Made from Scratch Drum Shades with Glass Carboy Lamps

You might as well find out that this post was supposed to happen a long time ago. We knew we wanted lamps in the master bedroom and we had them purchased back in September and figured we’d bust them out straightaway. Easy find, easy post, right? Well, not exactly.
At my birthday garage sale we came across these two glass carboys. The lady practically gave them to us. The one with the lamp light in it was $.50. She said we could have the one without the light for free if we bought the other one. Sold.
The nice thing about them was that they had holes cut out in the back to allow a cord to come out. Nifty – especially since I didn’t have the foggiest idea on how to cut a hole out of these jugs anyway. Thank goodness for Google though, with it’s 1,550,000 results for “how to cut a hole in glass bottle”, I’m sure someone has it figured out.

Anyway, we were excited to put these in the room, but as we progressed with the project, we started to worry that the scale would be off and they wouldn’t quite look right. So, we took off to the local goodwill thrift store and purchased these pink stunners:
Not ideal by any means, but we didn’t know how picky we could afford to be. Garage sale season is pretty much over here, and the odds of finding a matching set of lamps secondhand was a little dicey.
These put us back $20, and Whitney grabbed some of that Krylon looking glass mirror spray paint to help transform the lamps into something much cooler, thanks to inspiration found on Pinterest like these:
Pottery Barn Via IVillage(Credit Pottary Barn, found on iVillage)

However, once we got them home and set them next to the bed we decided that the shape of the lamps was boring, not to mention they probably were also a little big for the scale of the room. Back to the drawing board and back to the thrift store, this time finding these:
Finally! We whisked our new found beauties home, happy to have snagged them for just $6 and Whitney got to work ignoring the label of the Krylon looking glass paint in favor of tutorials online that anything you spray with the stuff will magically turn into looking glass.
I’m not sure at what moment Whitney’s excitement fizzled as she spayed on the first coat, but I could tell that the anticipation of awesomeness had turned into utter and complete depression.
The mirror paint had turned out to be not much better than a silver/chrome paint (which would have cost a lot less to have purchased). As we sat and talked about what to do, Whitney decided to call over a trusted girl friend for a consult. Do we just roll with the silver lamps, paint them another color, or buy something else?

The decision that came out of Whitney’s chat was that the scale of the original glass lamps could be forgiven if they were cool enough, and they were. So with Whitney smiling once again, I was informed that it was back to plan A, again.

Plan A had a problem however – the second lamp had no light in it. I was put to work trying to figure out how to overcome that obstacle, and turns out it wasn’t that difficult.
I first dismantled a light we had toted with us through the years. It worked, but part of the stand was broken so it doesn’t stand up on it’s own. I’d pestered Whitney to throw it away a million times, but she always said you never know what you can upcycle. She wasn’t supposed to be right about this one though.
Since I’m not an electrician, I kept all the of the pieces of the lamp in the order that I dismantled it so I could get it back together. Once I unscrewed the cable wires from the light unit itself, the cord easily came out.
I then found a washer from my tool box that was large enough not to be pulled up the neck of the jug and with a large enough center to allow the lighting nipple to go through it.
Then I simply rebuilt the light fixture with the cord coming down the neck of the carboy with the light on top. Whitney painted the cord gold to help it not be quite an eyesore in the glass. And yes, it does work!
Now on to the good stuff. We knew we wanted to make our own lamp shades. It’s all the rage right now with tons of blogs showing “how to’s” on drum shades. We wanted to do one too, but wanted to start from scratch. Entirely.

So we started with these babies picked up at a yard sale. I thought I got a bargain at $.50, and I’m positive the seller thought 1) “I would have given that piece of junk away for free” and 2) “That guy must be messed up to have purchased this.” What can I say, it was a win-win.
First I dismantled the pink and white kitty, revealing two 18” craft hoops to add to the other set I found. Where I had removed the screws for the outer hoops I rejoined with wood joiners.
Whitney had picked burlap as the fabric to cover the shades. Clearly, it wasn’t thick enough on it’s own so we added on some iron-on interfacing that helped to stiffen it up. We used 6 feet of burlap in a strip 12” wide as well as a 10” wide piece of interfacing long enough to surround the shade, leaving an inch of burlap beyond each piece of interfacing after it was ironed on.
Then, using a glue gun we rolled the hoops over the stiffened fabric. We actually put a second layer of burlap on the shade to help hide the white interfacing that could be seen through the small holes.
We then folded that extra 1” of burlap over the hoop and glued it on the inside to finish it off.
While much stiffer than without the interfacing, the shades still didn’t have that tight look. To help solve that, I cut pieces of bamboo skewer and glued them (with the nastiest glue gun you’ve ever seen) on the inside of the shade, so that the ends of the sticks gently push against the top and bottom craft hoop keeping it taunt.
Can you tell which one has the skewer supports?
The wire pieces to help hold the shade to the lamp had to be homemade as well. We bent some hangers into three-pronged shape, keeping a loop in the center for the lamp screw and gluing the arms in place.

If you skip all the miscellaneous lamp purchases, this project turned out to be really inexpensive. For basically the price of some burlap, interfacing and some craft hoops, we created our own drum shades.
Tomorrow we’ll be debuting the master bedroom in it’s entirety, complete with before and after shots for your viewing pleasure. You’ll finally see the headboard, duvet cover, pillows, nightstands and lampshades altogether. And I’ll be glad to have my master room back.


Update: We revealed the master bedroom and chatted it up about all the costs involved here.  Check it out.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Awesome!! Those are soooo cute. Love them. I would so have these in my home. The glass is perfect, the shades are darling and the whole lamp is just super on trend. You scored a 10 on this one =)))

  2. How interesting to see all the work that into your creative process to make such totally cool lamps. I have glass jars like this I use for my drinking water because i dont like the way the plastic ones look. They are still made in Mexico nearby.

  3. I love this! I had been trying to find an inexpensive drum shade for my nursery and settled for something else. I could have made my own!

  4. Great job! The result is superb and the tutorial is very helpful. I love how they turned out!

  5. Totally awesome :) I’m excited to see the whole room reveal!
    p.s. The blog looks GREAT!

  6. Turned out GREAT! I am pinning this right now, so I can do this sometime down the road. Thank you!!

  7. Looks fantastic! I have a similar “silver paint” problem…what did you do with the silver lamps? Great work, Lori

    • They’re sitting all lonely-like in the basement. I’ll have to put in some thought about what to do with them. If you figure out the secret to the glass look, let me know!

  8. Brilliant! I’ve made my own shade in the past, but didn’t think to put supports. That makes perfect sense!

  9. These DIY lampshades are GENIUS! I’m so impressed and glad to be your newest follower!!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!!

    Aimee @

  10. I featured this today! Come check it out and grab a button:)

  11. This is awesome. I’m so tempted to make these shades for a lamp who’s shade we’ve broken.

  12. LOVE THE LAMPS!!!! Love the glass with the burlap….genious

  13. your post was so inspiring and informative! who would have thought that embroidery hoops, a wire hanger, bamboo skewers, glue gun and fabric could be made into such beautiful lamp shades. your bedroom reveal was great too. i found you via thistlewood farm and so glad i did. heading up to the top to follow you right now.

  14. Hi! I loooove your work! It’s so creative, cheap and posh too! :) Could you do a blog on how to twist those wire hangers into shape please? I can’t for the life of me figure it out!

  15. Good grief! What an ordeal! I truly admire your tenacity, but I’m simply not as patient as you! You might have luck getting on the “Survivor” show, if that’s still on. Those lamp shades are DIY masterpieces!

  16. I am all hyped up to start this project but I can’t find a hoop large enough. :-(
    I need 22″ as I am making it to go over my chandelier. Any ideas as I can not find a hoop larger than 10″

  17. Thanks. I found actual hoops but they were like $75 lol I don’t think soI am going to check around cause I am definitely all hyped up

  18. Someone know how to wash a carboy washer ?


  1. […] mirror, making our own duvet cover and curtains, to blinging out the space in gold, making carboy lamps, and getting down and dirty with paint and baseboard trim. You can read all about the project’s […]

  2. […] across a fabulous blog called The Rooster and the Hen. After perusing around, I saw these fabulous DIY Carboy Lamps that they made for their master bedroom and thought I would do another little Old 2 New post […]

  3. […]  Burlap Lamp Shade ~ Be creative and re-purpose garage sale finds into these stylish glass lamps with drum […]