So my large faceted sphere light has been attracting a lot of attention recently, and one reader asked how much light it cast and if they could use it to light a room. It struck me that maybe this was the perfect time to introduce this fun variation on my faceted lights, a drum shade!
One thing I really love about the drum shade concept, is that no matter what you cover the shade with and how much light it might obstruct, you are still going to get plenty of light pouring out the top and the bottom of the fixture which can really light a room nicely. It works really well over a table or another space perfect for spot lighting, but it also bounces a ton of light off of a white ceiling which can really help spread the light around an entire room.
For this shade I once again went back to my trusty Ikea Lobbo shade to use as a base, and then I made a piece of what you could call ‘fortune teller fabric.’ I think when I posted my small sphere light I had mentioned this technique of locking the fortune tellers together. It is really fantastic, and allows you to create this cohesive piece of fortune tellers all glued together. You take four units, and lay them out in a square, which will have eight points on each side. You then take a fifth unit, and drop it down onto the four center points, one from each of the four original fortune teller units. If you add a bit of glue you have then locked those five units together. You keep adding units, first to the under layer and then filling in the top layer until you have a piece that is two layers thick, and however wide and long you need.
For this light I decided to build this piece up on the diagonal, so each fortune teller unit looks more like a diamond than a square, but it really doesn’t matter. I built my fortune teller fabric up until it was the same height as my shade, and then I kept growing the length until I had enough to wrap completely around my shade. I usually measured it out so that once it was glued in place, the ends were two rows of under layer units touching, and then once it was attached to the shade I would glue on the top layer units to lock the whole piece together. I used my trusty hot glue gun and unless you pull on the paper those fortune tellers aren’t going anywhere!
I love the regular pattern the pieces create, and I think the shadows that play off of the white paper are really cool. The whole piece measures approximately 14 inches across and about 10 inches high, but you could always cut down the height of the Lobbo shade a bit to change the aspect ratio to be more of a horizontal rectangle.
Because the light has to pass through the plastic shade and multiple layers of paper (at least four layers in most places) I found that the shade glowed, but really didn’t let much light pass through from side to side, but honestly I think this makes the shadows so much more interesting! Especially when you see it next to a wall, you get this interesting dark band where the shade is and then these nice curved shapes of light.
I think this makes a fantastic pendant shade, but it also would make a great table light! My dad was actually so excited when he saw it that he wants me to cover the shade of one of his existing table lights, which I think will look amazing in his new modern apartment! I promise to show everyone before and after photos as soon as I get started on that project, don’t worry.
I hope everyone enjoyed today’s twist on a blog favorite, and hopefully anyone who was wondering about making a large faceted light of their own but wasn’t sure about the amount of light that would be transmitted now can consider doing this project instead. (Especially since there is so much air flow around the light bulb that you can probably get away with a stronger bulb than in one of the paper lanterns.)
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this is a must for my house.. AMAZING!
This is absolutely amazing! I just featured it on the Inspiration Files on Addicted 2 Decorating. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂
Wow very nice to see what appeared possible with numerous fortune-tellers. Impressive!
Did you also try to use paper that lets throught more light? You could make the lampshade shine over the whole surface then, I think.
Thanks! One problem with the paper is that because of the folded shape, you end up with 5 layers of paper, so while the paper I’m using is pretty thin (just regular printer paper usually) once you add up the 5 layers that’s a lot of any paper. And then the plastic drum shade I used as a base is also pretty thick, so probably if you used a thinner fabric shade you could get more light but for this exact version between the thick plastic and the 5 layers of paper I don’t think anything would have let more light through! And of course if the paper is too thin it won’t hold your shape nicely, and it will be much harder to fold. You want your points to be pretty sturdy which is why you want your paper to be a certain thickness, but I have wanted to try it out with newspaper which is a bit thinner paper, so I guess I can always see how that goes.
Yes now that you explain I am convinced that this would be hard.
We use parchment paper sometimes which is thin but also has a higher translucency than printer paper.
But on the other hand if you have 5 layers of this paper and a plastic drum I doubt if it will give a real change.
Hello, this is an amazing lamp! I’m trying to make one, but it looks nothing like yours 🙂 much more sloppy, oh boy!
I was wondering how do you attach the paper “fabric” to the lampshade? I’m still at the stage of putthing the pieces together, but I can’t imagine sticking them to the lamp! Thank you so much, you are a great inspiration!
I just used hot glue, actually I used hot glue for everything with this lamp. I used it to create the ‘fabric’ but then once I had that piece I also used it to attach the fabric to the light. I recommend firmly gluing one edge vertically to the light to start, with a dab of glue on each underside point of the ‘fabric.’ Then, you can wrap your long piece around and I just add glue where I think it is necessary, but you don’t need to worry about gluing each tip to the light as long as a bunch of them are attached and they are all glued to each other it should be fine.
Good luck! Allison
Thank you very much! I’ll try that and see how it goes. I love all your work, I admit. Your imagination is incredible 🙂
Fabulous lights! Nice work! Thanks for doing this blog.
Allison, LOVE the idea! Can you tell me how large your original squares of paper were, which allowed you to end up with this size fortune teller?
Let’s see. I think the squares for this light were 3 1/4 inches square. It was basically the largest size I could cut, and still get 6 squares out of a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. But, depending on the look you are going for it would look awesome with smaller fortune tellers (though more work) and fun with slightly larger as well, which would be less work.
Good luck! Allison
Awesome! Thanks Allison!
I’ve decided to give this DIY a shot and just out of curiousity before I begin, about how many cootie-catchers did you end up making and using??
Can’t wait to get started! Thanks for the how to!
Oh gosh, this light took maybe 350 fortune tellers, I can’t remember exactly how many but it was definitely more than 300.
Good luck, I’d love to hear how it goes!
Hi, I´m very impressed. I startet to fold the storytellers (we call it heaven or hell, -Himmel oder Hölle- in Germany :)) and try to use your system with five storytellers together, but trying to get a sphere. Uhh, quite difficult. But I won´t give up, thank you for the great idea!!
Yes, trying to do the 5 together system for a sphere is very difficult, did you see this post about my small sphere light? (https://the3rsblog.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/faceted-pendant-lights-the-small-sphere/) It talks about the problems I came across trying to create a sphere with the overlapping system. Maybe it can help you with your light, good luck!
No I didn´t saw this post, it is perfect!! It will be a great help, when I have the next try. I think I can´t stop making these lampshades, a great idea!!!
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Hi, Girl….your are amazing!!!!!…I have a question…I would like to mail this to someone if I made it but wouldn’t want it to arrived crushed…Do you think that after you get your fabric made…and before you adhere it to the shade, that it could be sprayed with something and left to dry to make it more durable? If so, can you suggest anything? Thanks!
You know it is actually a lot stronger than it looks. I would try making a sample piece and feeling how strong the points are before you worry too much, I’ve actually shipped one of these lights to England (from NYC) and never heard any sign that it arrived damaged. If you are really worried, you can try a larger box, and then for the light going to England I filled in around the exterior with packing peanuts (I would have filled in the inside of the shade too but I ran out so I stuffed that with newspaper). Otherwise I just recommend using a box as close to the size as possible, and securing it in place so it isn’t bouncing around, and it should be fine. Of course if you are really determined to spray it with something I’m sure there are products out there, but I wouldn’t know what they are, sorry! I would again make a test patch and spray that before you attacked your regular shade, I’d be worried about the paper wrinkling…
Good luck, and I’m sure we’d all love to know if you figure out a good spray product you can recommend!
Such a great idea! I just linked it in my DIY Lamp Roundup! Thanks for the idea.
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I am wondering about using heavy tracing paper or artists’ vellum, which would make the lamp a bit more translucent…have you ever tried using that type of paper?
The lamp shades are sooo beautiful and your craftsmanship is impeccable.
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Hi, can you explain how you made the edges of the drum shade look so neat? Thanks!
Well, I tucked the final open sections at the top and the bottom back under the folded part, so I guess that gives it a bit of a neater look. Does that help?
This has a fantastic look, but I, being a very impatient person, would never have the fortitude to stick with making these little buggers! You’ re amazing. Just one question … how do you dust this? 😦
Wonderful! I started making the fortune tellers out of Chinese Almanac pages (which we call fortune teller books!) and I kept making them in various sizes. I finally settled on a 3″ square which makes them very small and delicate. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I was also thinking about your sphere and wondering if making the fortune tellers smaller as you get to the top of the sphere might make the curve easier to do.
Thanks for some great inspiration.
So utterly impressed with this shade that I made one of my own. Time consuming but worth the effort. It is now hanging in my new funky new dining room and I absolutely love it! Thank you so much Allison for sharing your creativity!
All the best in your next creative endeavor.
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