How To Make A DIY Birdcage Lampshade

The Lusting Life - How to make a DIY Birdcage Lampshade

With Mother’s Day nearly here, I’ve been busy behind the scenes coming up with a great, cost-saving DIY tutorial! This year, I’m making my mum a GIDC inspired present. So if you’d like to see how to make one yourself then have a look at my step by step tutorial below. Enjoy!

How To Make A DIY Birdcage Lampshade.

So, like a lot of the UK I spent my evenings in Jan glued to the telly watching a bunch of amateur designers battle it out to win The Great Interior Design Challenge by transforming each room in their own signature, creative styles.

But the real show-stealer moment for me though was Anna Straw’s birdcage lamp, seen below. Kelly & Dan didn’t think much of it, but I thought it was a really fun, creative DIY, plus it looked relatively easy to replicate!

The Mathieu Challières Lamp

So where did Anna get the inspiration for her lamp… Parisian Designer, Mathieu Challières.DemiGrandeHis wonderful, hand crafted lamps feature colourful birds & delicate, copper wire frames. There is no doubt Mathieu Callières’ birdcage lamps are both striking & whimsical in design, as he references both vintage opulence and contemporary styles as his key design influences. The high end versions are definitely stunning…but who honestly has £300+ spare to spend on a lampshade?!

The Lusting Life - How to make a DIY birdcage lampshade. Inspiration, Mathieu Challières birdcage lamp 7

The Rocket St George Volières Bird Cage Lamp

And whilst I adore Rockett St George & their quirky collection of homeware & furniture (seriously I want everything), their Volières Bird Cage Lamp – although beautiful & seriously lust-worthy, is also seriously out of my price range. So instead save yourself some cash and make your own birdcage lamp for around £40.

You’ll need:

  • A wire frame shade. I used this £10 metal wire cage one from Wilko’s.
    (Or you could use wire sheeting to make your own drum shade instead. Check out Peas & Crayons tutorial here.)
  • Twigs, garden cane or cocktail skewers/ chopsticks to make the perches…
    What ever you have – I used these Wilko garden canes but I even considered cutting up a copper wire coat-hanger! They just needs to be the right length to be horizontally placed across your shade.
  • Faux birds. I found it hard to track down cheaper ones online. Rockett St George do amazing faux birds for £10+ a bird or try Ebay for cheaper ones. I opted for a selection of birds from Pipli & a set from Paperchase (similar here & here) instead.
  • All Purpose Glue. This is to attach the perches to the shade. These can be glued, cable-tied or use thin wire or string to attach at each end. Again, use whatever you have to hand.
  • Spray paint – optional. Dependant on what colour you want it/ what shade or frame you use then this is an optional cost/ requirement. I used florescent, acid yellow Rustoleum Spray Paint from Wilko (Spoiler: I changed my mind and re-sprayed mine as the neon yellow was far too bright!)

The Method:

1. Strip your lampshade of any material so you are left with just the wire frame.This stage was a bit of a ball-ache due to the glue that attached the fabric to the frame. If you’re using the Wilko shade too, then cut a hole in the fabric and cut a vertical line up to the top/bottom rims and then along the top ring horizontally – cut/ yank the fabric off from there.

Before: This is what the lampshade looked like before, with its outer wire frame and inner fabric shade structure…plus my faux birds clipped on for decoration!

Screenshot from 2017-03-21 09:35:09

2. Wipe down the shade to remove dust/ glue build-up. Again, if you’re using the same shade as me then you’ll probably need to soak the shade in some washing up liquid to loosen the remaining glue residue. After 10 mins I used course sugar/ a scrubbing brush to scrub off the remaining glue. Effort!

*Note: If anyone has a better method to get tacky glue off then please share in the comments section below. I feel there was a quicker way to do this!

Screenshot from 2017-03-21 09:34:53

3. Cut down your perches to size & secure them to the lampshade.
I played around with where I wanted the bird perches to be by inserting the canes through the shade horizontally. I opted for just a couple due to the depth of the shade/ personal preference, seen above.

I then cut the canes down to size using a pair of pliers & used a blob of glue either end to secure them to the wire shade. You can always decide to add more perches/ birds at a later point if it looks a bit sparse once up!

Screenshot from 2017-03-21 09:34:15
A word of advice, if you opt to spray-paint your shade then do it before gluing your perches in place. I was being indecisive, so glued my sticks in before I decided to spray-paint it. I ended up having to wrap my perches in foil to make sure these remained paint free… a pointless step really if I’d just made up my mind as to what colour I wanted it beforehand!

*Important: Make sure your perches/ birds aren’t going to sit too close to the light bulb… I don’t want anyone setting fire to their beautiful lampshade, homes, etc…*

4. Spray paint your shade in your desired colour.
This step is optional, I was torn between sticking with the brushed, gold, wire shade like the high-end versions or spraying it neon yellow! I opted for the yellow but then decided to re-spray it ‘canary yellow’ as the neon shade was just a little too 90’s neon rave for me!

Screenshot from 2017-03-21 09:33:49
5. Add your birds!
Whilst Mathieu Challières guarantees visual harmony through ‘the staging of the birds – carried out according to a precise plan…’ I just went rogue and plonked ’em on!

6. Hang your shade, stand back & admire!
Get that baby hung up! Then stand back and admire with pride. Have a look what your shade/ birds look like once it’s up & adjust accordingly. Done!

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how my DIY birdcage lampshade turned out. I just hope my mum is as chuffed with it when she opens it on Mother’s Day! Other than choosing a slightly deeper shade and making my mind up on a colour… instead of spray-painting it twice, I feel it was a pretty easy DIY that didn’t take too long to complete.

And for those of you who follow me on Instagram, you will have seen my indecisiveness when it came to spray-painting it! I thank all of you who cast your vote and spurred me on along the way.

I hope you like my finished birdcage lampshade? Whether I’ve inspired you to give it a go yourself or you’ve had a go at making another designer inspired DIY, then let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “How To Make A DIY Birdcage Lampshade

    1. Aw thanks Caitlin, yes I definetly preferred it once I sprayed it canary yellow. The neon yellow was a tad too luminous/green toned in real-life! I think I’m going to have to make myself another one soon as my mum loves hers (this one) so no chance of me getting it back any time soon, hehe! Stay tuned for more bird cage crafts!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will! I am looking at painting a chest of ours yellow, but I am nervous it will be too bright. Love what you did!


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