How to Make a Birch Bark Lamp Shade


Native American tribes used birch bark to construct housing and canoes. They learned to take advantage of its flexible, paper-like nature. Much later, woodsmen, campers and even hobbyists with a flair for the natural world took to using the bark to make all kinds of furniture, including lampshades. You too can create a homey, rustic shade for your favorite lamp using this versatile bark.

Step 1

Measure the top and bottom circumference of your base lampshade. Trace an outline on your birch bark that is as tall as the lampshade and with a top and bottom length equal to the circumference of the top and bottom of your base. You should have a trapezoidal shape when you are done.

Step 2

Cut the birch bark along the outline with a pair of scissors.

Step 3

Peel the thin top layer of bark away from the thick bottom ones, being careful not to rip that delicate top layer.

Step 4

Trace a line of craft glue along the top and bottom of the lampshade. Also add a single vertical line of the glue. The location does not matter.

Step 5

Match the edge of the bark with the vertical line of glue and press it down. Wrap the bark around the lamp. Press the remaining edge into the glue, adding more of the craft glue if you have to.

Step 6

Tie the top, middle, and bottom of the bark tightly to the lampshade with twine to keep it from bending away. Let the lampshade dry for an hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Spare lampshade
  • Birch bark
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • Craft glue


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Keywords: make birchbark lampshade, create a birch bark lamp, rustic birch shade

About this Author

Jennifer Meyer received her B.A. in anthropology, specializing in archeology, in 2004 from Beloit College. She then earned her master's in museum studies at Indiana University in 2007 after being awarded a university fellowship. She started writing in 2005, contributing podcast scripts, procedural guides, and exhibit copy to museums in the Indianapolis metro area.

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