guest post {Marie Darby…diy photo lampshades}

PINTEREST UPDATE: This is a post from 2010. I do not take custom orders, only the tutorial is available. The lamps have held up wonderfully.

As many of you requested, Marie is sharing a little tutorial here on how she made her lampshades. When she made them she was not planning on doing a tutorial for this blog, so be sure to thank her for taking the time to write all this out. Also, for those wondering…Kara will be sharing some tutorials for her book art on her blog soon.


Marie is happy to do custom orders for those that prefer buying over making!


* LAMPSHADE – Hobby Lobby carries self-adhesive shades & nightlights, Target has some smaller lamps for $19 that would be perfect for this project, I’ve found some lamps & shades on Craigslist. The simpler the shape of the lamp, the easier this project will be

* GLUE – I used a hot glue gun for the first lamp. I tried repositionable scrapbooking tape for the second, but that didn’t work as well. You could experiment with spray adhesive or other, more permanent scrapbooking type glues/tapes. If you choose to attach something to the inside of a lamp, you can just use tiny pieces of tape on the corners

* VELLUM – I buy this in packs of 20 (I think) in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby. I used clear vellum – but you could also buy tinted vellum for a different look.

* CRAFT KNIFE OR SCISSORS, PENCIL & RULER – to trim the vellum, I used a ruler and pencil to mark the cut lines & then used a craft knife and self-healing mat to cut the vellum. Scissors and a steady hand work too.

* PHOTOS – I used a free program called Picasa to make the photo collage (I believe this program is made by Google, check their page of programs if you are interested). I used Picnik (a free online photo editing program) to make the different colored photos for the tall lamp.

* PRINTER – I have a color inkjet printer. I believe you can also print on vellum with a laser printer.

I didn’t take any photos of the lampshade-in-progress because I had no idea that I would ever enter it into a competition or need to explain to anyone how to make it – but I’ll do my best to explain the steps involved.

If you are using photos – there are several options. You wouldn’t have to do a collage. You could do several large photos. You could make your own collage by cutting out smaller pictures and gluing them individually around the lampshade. You could print them in regular color or black & white or sepia or whatever you come up with! This summer I was playing around with some vacation pictures one day & decided to make a photo collage in Picasa – it’s very easy to do. Just select the photos you want to use, click on the COLLAGE button at the bottom of the page & then format the collage (you can rearrange pictures and choose from different collage options). After I had a collage I liked I decided to print one on vellum just to see if the idea I had might work. At this point – measure your lamp & determine if you need to change the margins of the collage or photo. My lamp was 10” tall – so I made sure that there was ~3/4” white edge on the top and bottom of the page (8 ½ x 11”) so I wouldn’t have to trim to close to the photos. You’ll also need to measure around the lamp & determine how many pages you will need & if it ends up not being a nice, even number – adjust the margins on the sides to make each page narrower.

Next I printed the collage on the vellum – depending on your printer, you might want to adjust the printer settings. In the past, when I printed baby photos on vellum for birth announcements, I changed the setting to “fast” because the “high quality” setting put down too much ink and made it look blotchy in spots. I have a different printer now & I believe I printed this in the “regular” setting – although I’m not certain. Key here – make sure you have plenty of vellum to experiment with.

Once the photo or collage or quote (or whatever you decide to work with) is printed, don’t mess with it for a few minutes. The ink takes longer to dry on the vellum and it will smear if handled too early. Once the ink is dry, use your ruler and a light pencil line to mark where you need to trim the paper (if necessary). I have a self-healing mat & craft knife (purchased at Walmart) that I used to trim the vellum. On a smaller lamp I made, I just trimmed the vellum using scissors. Works just as well.

Once the pages are trimmed, make sure they fit around the lamp the way you want them to. On the tall lamp I made, I had to tweak some of the edges because the lamp was a tiny bit bigger at the top than at the bottom (didn’t realize this until I was getting ready to glue the pages on & the edges weren’t matching up!).

For the black & white lamp – I used a hot glue gun because that was what I had handy. Like I said in the supply list – there are many other glues that would probably work. I liked the hot glue gun because you really can’t see the glue dots unless you look closely & it holds the vellum really well. I used teensy, tiny dots of hot glue on each corner & middle of the side edges – primarily because I wanted to be able to remove the pages at some point to do a different collage. If you want it really stuck down, do a thin line on the edges. I tried a repositionable scrapbooking tape, but the edges kept trying to pull away & I had to touch it up with hot glue. A stronger tape would probably work better & would make for a nice, clean finish (I’m guessing, lol). I’m guessing that spray adhesive would probably work great too – although I haven’t tried it yet.

**Two important notes on the vellum (in case you’ve never worked with it before). Be careful not to bend it – because the vellum will crease & once it creases, a line will always be visible in that spot (this is the main reason I cut it with a craft knife – the less you have to handle it, the less chance of creasing it). Second thing to keep in mind – if the vellum is printed with and inkjet printer & the vellum ever gets wet – it will most likely smear. (If I were making a lamp for a bathroom or kitchen or something, I would either glue a second sheet of vellum over the photos or I would experiment with putting the vellum *inside* the lampshade).

That’s it! Kind of a wordy description for something that really was quick & easy to do. I hope this information helps! I’m happy to answer any question or troubleshoot for you if you need advice. You can email me at darby3878 @ cox dot net or mariedarby @ cox dot net

If you make one please share it with Marie on Facebook! (you can also see some of Marie’s other projects there…check out her barstools)

I hope you enjoy making the lamps and the lamps bring you joy!

Marie Darby


thanks Marie!

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Emily (emilyelizabeth) | Pearltrees - [...] If you make one please share it with Marie on Facebook ! (you can also see some of Marie’s other projects there…check out her barstools) I hope you enjoy making the lamps and the lamps bring you joy! guest post {Marie Darby&8230;diy photo lampshades} & ashleyannphoto… – StumbleUpon [...]

  • Are your holiday photos giving you puppy dog eyes? | - [...] Lampshade Head on over to Under the Sycamore for a tutorial on how to make these amazing lamp shades. This is a great way to display a lot of [...]

  • Debbie - How can I pin this on pinterest so others can see your awesome ideas?

  • Foto?raflardan Abajur Kaplama | Hobi Fikirleri Yarat?c? El ??i Örnekleri - [...] için yenidne foto?raflarla kaplama yapmaya ne dersiniz ? Evet derseniz foto?raf abajuru burada gördüm Reklam : Etiketler: abajur ba?l??? abajur kaplama craft dekoratif abajur el [...]

  • Pam Orchard - Fantastic

  • Tara - Hi! I am just starting up and found this idea-I’m going to share it with my readers and link to you. I just love the idea, so simple yet so fun! Great job!
    My site comes live on Monday!


  • Kelley - Love, Love, Love this!!!!
    I have pictures already printed that I would like to make a lampshade with.
    Do I buy vellum (I have never heard of this before) and put the pictures on it?
    Does it go on the inside or outside of the shade?
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Stacey Freedman - Great idea I would love to see a video on it.

  • Krealjunk régib?l újat I. « kreateve - [...] Akár színes, akár fekete-fehér, a fényképeknek is létezik még a “dobozban vagy albumba… Mondjuk legyen bel?le lámpabura Ha nem visz rá a lélek, hogy erre használjuk a képeinket akkor akár egy verssel, idézettel is helyettesíthetjük. [...]

  • Craft: 10 Cute Lampshades To Make At Home | justb. - [...] »Craft : Ten Lampshades to Make at HomeANNALEENAS HEM: DIY BASKET LAMPSHADE Do you fancy making a lampshade, JustBees? Which one do you like best?Top image via: [...]

  • Nancy Vandrie - Could you please make me one for my living
    Room? And one for my granddaughters room
    Thank you

  • Weekly Craft Round Up: Week 2 | Larslove Design - [...] up, an awesome way to revamp that old lighting piece you have in the basement or hall closet. DIY Photo Lampshades. We have a gorgeous lamp base that we have yet to find a place for in our new home. Part of the [...]

  • Ash - Can I used regular printing paper and paste it on the lamp in a collage?

  • Cool ways to display photos at home | Mango Juiced - [...] via iRis on [...]

  • Artesanato de candeeiro usando fotografias no abajur - Lindo efeito!! | Artesanato - [...] Veja o passo a passo! artesanato, artesanato abajur, artesanato candeeiro, artesanato passo a passo [...]

  • grace - awesome .. thanks for explaining the same in detail.. i am gonna do this of my daughters first 12month pic for her birthday..thanks

  • Pat Croft - what a wonderful idea and thanks so much for sharing-I always do something different with my lampshades,but this is best idea yet!!

  • Pat Norris - do the pictures go on the inside or out side? would decopoge work

  • Easy Lampshade Update Ideas - [...] Digby wrote a great guest post on Under The Sycamore and featured a very cool photograph [...]

  • Gwen - I love this, what a great idea! I have a couple of lampshades that have been waiting for inspiration, and this may well be what I was waiting for. :)

  • Top 10 på en lill lördag | Candore - [...] 1. MatterOfStyle 2. DesignMom 3. Source unknown 4. MyPoppet 5. ABeautifulMess 6. ISpyDIY 7. CraftAndCreativity 8. Source unknown 9. ABeautifulMess 10. AshleyAnn [...]

  • Pamela - HI there,
    your creative work is great,
    i was wondering aprox how much it would cost to get a lamp made- about the size as the first one showen on the page?
    Thanx for sharing the great ideas.

  • Ideias bacanas de decoração com fotos e sorteio! - Lomogracinha - [...] Varal com molduras polaroid e prendedor 2. Varal com moldura de quadro 3. Abajur com cúpula de fotos 4. Varal com pisca-pisca 5. Varais com prendedores 6. Imãs de geladeira 7. Photowall 8. Photowall [...]

  • 8 Cool DIY Lampshade Designs - [...] are sure to love it, no matter which room you choose to showcase it in. Thank you Marie Darby from Under the Sycamore for this fabulous idea. A DIY lampshade using book [...]

  • 25 Handmade Photo Crafts {DIY Gifts} - [...] Photo Lamp Shade – Ashley Ann Photography [...]

  • Apply Some DIY to Your Old LampshadesStorage Talk - [...] See your loved ones in a whole new light with a photo lampshade. [...]

  • Sabrina - Wow! I love the idea of a personal lampshade. Looks great!

  • Amber - I was just wondering if you make this lampshade yourself to sell? i would to order one for a gift! my # is 325-200-9816, feel free to text me,Amber

  • Handmade Mother’s Day Gift Round-Up | Lime Lane Love - [...] Photo Lampshade by Under the Sycamore [...]

  • Beautiful DIY Lampshade Ideas | My Blog - [...] are sure to love it, no matter which room you choose to showcase it in. Thank you Marie Darby from Under the Sycamore for this fabulous [...]

  • Terry - Hello, I am curious as to how to go about how to place an order to have one of these custom lampshades made? I see the question there a few times but no response.

    Please let me know how I can order one without creating it myself? Thank you.

  • Mark Anderson - How does heat from the lamp effect the adhesives you use?

  • How to Build Your Own Lampshade-Impressive Magazine - [...] Lampshade made of photos. Photo source: ashleyannphotography [...]

  • Selvie - Wow, it’s a unique idea for making something different with photographs, this diy photo lampshades idea is really quite unique for me, i want to do that. Nice work, keep it up..

  • DIY : LAMP SHADES | - [...] Too many colored pictures might make the whole thing too haphazard. Marie Darby has guest-posted a tutorial about this at Ashley Ann [...]

  • DIY Photo LampshadeThe Adored Home | The Adored Home - [...] searching Pinterest I came across this amazing lamp and then went to see a blog post on Under The Sycamore where owner Ashley Ann featured Marie Darby and her wonderful creation. I do not think Marie has a [...]

  • DIY Family Photo Lamp | Home and Heart DIY - [...] For the full tutorial on how to create this awesome Family Photo Lampshade go to- Under The Sycamore. [...]

  • laura@printing-instagram - Hey! I blog about tips for displaying printed instagram photos. I often look around to find cool and different ways to display photos so I can blog about it. The ideas that you have got here are awesome, thank you for sharing and thank you for the inspiration!

  • diane moyer - love it

  • Homemade christmas gift ideas - […] 3.Photo lampshade. (link) […]

  • Denise - Love it; can’t wait to get started on this project! Thank you Marie!

  • Pat Hatch - I like the lamps with pictures. It seems complicated ,but would like to make a couple ,as I like having pictures of my family all around me.It is a wonderful idea.

  • Christine - Love your work!

  • Photo Lampshade | Simplify, Create, and Enjoy - […] What a gorgeous lampshade! I love the thought of making anything with family photos and this lampshade is now one of my favorites. Another nifty and creative idea to make a family keepsake of wonderful family memories…I definitely want to do this. For the instructions to make your own photo lampshade, please visit […]

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *