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A Spotlight on Adhesive Styrene + How to Make a Lampshade You Love

April 01, 2018 3 Comments


What's Adhesive Styrene?

Adhesive Styrene is a light, yet sturdy and durable, translucent polystyrene plastic sheet. It’s the material that lines the interior of professionally-made lampshades. Whether you’re making a brand new lampshade, or repairing an old one, Adhesive Styrene will help your lampshade keep its shape and form for many years to come. And unlike paper-based lampshades, adhesive styrene shades are flame-resistant which means you can safely use your lamp, even with a higher-wattage light bulb.

Our Styrene has an adhesive backing and a release liner so you can seamlessly apply it to a fabric of your choosing. From start to finish, making a lampshade from scratch will only take an hour of your time.



What Kinds of Materials Can You Attach to Adhesive Styrene?

Over the years, we’ve used adhesive styrene with dozens of different fabrics and materials to make stunning lampshades. We’ve found that decorative paper and light-medium weight cotton fabrics are by far the easiest to work with. But if you’re up for a little extra challenge, you can make a lampshade out of almost any material you’d like. We’ve worked with wood veneer, lace, silk, sequins and burlap - to name a few - and the resulting lampshades were super fun and unique.


Material: Wrapping Paper

Material: Light-weight Cotton

Material: Wood Veneer

Material: Paper Map

Material: Medium-weight Cotton

Material: Cowhide

Material: Light-weight Cotton


How Much Adhesive Styrene Do You Need?

When making a drum/cylinder-shaped lampshade, you’ll first need to determine how tall and wide you would like it to be. The width of your styrene sheet will be the height of your finished lampshade. The length will be the diameter of your finished shade, multiplied by pi (3.14), plus an additional 1 inch (2.54 cm) for the overlap.

For example, if you want your finished shade to be 10 inches (25.4 cm) tall and 10 inches wide, your styrene sheet will be: 10 inches (25.4 cm) wide by 32.4 inches (82.3 cm) long. (= 10 inches x 3.14 + 1 inch OR = 25.4 cm x 3.14 + 2.54 cm).


How Do You Make a Lampshade with Adhesive Styrene?

This stuff is super easy to use and works with a wide variety of materials, like paper, fabric, parchment, wood veneer, wallpaper and more.

Simply peel back a small section of the release liner on the sheet of styrene to reveal the sticky adhesive portion. Using a smoothing motion, press the styrene onto your paper or fabric. The smoothing motion eliminates bubbles and creases. Peel back more of the release liner and continue the smoothing motion until the entire length of styrene is adhered to your material. For a more detailed tutorial, take a look at this article.



Ready to make your own custom lampshade?

Our styrene is sold in 5 different heights and 3 different lengths so you can find the right size for your project.

If you want to make a lampshade 'in between' the offered sizes, simply order a size up and cut down the styrene to your desired size.


Start making your beautiful custom lampshade today! Shop here.

3 Responses


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Bill Gimby  #260
Bill Gimby #260

December 13, 2019

Is there such a tool as “tucking tool” to tuck the fabric neatly around the frame top and bottom? Thanks Bill

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