DIYdiy projects

diy project: woven balsa wood lampshade

by Kate Pruitt

Balsa is one of my all-time favorite materials: It’s cheap and lightweight and easily handles bending, cutting, staining, painting, glueing and pretty much every other technique that comes to mind. It’s also a great resource for creating professional-quality results with few tools, as you can see in this awesome balsa lampshade project from Jamie Samples of Pomp & Circumstance. Using just a few strips of balsa wood and some glue, Jamie created this modern, organic shade in minutes. I love the braided look of the pieces weaving in and out of one another; it truly feels like a finely crafted technique that only a woodworker would know how to achieve, but luckily it’s extremely DIYable. I can’t wait to try this on a lampshade this weekend! — Kate

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Read the full how-to after the jump . . .

I made this lamp recently when I was styling a room for a mid-20’s single man. I had painted the room a dark navy/almost black color, and was looking to add some fun while keeping with the original vision: dark walls, bright white and wood accents, with some lighter aqua shades thrown in to brighten things up and add a bit of fun. I happened to have an extra lampshade lying around, and had a few bases to choose from. I grabbed a base, spray-painted it to fit the aesthetic of the room, and threw together this playful balsa wood shade! Enjoy! —Jamie


  • lampshade
  • balsa wood strips (different amounts depending on the length/width you get, but buy extra because you’ll need more than you think — also, get balsa wood that is super thin and bendy, that way you don’t have to steam the balsa to get it to bend)
  • glue gun and glue sticks


1. Line the top and bottom edge of the shade.

2. Add pieces willy-nilly! Tuck the ends into other pieces and wrap in a manner that leaves a little space and isn’t completely flat against the shade.

3. Keep adding! Keep tucking! My goal was to have all the ends tucked so none were showing.

4. Check for loose ends and apply glue to adhere. You can remove any wispy glue strands by blowing them with a hairdryer.


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