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
- 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
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 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.
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.
Step 4: Finish off the felt leaf by stitching the veins in the leaf. Just use a simple running stitch.
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.
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.
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.
Step 3: Next, roll the cut orange felt up, use a couple of stitches to keep it in place.
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.
Step 5: Finish off the felt flower by glueing the orange centre onto the petals.
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.
Step 2: Next, cut out a felt yellow crest, black beak and claw. (Or in orange and yellow if making the other cockatoo).
Step 3: Then, glue the felt crest, beak and claw on top of the white 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Plain old lampshade
- Felt sheets in greens, white, pinks, yellow, black and orange.
- Embroidery threads and needle in similar colours
- Trim it applique glue
- Download and print out the template for the leaves, petals and cockatoos.
- Draw around the tropical leaf template onto the green felt. Then cut out the shape.
- Then in a contrasting green embroidery thread, blanket stitch around the whole edge of the leaf.
- Next, sew veins into the leaf with the same thread using a simple running stitch.
- Repeat with the other leaf shape. Make at least a dozen of each leaf shape.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finish the flower by glueing the orange centre onto the middle of the petals.
- Next, make the cockatoos but cut out the whole bird shape in white or pale pink felt.
- 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.
- Next, blanket stitch around the edge of the felt cockatoo. Also, add some decorative embroidery to add plumage to the felt cockatoos.
- Lay out all the felt applique elements and work out the design for the lampshade.
- 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.