration shade from Pomp and Circumstance. It’s awesome and made out of balsa wood.   lamp shade Of  course, I wanted to make the shade my own, and I’ve been really into mixed woods lately. I made a jewelry organizer out of leftover floor samples last year and decided to go for the same multi wood shade look with the lamp shade. CRAFT Jamie Dorobek

For the contest, gave each of us this free shade for the contest:

diy lamp shade
Here’s what you need:

  • 7 strips of as wide and thin balsa wood that you can find  (I got mine from Hobby Lobby. 7 strips cost me $17)
  • brown acrylic paint and water
  • bowl
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun

First, I painted my strips of balsa wood with acrylic paint. I painted a few strips a darker color, then watered down the paint, and painted a few more strips, etc…
diy lampshade



Here are my painted and dried balsa wood strips ready to be cut.
lamp shade makeover


I used scissors to cut each wide strip into multiple pieces. This saved money! I made my strips all different sizes. The thin balsa wood can easily be cut with scissors!
lamp 12

Now it’s time for assembly. Be patient, it will get frustrating. First, hot glue one piece of wood around the top and bottom of the shade. If you have a large shade, like me, one piece will not fit… cut up another one and  do a little patch, like so…

lamps shade diy


I only glued the edges of the balsa wood down. You need to be able to tuck the ends into each other. Also, only the first few strips can be put on all in one piece. After that I started cutting the strips to fit specific spots and go under/ over certain pieces. I tried to keep the pieces as tight to the shade as possible.

diy lamp shade

The weaving process takes time and patience! My mom helped me a lot… I was getting frustrated! Many of the pieces in the pic below are only a few inches long. It’s not going to be perfect… it has issues… and that yellow wall was not helping the color in this picture either : /

lamp shade

Here she is full view, and you can’t really see the issues. I’m love her. She’s pretty. I’m hoping one day she might be a pendant light! We’ll see…


diy lamp shade


Once upon a time I was in another lamp contest… this was to win the ugly lamp award, ha! I also recently did a lamp makeover with paint and water and gave it a giant yellow shade. Anyhow, what do you think about my balsa wood beauty queen? I smitten with my new shade, and I hope you are too. Oh and if you liked this lampshade makeover, check out 22 more really awesome lampshade makeover ideas!




  1. I have already voted for you, my fingers are crossed for you :-) have a wonderful day!

  2. Wow, that’s so neat! Love the look.

  3. This is so beautiful! Love the look of the mixed woods!

  4. very talented! this lamp looks awesome!

  5. I LOVE this lamp! I’m pinning this to my lamp shade board! This is so creative and unique! Wow!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

  6. So unique! Love it.

  7. Very cool! I have a love affair with lampshades.

  8. LOVE the blue for the lamp! I really need to make a jewelry organizer and I really like yours.

  9. Love this shade! Thanks for linking up to All Things Pretty. New follower on Twitter and Pinterest.

  10. Looks great! New follower from the Monday Fun Party.

  11. I love this project! I’m gathering materials to try this myself, but could you be more specific about a few things?
    1. What were the dimensions of the shade you used?
    2. How did you estimate the amount of balsa wood needed? (Double or triple the surface area of the shade to be covered?)
    3. How wide & thick were your balsa wood strips/sheets before you cut them down?
    4. Did you have any issues with the strips snapping or breaking as you bent them around the shade?
    5. Was it necessary to heat or steam the strips to make them more pliable?

    Thank you for sharing your creativity & time, I look forward to hearing from you!


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  4. […] This project lets you give new life to an old lamp by painting the base and adding balsa wood around the shade. You can find the full tutorial at C.R.A.F.T. […]

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