If you have ever wanted to add some DIY wall sconce shades to a fixture that came without them, this little tutorial is for you! 🙂
I recently purchased two of these 3-light wall sconces from Wayfair. (You can find the sconce here.)
I’m not quite ready to share where I’ll be using them. You’ll have to stay tuned for that. 🙂
But I don’t like bare bulb light fixtures, so I’ve been searching and searching for the perfect shades to fit the sconces. The problem is that the arms of the sconce are very close together, so anything that flares out at all won’t work. And since the arms are so long and slender, standard height chandelier shades looked ridiculous. I needed shades that were tall, slim and cylindrical in shape. I also wanted fabric shades (not glass) that had the bulb clips in them. Add up all of those requirements, and what you’ve got are wall sconce shades that really don’t exist. My only option was to make my own.
How To Make Your Own DIY Wall Sconce Shades
After giving much thought to what I could use to make the perfect DIY wall sconce shades, I came across these cardboard mailing tubes. They are just over 3 inches in diameter, and the inside is actually exactly three inches in diameter. They were perfect for my shades!
The cardboard is very thick, so I used my miter saw to cut it.
I had just enough to make six shades that are 6.5 inches tall. After cutting them, I used some 220-grit sandpaper to clean up the cut edges.
I still needed the clip rings to fit inside that actually hold the shades to the bulbs. I found some little shades at Lowe’s that had the perfect size rings. They were just under $4 each, but I rummaged through the stacks of shades to find as many of them as I could that didn’t have wrappers and were filthy and/or dented, and then I asked if they’d sell those at a discount. I ended up getting them for $2 each, which is actually cheaper than I found the ring clips sold separately online.
So after taking apart the chandelier shades from Lowe’s, I was ready to put the clip rings into the mailing tube shades.
I didn’t want the rings right at the top of the shades, so I used painters tape just around the top edge as a spacer…
And then marked the edge of the tape with a pencil.
Then I used that pencil mark as a guide for placing the clip ring.
I rummaged around my stash of supplies to find the strongest tape I had, and that happened to be aluminum foil tape, which is used on HVAC ducts or (in my case) solar tube installations. That stuff is some of the strongest and stickiest tape I’ve ever used, so I was sure it would hold the ring perfectly in place. I cut it into small pieces to make it easier to handle and used eight small pieces to hold each ring in place.
With the ring and tape in place, I painted the inside of the tubes with two coats of paint. The color wasn’t important. I only needed the paint to seal the cardboard and make it less porous.
When the paint was completely dry, I used spray-on adhesive for metal leaf, and then gold leafed the inside. It was a tight fit and not the easiest thing I’ve ever gold leafed, but with some patience, I finally got the entire inside surfaces covered.
I covered the outside of the wall sconce shades with a thick canvas that has a linen look. I cut the pieces so that they would wrap around the shade and lap over about 1/2 inch. I placed a strip of permanent fabric tape along the vertical edge of the fabric and placed it on the shade.
On the other end of the fabric, I placed another piece of fabric tape close to the edge.
And then I trimmed the fabric right along the edge of the tape.
Then I finished wrapping the fabric and secured it.
Wrapping it this way eliminated any bulk that would have been there had I folded the edge of the fabric, and with the tape right along the edge of the fabric, it will prevent the fabric from unraveling.
I finished the shades by trimming off the excess fabric and then attaching matching bias tape around the top and the bottom of the shades to cover the cut edges. I first wrapped it around the outside of the shade, attaching the ends with hot glue. Then I wrapped the bias tape around the edges and to the inside of the shade, securing it with fabric tape.
And that’s it! I repeated that five times, and now I have the perfectly shaped and perfectly sized shades for my sconces.
NOTE: I use LED bulbs, which barely get warm to the touch, so there’s no fire hazard with these DIY wall sconce shades.