How to make a drum shade

Decor, DIY, Lighting

Do you like everything about your apartment, except for that unsightly ceiling light fixture? No need to replace it, just cover it up with a DIY drum shade – it will instantly give your room a more sophisticated and personalized look. See how easy it is to make a customized drum shade that will fit any dรฉcor, all with inexpensive and easily sourced materials: embroidery hoops, poster board and brads. This is do it yourself lighting on a budget that’s perfect for renters and anyone looking for a quick upgrade to their lighting fixtures.

81 Comments

  1. Cheryl

    Wonderful video! Excellent job in explaining and showing how to add elegance to a ceiling light. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Hi Cheryl, Glad you liked my video & thanks for watching!

      Reply
  2. KATHY

    Great video, I want to try this on my hall lights. Do I need to worry about overheating?

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      I haven’t had any issues with overheating – I left about 2-3″ of clear space between the fluorescent bulbs and the side of the shade and that seems to be fine for the air to circulate and the heat to dissipate. Every fixture is different so it’s hard for me to say what’s the right clearance for your fixture. I would definitely stay away from using incandescent light bulbs and use LED bulbs if possible – they consume less energy, last longer and don’t give off much heat. Hope this helps and thanks for watching!

      Reply
  3. Noel

    I made a large drum shade to go over an existing hanging light fixture. I had to use a 23 inch hoop. When I put mod podge to the fabric on florescent panel it ended up drying streaky. Any tips?

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      It’s hard to say why that’s happening – I’ve done a few of these diffusers using the method in the video and haven’t had that problem. It could perhaps be due to the type of fabric or maybe not putting on enough Mod Podge? I use a very thin see-through linen like fabric that I completely saturate with Mod Podge. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  4. paula

    Perfect solution for my new apt dining area! Very detailed and great tutorial! Thanks so much”

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      You’re welcome! And thanks for watching!

      Reply
  5. Caroline

    Hi Isabelle,

    I absolutely LOVED this idea ! Thank you so much for that great tutorial. !

    I have a question … instead of taking two embroidery hoops, can I take only one and separate it to have two hoops ? I don’t know if it’s clear …

    Thank you so much !

    Caroline ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Hi Caroline,

      I just saw your question on this page now (it was stuck in the spam filter!). As I had mentioned to you via email, the 2 hoops won’t be the same diameter so the shade won’t have straight sides if you do this. Let me know how it turns out and share pics if you can!

      Thanks for watching!

      Isabelle

      Reply
  6. julie

    May I ask where you got the lighting panel?

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      I got the lighting panel at Home Depot – they are usually where the fluorescent lighting fixtures are.
      Thanks for watching!

      Reply
  7. Dr Sourav Malhotra

    its realy amazing.. the only problem i faced in making of drum shade pendent lamp is that it is not hanging in the centre ….means its not hanging straight .. ???

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      It can be tricky to make the shade hang straight – I’m not sure what you are using to secure it to the ceiling so it’s hard to say what the problem is. I used paperclips to make hooks to secure the shade to the base of the existing light fixture and played around with them until the shade was straight. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  8. Dr Sourav Malhotra

    this is what i made ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Thanks so much for sharing – looks great! I really like the cut outs you made – nice touch! I would love to share your pendant lamp on my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/EngineerYourSpace), if that’s OK with you – let me know!

      Reply
      • Dr Sourav Malhotra

        ohh yeah you can share… thanks for teaching us ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
        • Isabelle

          Great! And you’re welcome – it’s great to see my projects come to life out there!

          Reply
          • Dr Sourav Malhotra

            yeah i am fromm India and have told my friends about this site and you…. thanks again ๐Ÿ˜‰ you there on whatsapp??

          • Isabelle

            Thanks for spreading the word!

  9. Kara Nichols

    This was a great tutorial! Jut what I needed to cover up my builder grade “boob” lights. Now I have a classy cream shade that gives off great diffused light all for under $10. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Beautiful! Much better than “boob” lights indeed ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so great to see projects inspired by my tutorials and I would love to share what you did on my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/EngineerYourSpace) – would that be OK with you? Let me know. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Kara Nichols

        Sure! I already shared on mine and gave you credit with a link. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
        • Isabelle

          Great! And thanks for spreading the word!

          Reply
  10. mrsben

    Questions: Regarding the embroidery hoops that you used. Were they the expandable type that has a screw ‘n bolt on the outer portion? IF so, am I correct in presuming that you used the inside hoop for your project or can they just be purchased as a single hoop?

    Excellent video BTW.
    THANK YOU!!!!!! โ˜บ
    P.S: Apologize if I may have missed you mentioning the above in your video.

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Yes, you’re correct – the hoops I use are the expandable type. The shade material is glued to the inner ring and I use the outside ring to help glue the material to the inner ring so there are no gaps, then I remove the outer ring. Hope this helps and thanks for watching!!

      Reply
  11. "Lucy"

    This turned out great! It’s very similar to the one I made with plexiglass and embroidery hoops. I think the Keylor family blog was the first to come up with this idea and you have improved upon it magnificently.

    I’m looking forward to trying out your idea in the future.

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Thank you!

      Reply
  12. Sclarke

    Awesome cant wait to try this!

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Great! Let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
  13. Ajay Gunnoo

    Thanks Very much Isabelle. your videos are very helpful to me. Think you speak French as well. Regards

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      It’s so nice to hear that my videos are helpful! Yes, French is my native language and I also speak Spanish. Thanks for watching!

      Reply
  14. maureen

    Where can I find these lighting panels?

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      I got mine at Home Depot – most large hardware stores should carry them.

      Reply
  15. Ana

    After looking around and not finding what I had in mind; I started searching for DIY projects. I came upon your video and was very impressed. I can’t what to start!Thanks for including materials, suppliers and best of all…templates.

    Ana

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      You’re welcome Anna – glad to hear that my video and the additional info was helpful! Would love to see pics of your creation when you’re done!

      Reply
  16. Janice

    Is poster board like cardboard? Ive been trying to find from sttionery shops but they dont seem to sell them. Do you have any idea where i could buy it please? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Yes, but it’s more like thick paper. they sell that at office supply stores like Staples or Office Depot. Hope that helps!

      Reply
    • Chris

      You may know this as “bristol board.”

      Reply
  17. Anithra Hebard

    I am so impressed with the quality of your work! You did an amazing job. I have a lamp project in my Lighting class and we have to make an entire lamp. I have decided to use old wine bottles as my base and a lamp kit for the electrical. Adding this lamp shade would be fantastic. Is there a way I can use this same concept but attach the shade to a lamp base?

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Thank you so much! Here’s something I came across on Pinterest that might be a jumping off point for you to adapt the drum shade to a lamp base, depending on the lamp kit your using : http://www.pinterest.com/pin/209206345164853936/. Good luck with your project!

      Reply
  18. Salina

    I love your videos and youtube channel! You inspired me to specifically searching for a studio when I found my new place because I loved your ideas so much!! haha! I cannot wait to start decorating and making it my own!

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      I’m so happy to hear that!! Thank you so much and I hope you’ll share pics of your new place ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  19. Jennifer Duff

    Great DIY! I’ve been looking for a solution to cover the ugly light fixture in bedroom. I have question, how did you secure the embroidery hoop closed where the metal clamp is? Or did you just take off the metal clamp and use the larger part? Sorry there was nothing in video to explain. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Thanks! The outside hoop with the metal clamp is only used to help the cardboard stick to the inner embroidery hoop. Once the glue has dried, you take it off and all that remains is the inner hoop that doesn’t have the metal clamp on it. Hope this helps! Isabelle

      Reply
      • Jennifer Duff

        thanks! After I posted I figured it out LOL I love your DIY videos. There are more than a few that I am in process of doing. I just found a Stanley Mitre Box Saw yesterday for $4! I am making the lighted wall panels for my daughter new apartment, and for my entryway. Looking forward to more your great DIY’s and have a great day.

        Reply
  20. Robin

    How were you able to attach it to the ceiling? Because of the size of my fixture, I’m forced to attach the drum right from the ceiling. I’m finding it difficult to attach S hooks to the eye hooks. Also, I have to perform this from under the fixture. How were you able to then get the diffuser into place without pressing it in from above?

    Great tutorial! I love how mine came out! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Glad to hear you like the tutorial! You could use eye hooks in the ceiling and put them slightly wider than the drum shade to make it easier to hook together (I used the holes from the existing fixture to hang the s-hooks). The diffuser was tricky but it was loose enough that it fell in place pretty easily.

      Reply
  21. Savanna

    is there a way to do something like this to a kitchen light? One of those big ugly rectangle ones.

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      I’m working on a rectangular fixture so stay tuned!

      Reply
      • Jodi

        Just wondering if you have tackled this yet? ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
        • Isabelle

          Not yet!

          Reply
          • Dani H

            Oh, do please work on a solution for this! I love my rental kitchen except for the really ugly plastic-covered, rectangular fluorescent ceiling light fixture. I’ve added under cabinet lighting for task lights, but the ceiling fixture is not only seen in the kitchen, but from the dining room and living room as well.

            I love your drum shade project and your site!

          • Isabelle

            Those rectangular fluorescent fixtures can definitely be an eye sore!! I’ll keep working on some ideas and hopefully one works out so I can share with everyone ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

  22. Tyler

    Hi! I really want to do this, but I don’t have the fixture up there… it’s just the lightbulb and a small base with 2 holes on either side. Are there any other ways to hang it?

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Hi Tyler, You could install eye screws into the ceiling and use the s-hooks to hang the drum shade from the eye hooks. Hope that helps, Thanks! Isabelle

      Reply
  23. B Koepke

    Video won’t load for me. Can you verify it’s still published and viewable please?

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      The video works on my end so I’m not sure what’s the problem on your end – here’s a direct link to the video: http://youtu.be/N9mNHmwod2U
      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  24. P Patel

    I like to create larger diameter 36″ drum shades. What material will you use to create 36″ diameter ring?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      That’s a very large shade at 3 ft in diameter! I’m not sure what I would use for that – if I come up with something I’ll let you know!

      Reply
      • Terri

        only thing I can think of that size would be a hoola hoop

        Reply
        • Isabelle

          I didn’t think of that – good idea!

          Reply
  25. Laura-Lee

    Hi, I have an ugly sort of see through drop light fixture that is on a low ceiling. Any suggestions on how to make this shade work?

    I can’t seem to pay this with the picture attached.

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Hi Laura-lee – I don’t see the picture you attached showing the fixture you mentioned. Can you try to post it again? Thanks! Isabelle

      Reply
  26. Clara

    Hi Isabelle,

    I loved this and your pendant lamp tutorial! I’m tweaking a couple things to make my lampshade and I would like to know, does Weldbond Glue tack up quickly or is it runny?

    Thanks,
    Clara

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Hi Clara, Weldbond glue is fairly easy to work with and would say it has a medium consistency and does tack up fairly quickly. Hope you’ll share pics of you project! Thanks for watching! Isabelle

      Reply
  27. Maria

    Hi Isabelle,

    I have followed your instructions and made a beautiful drum shade for my entryway, thank you!!

    I used 10″ embroidery hoops and the fixture I am attaching (or trying to!) the shade to is much smaller than that. I am renting so I’d rather avoid eye screws in the ceiling in order to set it up, so I was trying to use paper clips opened like you demonstrate in the part of the video when you show the 2-tiers shade. The paper clip reaches the holes in the fixture, but I am not quite clear as to how to actually attach the shade so that it ends being as flush to the ceiling as possible (like yours is)…?

    Also, a tip: I used ‘Kids Craft Mat’ ( found at Hobby Lobby for $5.99 in sheets of 18″x24″) as light diffuser. It works GREAT and it’s even easier to cut than paper!

    Thanks again for the great projects! On I go, to the next one!

    Maria

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Hi Maria,

      That’s great! It was a lot of trial and error to adjust the paper clip “s-hooks” to make the shade hang straight. It’s the 3rd paper clip that’s the hardest to put in but it is possible to get it hang straight that way. Hope you were able to make it work? Can’t wait to see a pic of your project!

      And thank you for the tip about the Kids Craft Mat – sounds perfect and I will definitely check it out.

      Isabelle

      Reply
  28. Maria

    Done (in the entryway and dining room)!

    18″ and 10″ embroidery hoops. Fun, pretty, and easy to make. The most painful part is hanging them up!

    On to the bedroom!

    Maria

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Beautiful Maria! It complements your dining room just perfectly!! And I love your curtains, jus tthe right amount of color and pattern ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing and I can’t wait to see what you do with your bedroom!
      Isabelle

      Reply
  29. Zainab Rahman

    Hi Isabelle, I love your videos, they are very informative and fun. Waiting for some new uploads of your outstanding ideas.
    Btw I don’t have any ceiling light but I want to hang a pendant light right on top of my dining table without messing up with the wires in my rental home. Any solution for this?

    Reply
    • Isabelle

      Thanks Zainab! You can do something like I did in my office – you just need a pendant light kit and use a hook in the ceiling to hang the lamp over your table. You can see how I did it in this video: http://www.engineeryourspace.com/home-office-ideas-part-2/. Hope this helps and please send pics of your project – would love to see what you end up doing! Isabelle

      Reply
  30. Laura

    Hi Isabelle,

    I just finished making the drum shade and it looks great! The problem though is that I have a different set up and my base has holes under it, not on the sides, and I’m afraid of drilling the ceiling and hitting electricity. What would you recommend?

    Reply
    • Isabelle LaRue

      Hi Laura, That’s great you finished the drum shade! If the 4 holes for the screws are hallow, I would try using paper clics to do something like I did in the 2-tier lamp shade (see pics), or if that’s not long enough, you could use a few of them to make a small chain (or use small chains if you have them.)

      Reply
    • Isabelle LaRue

      Here are the pics

      Reply
    • Isabelle LaRue

      Closer view

      Reply
  31. Bea Tobias

    I’ve been looking for a solution to my ugly shade and these instructions are so perfect.
    If I can’t find a plastic mat big enough, do you think plastic mesh canvas, like you used in your earring holder, would be firm enough? Not sure if my old hands could cut the rigid stuff.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Isabelle LaRue

      Hi Bea, Glad to hear my drum shade project will help! The mesh canvas could work but it might not sit perfectly flat – using a glue gun to tack into place might help to keep it taut (heavy duty scissors should cut through the material easily enough I would think).

      Reply
  32. Allen Mueller

    It’s so difficult to find flush mount drum shades – regardless of budget requirements, and you can forget about finding wide, low profile cylinders.

    Discovering I could build my own using these techniques was a very lucky find, and little things like using embroidery hoops will ease the assembly and offer a chance to end up with something that actually looks decent.

    Many thanks for all the work you’ve put into this informative post. I’ll definitely be back.

    Reply
  33. Allen Mueller

    It’s difficult to find cylindrical drum shades to use in flush mount applications – anywhere, at any cost. It’s even harder to find flush mount lighting like this – very limited modern/clean designs exist online, and there’s always something about each design that I find lacking.

    I consider myself very lucky to have found this page and website at all. I was actually not even looking to DIY my own shade, rather I was shopping for a “straight cylinder drum shade” for a few hours, which eventually led me here.

    I can’t wait to see what I can do with this project guide – especially fond of the idea of using embroidery hoops, as I can imagine they will ensure the drum surface stays parallel, and offer plenty of surface area for gluing. I may try something with earth magnets to make it easy to mount/dismount the shade, but really, this is one of those rare DIY guides that I could literally follow blindly without deviation and still love the results.

    Anyone looking to create their own flush mount drum or barrel cylinder lamp shades should find this information very useful. I hope you get lots of traffic and interest as a result. There’s too much fluff in the DIY community online, so this was a great find for me. Thank you so much! I’ll be following this site – and the EYS amazon store from now on. : )

    Reply
    • Isabelle LaRue

      Thanks so much Allen! I also couldn’t find what I wanted out there so I was really happy when I figured out a way to make my own and wanted to share with others how to do the same. Hope you’ll share pictures of you make, would love to see! All the best, Isabelle

      Reply

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