Easy Beaded Basket Lampshade

4 Materials
1 Day

We wired an ordinary mesh basket with about 800 glass beads. It would be dazzling as a storage container, but we flipped it upside down and are using it as a colorful lampshade.

We wired the open end with three rows of beads …

The other rim was wired with two rows.

We made four stripes up the sides and used a vintage necklace to make some graceful curves. This is not very hard to make, but it does take lots and lots of beads … about 800 more or less … approximately 7mm in size, and transparent so that light will pass through. We used glass, but plastic beads would work just fine.

You'll also need some pliers and some flexible jewelry wire … approximately 22 feet in a color that will match your mesh basket.

We started by counting the holes around the rims of the basket which was approximately 8" x 12". We had 64 holes shaped like diamonds on both top and bottom edges. This was easily divisible by 4, so we chose to make four bead stripes up the sides. You can make any number of stripes … just count your holes and use them to plan your bead pattern. For instance, if you have 60 holes, you could make five stripes … one in every twelfth hole.

Here's how to make a bead stripe from one rim to the other. We used a 20" length of wire, wrapping the end around one rim, through one of the holes, tightening it with the pliers.

Now add beads to the wire! This will go very quickly. When the strand is long enough to reach the other rim, bend the wire over the edge to the inside of the basket.

Use the tail end of the wire to tack the bead strand to the side of the basket, pushing it through the mesh, wrapping between beads, keeping everything snug and making sure you are working in a straight line down the side of the basket.

You'll only need to tack the strand for a 5-6" to hold it nice and snug to the basket. Continue adding strands, as many as you would like up and down the sides of the basket. We made four all together.

This is how we started the bead strands around the rims. We used 23" sections of wire and did half way around the basket at a time. Pass the wire behind a side strand, and anchor it as shown above using pliers to tighten the wire.

Here we go, around and around adding beads. Anchor your wires to the side strands or the mesh, which ever helps your beads lie snug against the mesh.

Our wire was easy to adjust … we re-did three strands as we taught ourselves how to do this! Also, if your wire kinks, smooth it by squeezing it with pliers. If your strand droops a bit, you can kink the wire a little with pliers to tighten it up, or add little bits of wire wrapped to the inside to hold beads strands in place. We tacked the vintage necklace in place to create the curves and trimmed each wire so that there were no sharp ends remaining.

And here it is, unlined, with a flame shaped low-wattage bulb so that this lamp doesn't burn to hot. We think this will also look great over a plain lampshade … whenever we find the perfect match! To see how our home projects are going and for free printables, check out our website here.

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Stephie McCarthy

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • LanieSue
    on Jun 10, 2020

    Wow! I just may try this. Buying shades is so expensive. Question: your photos show gold beading wire and what looks like a light colored basket, but your "you will need" list says to use a black basket. Wouldn't you get more light with a white one? (I've only seen black and white at the Dollar Tree.)

Join the conversation

4 of 36 comments
    on Jun 10, 2020

    very inspired - WOW

  • Maude LaFountain
    on Jun 10, 2020

    I have the baskets and the beads just need to get started on this ....I love it ...and I too will be using it outdoors for a special lighting o my deck / patio ....I love love love it !!!! .....I think i will be using a lot more beads though make it really show some pretty colors ......Thanks for sharing !

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Jun 10, 2020

      I will love a chance to see it, Maude, it will be beautiful outdoors. I like to light mine on special evenings and turn on music to set a mood! -- Stephie

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