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How To Make A Unique DIY Felt Lampshade

I recently bought myself a new floor lamp, the stand was great, but the lampshade was boring. That’s when I decided to upcycle it into a unique DIY felt lampshade.

My decor style errs on the side of boho and tropical. This was the theme for the lampshade pimp.

I also have a small obsession with cockatoos, they remind me of my childhood. Wild sulphur-crested cockatoos were regular visitors to our garden in Hong Kong. So I decided to incorporate them into my lampshade design.

Tropical Applique Felt Lampshade

By revamping the boring lampshade with applique felt, I transformed into a tropical paradise. The applique consisted of three different elements; tropical leaves, flowers and cockatoos. Each piece was decorated with simple embroidery.

This lampshade hack is not a quick craft, but it’s an easy one. It took a little while to make each felt piece. But once all the pieces were made, it only took a few minutes to upcycle the lampshade.

This tutorial includes templates and instructions for each of the felt elements. It can be adapted for lampshades of different sizes.

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What You Need

Lampshade before
  • Plain lampshade: The lampshade I used was a beige linen lampshade, 30cm in diameter. This tutorial will work for smaller and larger lampshades, you will just need to adjust the amount of felt used. If you don’t have an old lampshade to upcycle, they can be picked up very cheaply from thrift/charity shops.
  • Pack of felt squares in various colours 1-2mm thick. Two shades of green, white, pale pink, yellow, orange, dark pink and black.
  • Embroidery thread in dark and light green, grey and pale pink.
  • Embroidery needles
  • Marker embroidery pen
  • Trim it glue

Making The Tropical Felt Applique

You can download the felt shape template for the lampshade here.

Applique felt template

The thinner lines on the template are a guide for the embroidery decoration. The stitching on each of these felt pieces was very simple. The only two stitches used were a blanket stitch for the edges and running stitches for decoration.

how to do blanket stitch

How to Make Felt Tropical Monstera Leaves

Step 1: Download and print out the leaf template above. Use a photocopier or your printer to reduce or enlarge the leaf size if needed. For the felt lampshade I made monstera (Swiss cheese) leaves in two different sizes.

Step 2: Next, cut out the monstera leaf shape. Draw around it on the felt using the embroidery marker pen. Also, mark in the leaf veins for embroidery. Then cut out the felt.

Monstera leaf felt template
cutting out monstera leaf

Step 3: Next, thread an embroidery needle with three strands of thread. Use a thread that is a different colour green to the felt leaf. Then stitch a blanket stitch all around the outside edge of the leaf.

Stitching the edge of the felt leaf

Step 4: Finish off the felt leaf by stitching the veins in the leaf. Just use a simple running stitch.

Finished tropical felt leaf

The other simple straight leaves were made in the same way. For my lampshade I made about 14 monsteras (swiss cheese) leaves and about 18 of the other ones. With smaller lampshades, you will need fewer leaves.

Tropical leaves

How To Make A Tropical Felt Flower

I made two of these tropical flowers for the felt lampshade.

Step 1: First, using the petal template, cut out 5 petals. I used a dark pink felt for the tropical flower. At the same time cut a strip of orange felt 15cm long by about 6-8mm wide.

what you need for a tropical flower

Step 2: Next, make the centre of the flower. This was made the same way as I made my denim sunflowers. First, fold the strip of orange felt in half lengthways. Blanket stitch along the folded ends to hold them together. Then cut small slits about 5mm apart along the fold.

cutting center of flower

Step 3: Next, roll the cut orange felt up, use a couple of stitches to keep it in place.

flower center

Step 4: Next, using a light pink thread, blanket stitch around each petal. Pinch each petal at the base and use a small stitch to keep the shape. Then stitch the petals together at the base, to form a flower shape.

Stitching the petals together

Step 5: Finish off the felt flower by glueing the orange centre onto the petals.

Finished tropical felt flower

How To Make A Felt Cockatoo

I made two felt cockatoos, a white one with a yellow crest, like the sulphur-crested cockatoos of my childhood. The other cockatoo had a light pink plumage with a bright orange cockatoo. Both were made the same way, but just using different coloured felt and thread.

Step 1: Using the template cut out a whole cockatoo shape in felt.

Cutting out cockatoo template

Step 2: Next, cut out a felt yellow crest, black beak and claw. (Or in orange and yellow if making the other cockatoo).

cut out cockatoo shapes

Step 3: Then, glue the felt crest, beak and claw on top of the white cockatoo.

Making a felt cockatoo

Step 4. Next, as with the other felt pieces, I blanket stitched around the outside of the cockatoo. For the white cockatoo, I used a grey thread and for the pink cockatoo a pink thread.

Stitching out line of cockatoo.

Step 5: Then using the embroidery marker, mark the plumage and eye on the cockatoo. Then stitch over these marks with a simple running stitch.

Applique cockatoo

Putting The Applique Lampshade Together

Before I stuck the applique felt pieces to the lampshade, I laid them out on a table to finalize the design.

Felt lampshade applique mockup

Once happy with the design, stick the pieces to the lampshade one by one. Use Trim embellishment glue to stick the felt to the lampshade. Just apply a small amount of glue around the edge of each felt piece before sticking it to the lampshade.

Start by sticking a tropical felt flower to the middle of the lampshade and then add the leaves one by one followed by the cockatoos.

Adding the glue to leaf
applique flower
Making a DIY felt lampshade
upcycled felt lampshade

Finally, all that is left to do is to put the shade back on the floor lamp. I love how it has turned out and enjoyed making each applique felt piece.

I’m going to make some more felt leaves and cockatoos to make a matching applique pillow. It will also go with my Frida Khalo cushion.

DIY felt lampshade
DIY cockatoo lampshade
upcycled lampshade

I’m always upcycling and revamping old lampshades for my home. Many of them have been IKEA lamp hacks. Others, like my denim lampshade and map lampshade, were made from scratch.

For more tropical decor ideas, check out my Pineapple stencilled table, felt succulent garden and tropical birdhouse.

Yield: Upcycled Boho Felt Lampshade

Tropical Felt Applique Lampshade

cockatoo lampshade

Turn a plain and boring old lampshade into a unique boho statement piece with tropical-themed applique felt. It is a very easy and fun craft.

Prep Time 1 hour
Active Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 10

Materials

  • Plain old lampshade
  • Felt sheets in greens, white, pinks, yellow, black and orange.
  • Embroidery threads and needle in similar colours
  • Trim it applique glue

Instructions

  1. Download and print out the template for the leaves, petals and cockatoos.
  2. Draw around the tropical leaf template onto the green felt. Then cut out the shape.
  3. Then in a contrasting green embroidery thread, blanket stitch around the whole edge of the leaf.
  4. Next, sew veins into the leaf with the same thread using a simple running stitch.
  5. Repeat with the other leaf shape. Make at least a dozen of each leaf shape.
  6. Next, make the tropical flower. Cut out five dark pink felt petals. Blanket stitch around the edge of each petal and then stitch them together to make a flower shape.
  7. Make the centre of the flower by cutting a strip 15cm by 0.6cm strip of orange felt. Fold this strip in half lengthways and stitch along the edges to keep them together. Then cut slits in the fold all away along, 5mm apart. Roll the felt up into a button shape and hold it in place with a stitch.
  8. Finish the flower by glueing the orange centre onto the middle of the petals.
  9. Next, make the cockatoos but cut out the whole bird shape in white or pale pink felt.
  10. Then using the same cockatoo template cut out a crest in yellow and a beak and claw in black. Glue these onto the white cockatoo.
  11. Next, blanket stitch around the edge of the felt cockatoo. Also, add some decorative embroidery to add plumage to the felt cockatoos. stitching cockatoos
  12. Lay out all the felt applique elements and work out the design for the lampshade. Felt lampshade applique mockup
  13. Then add Trim it embelishement glue to the back of each felt piece, just around the edge. Then stick them to the lampshade one by one.

آدم رنگی جان، نامه داری! - رنگی رنگی

Wednesday 25th of May 2022

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Julie

Friday 18th of March 2022

Thanks so much! I had been yearning for an embellished Anthropologie embroidered lamp shade and was going to embroider one. Your felt applique idea will change the project from a week to a couple of days.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 19th of March 2022

Thank you, Julie. I too love the lampshades in Anthropologie but couldn't quite find the one exactly how I wanted it, that's when I decided to make my own. It is really easy to do and looks great.

creativejewishmom/sara

Thursday 17th of March 2022

Wow, i was really missing you on craft schooling sunday and you are back with a bang, fantastic project!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 17th of March 2022

Aww, thank you so much Sara. I did like making this one, it was worth the effort.

Pamela Pigue

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

What a beautiful conversation piece! Love it!

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

Thank you, it does look good in my living room.

Amanda Lake

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

Very pretty.

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

Thank you so much, it was fun to make.

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