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Doily Lampshade tutorialV1


I was browsing through my Pinterest looking for a project idea and came across a pin from a couple years back of a doily hanging lamp. I was totally in love with- (I tried to link to it and unfortunately the link no longer works) but I love the shadows it created on the wall. I am in my office late at night writing so I wanted to give it a go and try to make one!

But there were a few issues,  I didn’t need a hanging lamp I needed a shade for a floor lamp and I wanted cream doilies- impossible and when I tried to find a tutorial and couldn’t find one that gave step by step directions with supplies I had on hand so here is the one I came up with.

Doily Lampshade Supplies

Doilies – I found these on Ebay. I would have loved to get assorted styles and sizes but I don’t have time to search thrift stores so for $17.ooI got these white Battenberg lace doilies and tea stained them myself (see how to tea stain below)

My shade took 20 doilies.

Large Plastic Ball (like the ones that children play with)make sure when you buy it that it has the little hole to inflate and deflate with a bicycle pump or it will need to be popped instead of deflated.

A bicycle pump to inflate and deflate the ball (or a big pin to pop it)

Tea bags to dye the doilies (if you want a vintage looking shade)


I dyed the doilies by boiling 2 cups of water, remove the pan from the heat and add 6 tea bags(Regular black tea – Lipton or whatever brand you have on hand) let the tea bag seep in the water about 10 minutes and squeeze out and remove the tea bags.


Let the water cool! This is important – if the water is hot it will shrink the doilies so give it an hour or so and then immerse the doilies in plain water first and squeeze out excess water. They should be wet when you put them in the tea water so they absorb the color evenly. Place them in the tea water and check them every few minutes and when they are slightly darker then the color you want,  rinse them under cool water. If they come out too light place them back into the tea and leave for a bit longer. Continue until all the doilies are stained. Lay on a towel stretching slightly so they are flat and let dry. I ironed mine after they were dry.


Make the cornstarch stiffener. Combine 1/4 cup powered cornstarch (like you cook with) in 1/2 cup cold water and stir. Add 1 cup boiling water to above mixture and stir until smooth. If the mixture is warm let cool before using.

Decide how big you will want the circumference of your shade (mine was 20″ the size of the shade I was replacing) and use the bicycle pump to deflate the plastic ball until the measurement matches your size.

Place the ball in a glass bowl so it sets straight and you can turn it around as you work on it.



Measure down the depth of the shade and draw a line all the way around the sides of the ball so the bottom edge of your shade will be even and as you place the doilies made sure the edge of the doily matched up with the line on the ball. I also used the hole of the ball (the spot where you put the pump) as the spot where my shade would line up to the rod that holds my shade to the base of the lamp.

This is messy so make sure you have a plastic tablecloth or towel on your counter-top. Now you are ready to dip your doilies into the cornstarch mixture making sure that they are completely saturated. Place the doilies edges overlapping on the plastic ball. Make certain that all the spots are filled and that the hole on the top is left open as well as that the edges of the doilies match up with your mark for the depth of your shade.

Allow to dry for two full days! I know I was tempted to move forward too quickly but I am glad I waited.

When you know it’s completely dry get out the bicycle pump and slowly deflate the ball. As you do gently push through the holes of the doilies to loosen the doilies from the ball. Reduce the size of the ball until it pulls away cleanly from the doilies.


You may have some residual cornstarch in the open spots of the doilies,  to clear these just take a needle and push through the holes until the film created by the cornstarch is cleared away.

At this point you can place the shade on your lamp. I chose to tack the spots where the doilies overlap  with needle and thread. Just a quick back and forth and tied a knot on the inside. I don’t think this was necessary as I made a smaller version for a friend about a year ago and did not tack it and it still is perfect.

I really hope you will give this a try. It is such a unique addition to your home as well as so pleasing to me at night and the shape of the lace reflects off the wall.


As always with everything in my life I want to help you find things that you enjoy and make your life more beautiful and fun.





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