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Beaded Light Shade DIY

It’s blazing hot and sticky humid in Indiana right now, so here’s a little indoor beaded light shade DIY to keep you (and maybe some older kiddos, too!) inspired and occupied.

SO PRETTY, right?! And the best part is it’s SO EASY. Even the lamp base makeover was quick and painless. I *sort of* documented the lamp base in the quick photo snaps below.

You guys. I cannot handle humidity! Give me the dry desert heat all day–so what if I have to apply lotion constantly. When I walk outside and that heavy hot humid air hits. . .I swear it feels like gravity gets stronger. I feel so weighed down! Yuck.
So yeah–I’ve got a great EASY tutorial that you can do indoors. I’ve been seeing some killer wood-bead chandeliers in the past few years and while there are finally some selling at more realistic price points. . .I can’t help but feel like a savvy person could totally DIY this covetable look.
I’ve even Pinned a couple really legit-looking DIYs! See the end of my post for who inspired me 🙂

I just love the breezy organic vibe of these fixtures! But. . .I’m not sure my patience is at that chandelier level. And I recently acquired a cast-off lamp. So I’ve turned my obsessive wood bead light Pinning into my own Pin with this fairly quick and easy beaded light shade tutorial!

Rope-Wrapped Lamp Base

This dated lamp base gets a quickie makeover with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey, lightened up maybe 75% with Pure white. Thin the paint out with some water to just get a nice soft wash of paint all over that brass. It took maybe 2.5 coats over 40 minutes.

I’m gonna blame that killer Mojito cocktail as the reason I utterly failed to get any action shots of the rope wrapping. But you can see the sisal rope sitting there. Gorilla Glue hot glue in the gun and a tight wrap job with the rope and hey presto! In about an hour I had a “new” lamp base. I recommend doing an allover misting with a matte clear coat.

This lamp is slated for my Firefly Drive house project! If you haven’t yet, check out the post! Since the theme for Firefly Drive is Coastal Farmhouse x Glam, I feel the rope and the wood bead shade are a perfect fit.

Ok! Moving on to that DIY beaded light shade.

It’s way too fun to shred a lampshade. I totally get why some cats are into that. The shade that came with my free lamp was so worn by years of hot bulbs it took very little effort for me to get the fabric and glue residue off. Does anyone else find a skeleton lampshade. . .beautiful? It’s like we’ve all got this industrial art in our homes and we don’t even know it. So cool.
Anyways. My supplies list for this project is so short! And my all-in spend for the beaded light shade is under $40.

-Thin gauge wire: on hand I have and used bright paddle silver wire by Ashland from Michael’s: $2.99
-Needle nose pliers for the wire wrapping
-Wood Beads in different sizes and this will depend on what pattern you decide to string! See below. For this beaded light shade, I bought “natural wood beads unfinished” from various vendors on Amazon.

  • 100Pcs 20mm $7.99
  • 200Pcs 16mm $8.99
  • 200Pcs 14mm $7.99
  • 300Pcs 10mm $6.30

See that snazzy green Rolex notebook? I used it to write down my bead pattern.

My notebook scrawl says

  • 10mm – 5
  • 14mm – 6
  • 16mm – 5
  • 20mm – 4

First Step: Play around and decide on a stringing pattern.

I’m not trying to overthink this DIY so I go with a pretty simple smallest-to-largest pattern. I also don’t want to have a ton of extra beads, so I do my best to estimate 1. how many strands and 2. how many beads per strand before I even order the beads.
I got pretty close! Close enough to be nervous I didn’t have enough, haha.

Step 2: Sort those wood beads

Consider this good protocol for scaling up to the chandelier. Seriously though, having the beads sized and in their own bowls is super helpful.

Step 3: Attach the bead wire to the top metal ring on the lamp shade.

The evening those wood beads are all delivered, Hubby and I pick a movie to watch and I get into a groove of wrapping the bead wire a few times around the top ring, then twisting the wire around itself right under the ring. My pliers have a wire cutter so I just snipped about 2 inches from the base. Yes, that’s a lot. But when I drop the beads on I just drop them over the extra wire piece too. I wrap the beading wire loosely twice around the bottom ring of the shade and snip with about the same extra length.

It takes a good portion of the movie to get all my wires attached to the lampshade. But now all that’s left is beading!

Step 4: String the wooden beads

Ok so try and ignore my rolled-out-of-bed-hair-in-bun-house-dress look and check out how I’m stringing the beads.

I keep the shade on the table while I get the beads strung. Then when I get to the end, I get the shade in my lap to do the same wrap and twist of the wire at the bottom shade ring. I didn’t clip the wire right at the base but you probably could and be fine but I’ve got wire poking people concerns so I just tucked the extra wire through the bottom 2-3 beads.

With my wires already attached and my handy notebook of bead size and quantity per string to guide me, it’s a pretty relaxing hour or so hanging with Mark in his study.

I actually wasn’t planning on doing a tutorial post for this beaded light shade! But Mark took the pics while I was working, and I had taken pics for my own project recording purposes. And I actually had a lot of people interested when I posted progress pics on my Insta Story! So even though I look a mess and I’m in the dark study, not some light and airy room. . .oh you already know. I’ve got way too much going on to STAGE something as simple as a beaded light shade, people!

Last looks with the faceted glass bulb I found on Amazon – don’t you just love the pattern play of light and shadow on the wall?!

beaded light shade and rope-wrapped lamp base DIY

Shoutout to the bloggers who inspired me:

Lauren at her blog Farmhouseish has a DIY beaded chandelier post that is concise and easy to follow. For whenever you–or I –feel ready to take on the DIY Chandelier version, this is a very detailed how-to! I like and utilized the bead size pattern concept for my own little shade version. her spelling out the importance of setting up the beads in individual containers and writing out the pattern is VERY HELPFUL.

Michelle at her blog Our Crafty Mom: I saw her post on creating a Pottery Barn-inspired wood bead lamp and thought “YES I CAN!” After seeing all the more intricate chandelier DIYs, her post made me think about the free lamp I just acquired! And I felt encouraged to start simple.

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