Make a Twig Lampshade

After seeing the very cool yardstick lamp shade we found/posted the other day we were inspired to make a version from twigs.

After a really windy night, there were a bunch of pretty birch branches and twigs lying around the front yard. We gathered an armload and looked around my house for a lamp to tear apart. Normally we would’ve gone to the junk store, but were just too impatient. I had an old lamp from Target that I thought could do with a makeover. I know there are a few people out there who may like the “before” better than the “after”, but we don’t want to hear from you. :)  There are probably people out there who don’t like smiley faces too but we don’t want to hear from you either. ;)

Lamp Before, Twig Lamp After

Supplies:

  • old dismantled lampshade (we would recommend one where the frame is all one piece, instead of what we used where the top ring was separate from the bottom – it was do-able, but made it more awkward.) You can also find new lampshade frames online, just google it.
  • twigs/branches, fresh from a tree (if they have laid around on the ground for too long they are really fragile because they’ve started to degrade.)
  • thin flexible wire (we used silver/galvanized, to match the lamp base).
  • wire cutters

Prep:

We dismantled the existing lampshade by cutting the fabric covering and the underlying support plastic. That left the lamp frame in 2 pieces, and we found it was an ugly, shiny brass. We spray painted it with a bronze metal spray paint. We also took fine grit sandpaper to the aluminum base to give it a little scuffed up look. It was too perfect/slick and didn’t seem quite right with the natural look of the twigs.

Top left: Lampshade frame before. Top right: Frame after spray painting. Bottom: Lightly sanding base with fine sandpaper.

How to:

We used long lengths of the thin flexible wire to connect the branches to the wire frames in 4 places to stabilize it (this is where having the lampshade frame in one piece would be very convenient). Using the lengths of wire, I then attached the branches, one at a time, to the frame by looping the wire around the frame then around the branch, repeat repeat repeat. It is a little like sewing. This part required just one set of hands, so Mary Jean and Monica took this opportunity to snack, chat and critique.

Finished – in about 4 hours:

At first I was going to cut off the branches at the top so it would end flush, but we really got to liking the crazy hair look of the branches going off into all directions. The shadows it casts on the wall and the ceiling are very cool, it feels like you are camping!

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18 thoughts on “Make a Twig Lampshade

  1. I am just in the middle of my own twig lamp shade project. I was looking for some inspiration regarding size and shape, I had a more tidy look in mind with straight twigs of same size, but I like your “wild” one a lot more. Thanks for sharing, I am gonna go twig hunting now.
    Oh, and the new one looks so much better than the old one!

  2. Wow that is fantastic!!!! I need to make one for our grandson/guest room that I am attempting to finish. One say soon I hope. Just a bit of painting to complete. Then the little bits.

  3. I love love love reading your blog. This is yet another brilliant project. Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us!

  4. This is great idea! I have an obsession with twigs and branches, always stop on my walks with the dog and think, “that is a really cool branch or twig that fell from that tree”! I like to put them in big vases. But this takes it further. Thanks gals.

    • Thanks Sarah! Just now I was driving from the grocery store (I know, I should’ve been “walking” from the grocery store), and I saw 2 lampshades by the curb. I think I need to go back and get them and play around some more!

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