Ruffled Black and White Drum Shade

Holiday weekend greetings everyone!  I apologize for the delay in posting this project, last week just slipped through my fingers, time wise.  So, finally, here is the project I previewed last time, a new gorgeous drum shade!  Created from hundreds of black and white ‘rosettes’ glued to the trusty Ikea Lobbo shade, can anyone guess what the material is?  I’ll reveal after this photo…

So, any guesses?  Did anyone think, plastic bags?!  Yep, that’s right, I used plastic bags from my local grocery store to create this fun new drum shade.  Some of you might remember my previous plastic bag light from my 30x30x3 project, and I used the same black and white bags for this new light.  (In fact, given the success of this shade I’ve started collecting them in ernest, and I swear I get dirty looks in the checkout line from eco-friendly shoppers with their reusable bags in hand and I keep wanting to turn to them and explain that I have a project planned, and I’m normally eco-friendly at the supermarket too!)  I’ve actually had this light in the back of my mind for a while now, or at least the idea of doing some sort of drum shade version of my plastic bag light, but it wasn’t until recently that I had the time to do any sort of experimentation.

Originally I was thinking of trying to do a light that looked more similar to my original pendant, with lots of small strips and pieces of plastic, like a shag carpet.  But, after a few hours of frustration and way too many little pieces of plastic to count, I gave that idea up. So, I started brainstorming what other shapes or ideas I could create, and I eventually came up with this rosette scheme.  

Essentially I cut the bags into long strips, rolled them loosely into rosette sort of shapes, and then glued them to the shade.  I alternated between dabbing glue directly onto the bag rosettes, and smearing glue on the shade first and then pressing the rosette into place and honestly they both work equally well and equally poorly, if that makes sense.  There’s really no good way to do it, but like with all of the paper projects, each rosette is very light weight so as long as there is some connection with the glue its not going to pull away and fall off without some strong help from someone with opposable thumbs.  (Though I guess Basel could probably cause a good bit of damage with his teeth, if I gave him the opportunity…)  

I really love how this shade turned out with the black and white color palette, but I’m also equally excited about the future possibilities, both in size and in color!  I’ve already started collecting bags from all sorts of places and am brainstorming other options.  For instance our local pet store has nice bags with a gray and yellow graphic that would look pretty, either alone or mixed in with the black and white.  A friend saved a bunch of raspberry pink bags for me, as well as some lime green ones.  Then there are Zabar’s bags (a famous local NYC deli) that are white and orange, plus ones from another big grocery store Fairway that are sometimes white with a big black and orange graphic (they sometimes use a blue and white graphic instead.)  I also think a completely multi-colored light could be cool too.

One caveat is that the bags I had were of a slightly thicker and sturdier plastic than traditional supermarket bags.  They are opaque, and almost slightly milky in texture, if that makes sense.  I’m not saying that thinner plastic bags wouldn’t work, but I think the look would probably be somewhat different, less structured and more crumpled, if that makes sense.  You could also try more crumpled looking rosettes if you intentionally wanted that look, but personally I liked seeing the swirly shapes that were created.

So I hope this project was worth the wait, and maybe helped give people a bit of inspiration!  Personally this is my favorite sort of project, one that reminds us all that you can create really gorgeous design, without needing to spend money on fancy materials.  Just buy a quart of milk!

Ciao, and happy President’s weekend to everyone in the USA!  Allison

P.S.  If it seems like I was a bit skimpy on the tutorial aspect of this post, well, I was.  Unfortunately I’ve felt a bit burned recently, when someone else on Etsy started selling lamps just exactly like my artichoke book page lights.  I know that the technique isn’t groundbreaking or anything, but its still a pretty unique item to sell and while I tried to think positively that being copied meant that I had officially ‘made it’ to be honest, it still bothers me.  So while I still want to share my projects and how I made them with all of you wonderful, loyal readers, I guess I’m currently feeling a bit hesitant about giving away all of my secrets.  (At least for projects I’m also selling on Etsy, like this one.)  I hope you understand, and if you are hoping to make your own version of this project for your own purposes, and have any really pressing questions please don’t hesitate to email me at  And of course, thank you all for being such a wonderful audience, always.

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44 Responses to Ruffled Black and White Drum Shade

  1. Wow! This is beautiful! What a wonderfully creative approach and cool effect! Congratulations on a job well done and thens for sharing your process.

  2. Penny Sanamo says:

    I love this and will attempt it tomorrow.

  3. M says:

    While I totally understand and love reused materials (I use them often myself!), maybe it would be better to ask friends to save bags, ask if you can dig through their saved bags or send a request out on someplace like freecycle? Just an idea!

  4. jet says:

    beautiful made, love the use of the plastic bags, sooo good to read that you’re loving to recycling like me. awesome!!! thanks for the sharing, love your blog

  5. Nancy says:

    That is terrible about someone stealing your exact design! Don’t worry, they don’t have the publicity you do, you’ll shine through.

    Sometimes that’s the trouble with the internet – everyones DIY’s are out there, for the taking. It’s hard to even find where to give credit. I remember seeing a lantern tutorial on Design Sponge that is just like your spikey artichoke lamp in vellum (that I LOVE) but there’s was regular paper, and more droopy. Not sure who’s was first, But, just saying, these great ideas spread fast.

    It’s flattering the person was inspired by you, but really poor taste to copy you exactly. Too bad they don’t have it in them to absorb inspiration and find their own way.

    oh well, keep on trucking, looks like you’re doing great.

    • Thanks Nancy! That’s sweet, and totally makes me feel better. And I can say for sure, the Design*Sponge tutorial was first, in fact its the tutorial I started with to create my spikey vellum light, I linked back to it in the post of course. The form mine took was actually a complete surprise! But thats what I love about crafting, you never know what you are going to get.

      Thanks again for the support, as I said its fans like you that make me keep posting tutorials even if it makes it easier for people to copy me. I’ve actually found a second Etsy copycat (someone had told me about her shop on a British version of Etsy but I hadn’t spotted her on actual Etsy until recently) so I guess the fad is catching… Oh well. I also saw a blog post recently where someone copied my light because they baulked at the price, which is fine, I was just annoyed that they posted the photo of my light without posting any link. Clearly its just the price of the internet, though I couldn’t do what I do without the internet so its a double edged sword. Live like a hermit and never have your ideas stolen, or make a living doing what you love and risk some annoyance and disappointment from rude people. I choose the later, always will.


  6. Jesse says:

    Agreed, just keep going! You’re going to collect lots of ideas too and have all kinds of new things along the way. Who was it that said imitating is the best form of flattery? I have no idea, but I know either way it’s hard to swallow! haha.

    One good thing that could come from the whole “that’s overpriced! I could do that!” mindset, is that hopefully those people DO tackle it like they say, and see how much work went into it. Hopefully they get a better idea of how long it takes to make one, ya know?

    There are the people who think “I could make that” and that’s fine, and there are the people who think ” I can’t make that” so they buy. In the long run, you’ll probably get appreciation either way. And maybe some of those “I could make that’s” will become “I made that once and it took a while, so I’ll buy it this time” hehehe……

    • Oh totally, since I am just the sort of person to say “I could make that” I know my target audience is everyone not like me. If that makes sense. That’s why I’m totally not annoyed that they made their own, I just feel they should have linked to my site or blog or something, since they took my photo and posted it they should have given some credit, but oh well. If you search artichoke book light on Etsy it pops right up, so if someone really wanted to find it, they would!

      And I don’t mind imitation at all, its when people then try to sell something that was my idea, then that bothers me. Make it for your own use, of course, that’s why I post tutorials, but to turn around and try to be my competition, that’s just not cool. Oh well, I always look at their sales and since its their 4 or 5 lights to my 150, its not a competition, it just still leaves a sour taste in my mouth…

      • Jesse says:

        haha! totally. Let the numbers speak. They could have thought up something else if they were creative. I’m the type also that says “I can make that” but I am quickly becoming the type that still says that, but my list of “I could make that” things is SO long that buying things from people who have time to make it has worked its way in…!

      • Nan Sullivan says:

        I totally understand the “sour taste in your mouth” – I love your creativeness and the fact that you upcycle. I will try this lamp shade for my own purpose at home… and appreciate that you shared your fabulous design with everyone! Keep up the amazing work!

      • Good Luck! Feel free to email me if you have any questions as you go, and I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

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  9. Allison B. says:

    Is there a particular brand of glue you recommend? Many of your pieces have white or clear surfaces and they always look spotless. ModPodge? Weld-Bond? Elmer’s? Sheer force of will?

    • Unless otherwise specified I use a glue gun, my favorite crafting tool ever. Other than that I sometimes use Elmers or Sobbo white craft glue, but almost always it is my glue gun (and for this ruffled black and white shade, definitely the glue gun.) Hope this helps!

  10. Azam says:

    I just wanna say “I love You”! your ideas are so gorgeous and I wanted to say something great but couldn’t because it’s out of words. Actually, everything has a cons and pros that why I think, most of the people really don’t think to get some creativity they just browse and choose their best things and make it their own. Anyway, You’re the best for me. Would love to be here again.

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    • Jesse says:

      I believe she’s using compact fluorescents, which don’t ever reach a temperature you couldn’t touch with your own hand. It’s about the same risk of fire as any other electrical device, pretty low. Thank goodness those hot incandescent are goners!

    • Yes, as Jesse says I am using compact fluorescent light bulbs which are much lower heat than incandescents. Additionally, the plastic bags I used are glued onto an existing shade so there is no material closer to the bulb than the existing shade, which I am assuming is not flammable. Because this is a drum shade the entire top and bottom of the shade is open, which means that cool air is constantly circulating around the light bulb and the shade is never going to get very warm. But thanks for your concern.

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  14. Duke Mobegi says:

    How can one start this kind of business in a low income country like Kenya?

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  30. Marge says:

    How does this hold up from the heat of a lightbulb? Even low wattage gives off heat. I like this but don’t want to start a fire.

    • Hi,
      So the beauty of a drum shade is that the top and bottom are completely open, meaning the air is constantly circulating and keeping the shade protected from the heat of the bulb. While the shade might get a bit warm, if would definitely never get hot enough to start a fire. That’s one of the great things about drum shades, especially one as wide as this one. With other shade shapes you do want to be a bit more careful, sure, but drum shades are pretty safe. The worse that might happen if you chose a super hot temp bulb is the hot glue might melt a bit.
      I hope this helps!

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