How to Make a Punched Tin Lamp Shade

What You'll Need
Wire lampshade form
Sheet of tin
Ice Pick
Scissors that will cut thin metal sheets

For those who fancy the light that shines through lamp shades and the highlight from the punched-hole patterns in them, a punched tin lamp will be a worthwhile project for you to pursue. To make this project more do-able, you'll find the tools and materials you'll need for this project at most craft centers or suppliers. For a list of needed supplies and tools, along with instructions for completing one of these projects, check the information below.

Step 1 – Create a Pattern

Create a template you can use to make your lamp shade. Wrap a newspaper page around your lampshade form, mark or cut it to define the shape you'll want to make out of your tin sheet. Spread your tin sheet on a flat surface, then place your paper pattern on top of the tin sheet. Use a pencil to draw a faint line on the tin, using the lines of your pattern as guides.

Step 2 – Cut Your Tin Sheet

This step will be to cut your tin. But before you do, be sure to put on a pair of protective gloves to keep the sharp tin edges from cutting you. Use a pair of metal cutting shears and cut about a 1/2 inch outside the line you've drawn on your tin. This will allow you to bend the tin around the edges of the lamp form to keep it secured to the finished shade form. When the tin sheet has been cut, sand its edges, using a fine-grit sandpaper.

Step 3 - Draw Your Lampshade Pattern

This step will be the most creative. Here, you are to make the design you'll transfer to the lamp shade. To avoid making mistakes in creating you design when you punch the design holes, draw your design first on a piece of paper you can use as a design template. Remember, this design will be what will determine the character of your lampshade. When your design is created as you'd like it to be, use the template to mark your design on the tin sheet you've cut.

Step 4 – Punch Your Pattern Holes

Before laying out your tin sheet for punching holes, spread a buffer of cardboard or newspaper layers on the surface you plan to work on. This buffer will prevent your tin sheet from sliding. Also, it will help create holes large enough for light to show through. Lay your tin sheet on the buffer, design side facing up. With your ice pick and hammer begin punching holes along the pattern lines you've drawn on your tin sheet. The more evenly spaced your punched holes, the more attractive your lamp shade pattern will be. Also be sure the holes are all the same size in diameter.

Step 5 – Form Your Tin Shade Around the Frame

Mold the tin sheet carefully around the lamp frame and bend the edges of the tin around the frame wires, cinching it with pliers to keep it in place. For a more finished appearance, burnish the tin folds.