Project – City Lights Lampshade

I have this small nightstand-sized lamp that I’ve had for more years than I can remember. It’s not an expensive lamp, just something from Target. The lamp is still in good shape, but the shade is starting to show its age. So, I decided to revamp the shade instead of buying a new one. I have to say I love how it turned out.
City Lights Lampshade
I knew I wanted to do a cityscape, so at first I thought of just embroidering something on the shade like the ones I saw in Sweden last year. But I really wanted to play more with the light. The solution was simple, just make holes to create the design and let the light shine through.
City Lights Lampshade
The shade I had wasn’t really the perfect shape for this project. It was a cone, so the design can’t really lay flat, it has a little curve to it. A barrel-shape would have worked better, but the idea was not to buy a new shape. Then there was the problem of color. My shade was made of off-white paper, so when the light was turned on it let too much though and took away from the drama of the light through the holes. My solution was to paint the shade black. This solved the problem easily, though I did have to go back and poke some of the holes again because they had paint in them. If I did this again I would paint it before adding the design.

City Lights Lampshade


  • drawing or print out of a skyline
  • tape (Something like masking tape that won’t tear the lamp would be best)
  • lampshade (The best lampshade for this project would be a black barrel-shaped but you can makes others work like I did)
  • straight pin (The type with a large ball on the top are easier on your fingers)
  • black acrylic paint (optional)
  • paint brush (optional)

1. If want to paint your lampshade black like I did, do that first. It may take two coats to get in completely opaque.
City Lights Lampshade
I painted the inside of my shade as well, because I thought it looked better.

2. Print out or draw the image you want to put on your shade. Make sure it isn’t longer than your shade is around. Tape it to the shade. You want to make sure it is pretty secure and flat to the shade.
City Lights Lampshade

(I show an unpainted shade here, because I didn’t realize I needed to paint it. If you paint your’s do it first.)

3. Use the pin to poke holes through the design and shade.
City Lights Lampshade
I twisted the pin around a bit in the hole to make it the slightest bit bigger. I spaced my holes about 1/8″ apart. I tried to always make sure there was a hole at the corner of each building and end of each line.
City Lights Lampshade
4. Remove the taped on paper and, if you painted, touch up any paint. Enjoy your new statement lamp.

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22 Comments to Project – City Lights Lampshade
  1. Pingback: City Lights Lampshade

    • KyleeneName
    • Since your holes would need to be slightly larger than a pin. I wouls use the tip of an awl which would make the holes a nit larger and give off light but not so much it would ruin the effect your going f or.

  2. Pingback: Project – City Lights Lampshade. To make a city skyline view first you have to print or draw a city skyline silhouette on a piece of paper. Then fix it on the lampshade with tape. Using common pins make holes in the lampshade along the lines of the silh

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