Map Lampshade DIY Project

by Grace Bonney

Project: Map Lampshade
Creator: Amy Merrick
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Cost: $20
Time taken on project: 25 min
Difficulty Level (1 to 3): 2

When it comes to lighting, people often overlook lampshades. Not only are they a great place to use a little pattern and color, but you can easily upgrade a cheap thrift store shade with a little paper. Amy Merrick decided to use her collection of vintage maps to quickly and easily revive an old shade in her bedroom and create a custom look.


– lamp shade
– old map. For a proper fit, the height of the map must measure at least 2 inches longer than widest point of shade.
– hot glue gun
– painters tap (or another kind of low-stick tape as other kinds will of will tear map)
– ruler
– ribbon, trim or bias tape trimming (optional) A tapered shade will need a trim or bias tape, while a straight drum can also use ribbon.
– scissors
– pencil

1. With seam of lampshade facing you, wrap map around shade so it hugs the sides.

2. Tape closed with several small pieces along the seam.

3. Carefully trim extra top and bottom paper off, resting your scissors along the rim of the shade for a guide.

4. With a pencil, lightly mark top and bottom of seam on both layers, allowing for a 1″ overlap at center back.

5. Remove tape and using a ruler, connect marks to form center back seams of lamp. Trim off excess.

6. Heat up hot glue gun and wrap map around shade so that the top and bottom edges line up with the shade.

7. Secure one side with a pieces of tape over the top and bottom edge, a few inches from the seam. Now when you prep to glue it down, everything will already be lined up.

7. Run a thin line of glue down back seam of shade, underneath the side that is being secured by tap. Remove tape and run another line of glue, this time on the underside edge on the remaining side.

8. Pull taught and press down. Attach trim using hot glue if desired.

Photo Credit: Amy Merrick

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  • I’ve been meaning to try to make a lampshade for a loooong time, maybe I should give it a try. The map you used is really pretty, it almost looks like marbled paper.