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Lovely Lampshades:  your questions answered

Lovely Lampshades: your questions answered

Our approach, here at Helen Round, is to ensure that all our products, which are hand made in Cornwall, are functional as well as beautiful, and that they tread lightly on the earth.  This includes all our beautiful handprinted linen lampshades.  

In this article, I am delving more deeply into the background behind lampshades and answering the kind of questions that I regularly get asked during our lampshade making workshops.  

A little bit of history

After the invention of electric light and its introduction into domestic use in the later part of the 19th century, early, simple, paper and glass lampshades soon gave way to more intricate designs during the Victorian period.  Lampshades became increasingly ornate, using material, beads, lace and fringes, sometimes all in one shade!

Victorian style Lampshade

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Louis Comfort Tiffany began creating brilliant stained-glass lampshades with intricate patterns that embraced nature as a decorative theme in his designs.  I absolutely love these.

Tiffany Lamp

The widespread introduction of electricity in people's homes led to a boom in the popularity of lampshades.  They were used as a functional product to help  light up previously dark corners of a room and as an aesthetic and decorative accessory.  The choice of shapes and styles simply exploded.

What do I love about lampshades?

I have been designing and hand printing linen panels for lampshades and making up lampshades professionally for years.

I find it so exciting when a flat 2 dimensional piece of linen is wrapped around a frame and becomes a beautiful, useful 3 dimensional accessory.  A new lampshade can help transform the look of a room almost instantly.  Choosing and placing a new lampshade can be such a joyful experience.

 Lampshade Workshop

How do you make a Lampshade?

There are lots of videos online which can help, so if you have a project in mind it's worth looking at these.

Here at Helen Round, we run lampshade making workshops online.  You tell us which size, design and colour of linen panel you would like and all the materials are sent out to you in advance. 

You don’t need any prior craft experience.  I take everyone through the process in easy-to-understand steps, so no one is left behind.  There is always plenty of time for questions, since I want to make absolutely sure that everyone achieves a really professional finish.  We are looking forward to our first Canadian workshop participant in March and have the correct fittings for lampshades for the USA and Canada!

Successful Lampshade Makers after a Workshop

I love this quote from our recent workshop in November:

"I made my first lampshade in an online course with Helen Round Design in November. I absolutely loved both the course and the end product, including demystifying how to create a gorgeous lampshade from the raw - and flat packed - elements delivered, to my door, including some very beautiful hand printed linen. From the starting point of no prior knowledge whatsoever, I made my first heirloom-worthy lampshade in one enjoyable morning, and am now booking onto the January workshop! I can’t recommend the course highly enough :-)"

Dates for our lampshade workshops can be found here.

Many people, having had success with their first lampshade want to have another go!  To help, we have recently developed kits to allow people to make a lampshade at home.  Completed lampshades make great gifts for friends and family.    

How do I choose a lampshade?

I often get questions about which size would work best for the space and the shade.  There is a formula for this which is that the width of the shade base should be roughly equal to the height of the lamp from base to fitting. The shade should ideally be to at least (1.5cm) wider than the base on both sides, to keep the whole lamp looking balanced.

I find that the best way to work out what size of lampshade you need is by rolling up a piece of card to see how it looks around your lamp and how it sits in the space around the lampstand and then simply measure the diameter!  This is the size you will need.  We offer cylindrical lampshades in fittings of 20cm, 30cm, 40cm and 50cm widths.

We have some gorgeous designs which can be bought online and sent to you.  Click here to go to the lampshades page of our website.

Fish Shoal, slate grey linen lampshade from our Quayside Collection at Helen Round


Floral Linen Lampshade, duck egg blue from the Garden Collection at Helen Round


Mustard Linen Lampshade from the Hedgerow Collection by Helen Round

It’s also worth reading this article written for our Journal recently by Cathryn Bishop from Cornish Interiors.  She offers some great tips about the use of cushions and lampshades to refresh a room.

Natural Bee Design Linen Lampshade from The Honey Bee Collection by Helen Round

If you have any questions about lampshades, linen panels or our workshops, please do get in touch, on Instagram or Facebook. We are always happy to use our experience to help you, whether it's something for you or friends and family and we always love it when you share pictures of our lampshades in their new surroundings!

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