How to Make a Photo Lampshade

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Create an illuminating lampshade with vintage 35mm slides. Whether you have old photos from your own childhood or found a box at a thrift store, this DIY is a beautiful way to display a piece of the past.

Use vintage slides to create a lamp shade.
(Angie Diersman)
  • Lampshade
  • 35mm slides
  • 8mm jump rings
  • 10mm jump rings
  • Drill
  • Pliers
  • Utility knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Note: The number of slides you’ll need will depend on the size of your lamp shade. For this project, the shade is 7 inches wide and 55 slides were used.

Supplies to make a 35mm slide lamp shade.
Angie Diersman

Remove the lampshade's outer shell by tearing it off the metal frame. If it’s tough to remove, use a utility knife to carefully cut away. Most shades have two metal pieces -- one cone and one ring. You’ll only need the cone for this project.

The outer shell should easily tear away from the metal frame.
Angie Diersman

Each of the slides, except those that you'll use for the bottom row, will need four holes drilled. Make markings on the slides where you plan to drill. You will need markings at the center point of each side of the frame. For the bottom row, only make marks on the top and sides -- for three holes total. You don't need a hole in the bottom for the bottom row.

Stack slides while measuring to save time.
Angie Diersman

Using a 1/16-inch bit, drill the holes into the slides.

Stack slides and drill holes on each side of the slide.
Angie Diersman

Make rows of slides by connecting them together with 8mm jump rings.

Connect slides with jump ring to create rows.
Angie Diersman

Keep building onto each row of slides until you have a large enough sheet to wrap around the metal lampshade frame. The width and length will vary depending on the size of your shade. Connect the top of the slide sheet to the lamp shade's metal ring using 10mm jump rings.

Connect the slide sheet to the frame with jump rings.
Angie Diersman

Once the slides are attached and hanging from the metal frame, close the gaps by tightening the 8mm jump rings.

Use pliers to connect the last row of slides.
Angie Diersman
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