Best Paper Lampshade Books

Best Paper Lampshade Books

Paper and light have been a fascination since the beginning of my career. From folding screens to hot air balloons, lamps and lanterns to kites, there are numerous ways to view paper activated by light. Here’s a round-up of a few books I’ve collected over the years.

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Some of these books were written awhile ago, but they still have great content! Others are out of print (including my own, see below) but you can still find used copies. Let me know if you have a favorite book about paper and light, and I’ll consider adding it to this list.

The Lamp Shade Book

Dawn Cusick, 1996
I think this is the first book I discovered on this topic. It’s a comprehensive how-to book that covers the parts of a lamp, ideas for pairing bases and shades, and 80 traditional and innovative projects to create exciting lighting effects, many of them featuring paper.


Katrin Cargill, 1996
I love the design of this book with it’s spiral binding and fold-out pages featuring how-to instructions beneath the flaps. The book covers all sorts of fabric shades, some of which could be adapted to paper. It is especially helpful in showing how to make patterns to fit fabric to various lampshade frames.

Making Japanese-Style Lamps & Lanterns

Edward R. Turner, 2002
The projects in this book require some woodworking skills. I’ve never made any of the lamps, but the images within the pages are full of inspiration. This book has instructions for assembling hanging, floor and table lamps as well as details about wiring lamps, and connecting switches and plugs.

1000 Lights

Edited by Charlotte & Peter Fiell
You might call this a lamp design dictionary. Filled with lighting designs from 1878 – 1959 (the title page features Isamu Noguchi’s Akari lights, which are paper), this book has a nice introduction about the evolution of artificial light. The text appears in German and English, and the full-color images are sure to inspire.

Paper Illuminated

Helen Hiebert, 2001
In this book, yours truly shows you how to use paper to craft textured lampshades, patterned window treatments, and stenciled room dividers that gently diffuse light and fill your home with a stylish warmth. Discover techniques to make your paper more interesting, including piercing, layering, and crayon batiking. Be inspired to explore the endlessly exciting possibilities of mixing paper and light.

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