November 11, 2011

Awesome Burlap Lampshade...Basket Weave


    On a recent trip out of town, we spotted a set of basket weave placemats that really got our attention.  As we thought about how we might incorporate the design into one of burlap projects, we decided that the basket weave design would look really great on a drum lampshade....and we think our hunch was right!  We absolutely love the end result on this Burlap Project and we think you will too!

Materials Needed:

- Lamp Shade (we used a drum shade that cost about $10)
- Burlap (yardage depends on the size of shade)
- Spray Adhesive

To get started, you will first want to make a template of your lampshade.  If your shade is new, you can carefully remove the plastic covering and use it for a general guide.  We layed ours down on craft paper and to cut a template leaving a generous amount of clearance on all four sides.  Drum shades appear to be about the same circumference at both the top and bottom, but they usually aren't.   Please note, the "curved" shape of the template is important for the design to work.  You cannot just cut straight even strips as they won't curve well.  Moving on, we then took the template and wrapped it around our shade to get a more accurate look and trimmed it where necessary. 

Next, we used the newly cut template to cut our burlap.  We cut the burlap about four inches wider and longer than our template to give us plenty of room for repositioning when applying to the shade if needed.  Note:  We layed our template on a double layer of burlap and cut two burlap pieces (we will explain why later). 

Optional Step:  We found that by spraying a thin layer of adhesive on the burlap, it helps it to not unravel or fray as much when you are cutting it.  It also helps it not to shift etc... making it easier to cut.  Finally, it also helps when you get to the basket weave step in that it stays in place better as you work with it.  If you do add the adhesive, it is better to wait a few hours before working with it so that it will be less "tacky" and easier to manipulate it.  Also, make sure to spray the adhesive on the SAME SIDE that has the drawn lines.  The reason for this is that the side with the adhesive obviously needs to be the side that "faces" the shade.  Additionally, you will want the side that has the drawn lines to "face" the shade in the case that any of them show after cutting.

Now, you needed to determine how wide you want the strips that are going to be used to create the basket weave.  We decided that we wanted them to be approximately 2" in width.  So, we began by laying out the first burlap piece cut from the template.  Starting at one side, we began marking the strips two inches apart horizontally.  We worked our way across the burlap marking the 2" strips with pins just every few inches.  We allowed both the bottom strip and the top strip to be a bit wider than the 2" allowance just to be safe.  It will also allow  overlap at the top and bottom of the shade for folding if that is your preference.  (This step can be made easier by folding the burlap in half horizontally and then marking the lines on just half of the burlap which we did and will demonstrate on our vertical strips below.  You can then cut through two layers to create the full piece). 

Using a pencil, we marked the cutting lines for the strips by lightly drawing them with a pencil from one pin to the next.  You can't use a ruler for the horizontal strips since it is not a straight cut.  It doesn't have to be perfect, so no worries.

Next, we cut those strips out.  Keep the strips layed out in order to avoid confusion later.

We were then ready to cut our vertical strips of burlap.  Using the second cut of burlap, we folded it in half horizontally (to speed up the process as mentioned above).  We then started at one side of the burlap and begain marking our strips two inches apart across the TOP of the burlap.  Once they were all marked, we did a soft tape measurement across the top.  (it is important to use the soft tape to measure because it allows us to conform to the curve as we measure.

Now, do the same measurement with the soft tape across the bottom of the burlap piece.  It will obviously be wider than the top.  On our shade, the top measurement was 44" so we just evenly spaced our pins 2" apart all the way across.  Because we had our burlap folded, it came out to 11 pins across the top.  It would obviously be 22 pins if it weren't folded.   Our bottom measurement was 49" (49" divided by 2 since the burlap is folded is 24.5")  We then divided the folded measurement of 24.5" by the number of pins at the top (24.5" divided by 11) to determine the spacing for the pins across the bottom.  This measurement was approximately 2.22"  So, we then placed 11 pins across the bottom of the burlap approximately 2.22" apart. Again, this doesn't have to be perfect.  The goal is to have 11 pins evenly spaced across both the top and bottom of the folded burlap which can be used to draw lines for cutting the vertical strips.  Since the bottom circumference is larger than the top circumference, the spacing of the pins for the bottom is wider. (Sorry to be so "wordy".  We just want to make the justification clear.  It really isn't as hard as it might sound).  Then, with the burlap folded horizontally, we began drawing our vertical cut lines marked by the pins using a ruler for a straight edge.  You will have only 1 strip at the fold which will be the center strip on the shade.  As noted previously, the bottom of the strips will be a bit wider than the top with the variation depending on your specific shade size and shape.  (We are including our shade measurements below for reference only.)

Our Shade Measurements:

Height 9.5"
Top circumference 40"
Bottom circumference 45"

Our Burlap Cut Measurements Were:

Height:  9.5" + 4" = 13.5"
Top circumference:  40" + 4" = 44" (22" folded)
Bottom circumference:  45" + 4" = 49"(24.5" folded)

Before cutting the strips, we pinned the two layers together on each "strip section" to keep the strips from shifting while cutting.  We then cut our vertical strips.  Again, leave the strips layed out in order to avoid confusion on the next step. 

Now you are ready to basket weave the strips.  Start with the horizontal strips evenly layed out in order on the table with no space between them.  Determin the approximate center point horizontally (Four us, it would be at the 24.5" mark)  Get the center single vertical strip (the one that was in the fold before you cut them) and begin weaving it throught the horizontal strips at the center point.  Note:  To "basket weave", you simple run the strip over one strip, then under the next, over, under, etc...  Now, just alternate the pattern starting with under, then over etc...  Weave them tightly so that you aren't leaving any gaps for the shade to show through, but not so tight that the burlap strips are not laying flat. 

Important:  You started weaving with the single vertical strip that was cut from the fold.  (Remember I told you to leave the strips laying out in order when you cut them.)  The rest of the strips should be in stacks of two if you folded the burlap to cut it as we did.  So, take stack off 2 strips next to the strip that you just used and weave them one on each side of the one you just did.  If you sprayed the adhesive on the back as  suggested in the optional step above, make sure you place them adhesive side down.  Also, if (for example) the strip was to the left of the strip from the fold when it was cut, make sure it still is on the left of that strip when you weave it.  In other words, you just want to make sure the strips stay in the order they were cut since there is variation in their shapes. 

Now, just continue weaving the strips working from the middle out keeping them in the order they were cut you run out of strips. 

Trim up the strip edges to even them out for ease of application to the shade.

Next, lay it out on the table adhesive side up and find the center (width wise).
Place the lampshade in the center with the seam side of the shade facing up and centered.  Place it so that most of the overlap of the burlap is at the top of the shade leaving only a small amount of overlap at the bottom. Now, gently roll the shade firs in one direction, then the other carefully applying the woven burlap using your hand to smooth it out making sure it doesn't wrinkle, bubble, and is applied straight. 

Once the burlap is applied to the shade and you are satisfied with the placement, carefully trim the burlap where it overlaps at the shade seams.  We allowed extra length in the beginning for safety so we had a good bit of excess.  We wanted a little overlap at the seam for a continous appearance so we actually removed a vertical strip from one side, but let the trimmed horizontal strips just rest underneath the overlap from the other side.  This reduce the "bulk/thickness", but prevented a lot of raw edge from being visible at the seam.  Also, make sure that the strips are lining up as you join the two ends at the seam.

At this point, we inspected the woven burlap for any gaps and loose strings.  We trimmed away any strings that were unappealing and carefully shifted any strips to cover any gaps making sure to not stretch the burlap.


Now, you are ready to trim the top and bottom edges.  To do this, first turn the shade bottom end up and carefully trim the burlap all the way around the edges.  To get a nice even edge, rest the scissors horizontally and flat against the rim as you trim the burlap all the way around.  If instead you prefer to create an overlap and fold the burlap to the inside of the shade, then simply trim it leaving just enough for that purpose.  On our shade, we just chose to trim it even with the rim giving it a clean edge.  (The adhesive also helps the edges to trim cleanly and prevents most fraying).

 Repeat the same trimming process for the top of the shade.

Now your shade should be complete and ready to place on your lamp base. Just a little tidbit about our lamp base.... we picked it up in a thrift store for $6.97. We originally planned to paint it, but like it in its current state with our woven shade. So, maybe we will leave it as it is....who knows!

We assure you, this project is really quite simple to do and once the strips are woven, they are very easy to apply to the shade. If the "wordiness" confused you in anyway and/or you have questions about this or any of our Free DIY Burlap Projects, just email us at

Project Notes:

- The "math" for this project is really not difficult. Just make sure to make a

  template. Then, you really just need to mark and cut strips that get wider at
  the bottom depending on your shade size and shape. The math is simply to
  help you determine how much wider the strips need to be at the bottom.
- Remember to not use your best scissors when cutting burlap. And definitely
  don't use them when using spray adhesive!
- Don't fret if your strips do not look perfectly even. While we did "even" up a
  few of ours before weaving them, at the end, you really can't tell.

Don't forget to stop by Details, pick up your burlap, and get started! You might even get inspired to tackle a few more when you see all the fun fabrics we have available all at super affordable prices! See you soon!

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