1 $5 Drum Shade Tutorial

So I’m finally back with the Drum Shade Tutorial from the Pinterest Challenge, using engineer your space’s video tutorial as a guide. I warn you this post is pretty lengthy and has a lot of photos.

I must be upfront and state that I used a lot of materials already on hand so if you don’t have them, the whole project could still total under $10. It definitely beats some drum shade prices out there, plus it is custom- fabric and size. The project took a few hours each day spread out over a work week.

We needed something to cover this eye sore, and after scouring home improvement stores, thrift stores, etc, we couldn’t find anything that just ‘fit.’ So we opted to make our own.


Before we purchased materials we rough measured the existing light fixture. We found that it would be best for any diameter above 8” for adequate heat circulation and at least 6” finished material (which means more for seam allowance).

And like I said in the Pinterest Challenge post, we I had a hard time finding the right material and used the purple fabric for inspiration, and purchased .38 of a yard in navy blue polyester to turn it into a fringe-like material.

Supplies/materials list:

Hover over the image for reference numbers.
  1. Navy blue polyester [cost] (50% sale on fabrics)
  2. Coordinating fabric (had on hand)
  3. 2 - 12” Embroidery Hoops $1 each (with 50% off regular price coupon)
  4. Coordinating Thread (I used black since it was close)
  5. Hot Glue Gun  (had on hand, I always buy replacement sticks at estate sales)
  6. Tiny Eyelets (had on hand, no more than a couple bucks)
  7. Sewing Machine (had on hand)
  8. Binder clips (had on hand)
  9. Square ruler (had on hand)
  10. Regular Ruler (had on hand)
  11. Flexible measuring tape (had on hand- tape came with a sewing kit)
  12. Sharp scissors (had on hand)
  13. Pencil (had on hand)
  14. Sharpie/craft paint to match fabric (had on hand)
  15. Elmer’s Glue (had on hand, I always buy during back to school for like $0.10)
  16. Paper Clips (had on hand)
  17. Pins (had on hand)
  18. Tag Board (scrap left over from another project $0.30 at Wal-Mart)
Next up was to really get in there and visualize. Bringing over a chair, standing on your tippy toes, and balancing while using the camera tripod snapping a picture should really be reserved for gymnasts. Except a gymnast would probably be able to use their pinky toe to take the photo, show offs.


It actually helped taking a picture for size because I always forget to record the 
measurements. P.S. No peaking at the wall color!

Our light fixture was 3.5” and 6” looked like a good height. Taking measurements of the hoops is as easy as using the flexible measuring tape (where I got 39”)…
or using the 'ol math rule Pi x Diameter = Circumference and then adding for seam allowance/seam overlap. The video also recommended wrapping a string around the hoop then measuring said string. So use what you got.
or you could refer to the pinspirational video at about 1:30.
Layout your material, use your measurements to prep for cutting. I usually add waaay more than I need for seam allowance (about a half inch extra).
Since I’m horrible at cutting a straight line and I never find a straight line already pre-cut, I marked out the measurements with pins, connecting the “dots” with my scissors.

(Optional) After cutting, to help me visualize further, I used the binder clips to secure the fabric to both embroidery hoops then held it in place just to triple check before slicing up the fabric more.

Next, cut about 10 strips from the extra material about a half inch wide. Then cut part of the way in like those grass skirts you made in school back in the day. No need for perfection here. I did this while watching a few hulu episodes. Avoid cutting the entire piece off.
Also avoid vacuums, good thing I had extra material (explained here):

**This is where we jump back and forth between the shade support and the fabric while things dry between steps.

Next, start prepping the drum shade support by measuring and cutting the tag board. The scrap I had left over was about 22” x 17” so there was enough left over and it would be necessary to two pieces together to achieve a length over 39”; 44” (22 x 2) was plenty for overlap.

Again, since I cannot cut a straight line for the life of me, using the square ruler I measured out 6” drew a line and cut it out and then repeated for the second piece.  Then glued one seam together using Elmer’s glue, since it’s not the stick kind- just flatten out the bead of glue with your finger, and let dry for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, layout the strips and move them around until you find the overall look you’re going for. Twist the grass skirts alone, or with multiple strips.

Originally I had thought twisting three ‘grass skirts’ together forming three rows would be nice, but after laying it out I found combining two ‘grass skirts’ for 5 rows looked more full. So it pays to move things around before you make them permanent.

I found the binder clips and pins helpful to keep things even.

Going back to the shade support, since we are adding fabric I put the embroidery hoop outside the tag board so there would be something to adhere the fabric to. As opposed to the video which used wallpaper and had the hoop inside. Dry fit the shade with metal clips first to see if any trimming needs to occur. Working in small sections and using the glue gun to attach the tag board to the hoop. Ensure the tag board lines up with the edge of the hoop.

Don’t glue the seam. Then flip over and repeat the dry fit/gluing process.

While that is setting, move back to the fabric. Complete one last once-over to ensure the fabric is laying the way you want. Then, pin or use metal clips at the beginning for each twisted strip and sew a small line securing each strip.


Pin the next section about a quarter ways down and sew.

Repeat 4 times, or enough so that they don’t ‘droop.’ So I made 20 (5 rows 4 columns) small lines with the sewing machine to secure each strip.

This is what the front and back should look like for one of the 4 columns:

Don’t worry too much if the strips don’t line up at the end since there should be enough when you overlap.
Dry fit the fabric again taking note at how much extra fabric you have to work with. Then flip the fabric over and glue the good side to the hoop. This will make a ‘seam’ so that once you flip the fabric over you have a nice edge.

About mid-way through I found that flipping the fabric over, folding at the seam, then gluing was easier since the fabric is wrapping around a circle, the fabric got pretty tight.

Once you get close to the end, leave the seam open for now.
Then flip the shade over and complete the other side. This time you don’t have the luxury of laying out the fabric and gluing the good side so fold over the fabric and pull semi-tight while gluing the entire way.
It works best if you glue along the edge of the hoop so you won’t have any gaps.

If you do have gaps, simply put glue on the edge and roll the fabric up, be careful not to burn your fingers on the glue.

Finish by over lapping the seams and pulling everything snug.

The original light had ‘knobs’ further down on the shade. In order to attach the shade to the light, I used one of the left over embroidery hoops (the outer ring, the one with the screws) and trimmed it down to fit inside. This extra piece of wood is where the eyelets will attach to.

Measure the height from the top of the light fixture to the knobs. Then use Elmer’s glue, like caulk, and adhere the hoop to the appropriate height.  Let completely dry. Then hold the shade to the ceiling and mark where the knobs are on the piece of wood. Attach the eyelets to the marked spots.

Then it’s time for the finishing touches. Using the last leftover outer ring hoop, trace the interior of the circle to your ‘diffuser’ fabric. You want this fabric to be a bit larger than the light itself to adhere on the inside of the drum shade. The fabric should be light-weight and somewhat opaque.

Before gluing, use a sharpie (or craft paint matching your fabric) to help the wood hoop blend to the fabric.

There’s a lack of pictures on installing the shade because it involved me, by myself, on my tippy toes balancing myself and the light. But basically bend the paper clips to attach the eyelets to the knobs. Make a loop with the paperclip to fit around the knobs.

And voliĆ , a Drum shade and a photo-fest:

I’ll probably take down the shade and paint the original shade, someday. Although, 
the original light isn’t noticeable from the ground.


And a side by side before and after:
Phew, I lived through it. That my friends, is how a drum shade is done and explained with 51 photos and about 1,600 words.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That is such a great tutorial! I love how it turned out.

    ReplyDelete

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