DIY Rattan Style Lamp Upcycle

One of my favourite decor styles to DIY is using natural elements and fibres like wood, raffia and clay. I’m so glad these elements are in major style lately, with decor following the rattan trend, coastal elements and even a little bit of tribal designs.

I’ve seen a few styles of rattan light fixtures and shades on offer in decor stores, however I’m yet to find one under $150 – which is where DIY comes in! I’ve had this idea to create a more rattan or bamboo look shade, with a plain base for a while and I’ve finally got around to figuring it out!

Here’s some styles that inspired this design:

Rattan lamp inspiration | Dossier Blog

Images:  Top Right / Bottom Right / Bottom Left

I’m happy to report that this is quite a simple project that just requires a few different steps and a bit of maths (although you can skip the maths and just estimate if you like!) Read on for how to make a DIY rattan style lamp.

The before - can you believe this transformation? | Dossier Blog
Upcycle an old lamp to a rattan, boho style timber shade | Dossier Blog

The before & after above – can you believe this transformation?! What an upcycle!!

Make this rattan style lamp for under $40! | Dossier Blog

You will Need:

An old lamp or drum-style lampshade
Thin timber dowels
Hot glue
Wood Stain & Spray paint (optional)
Cutters, scissors and sandpaper

Materials for this DIY lamp upcycle | Dossier Blog

How many dowels you need will depend on the thickness you choose as well as the circumference of your lamp shade. Taking into account the small gap between each dowel, too. If you don’t want to do the maths straight up, you could buy half a dozen lengths of dowel and see how you go. But I’ll explain how I managed to work out how may I’d need:

My dowels were 4mm thickness and the lamp shade has a circumference of 68cm. I estimated I’d use one dowel per 1cm, meaning I’d need 68 pieces to wrap around the shade. The lampshade height was to be around 20cm, so I’d need 68 x 20cm lengths of dowel. This worked out to be close to 14m of dowel, or seven 2m lengths. The dowels are quite inexpensive at just under $3 per length, so to get this amount it cost me between $20-30.

Measure the height of your lampshade (or the height you’d like it to be) and cut the dowels to that length, using a saw or industrial scissors. The dowel is thin enough to cut by hand but a saw would give a slightly neater cut.

If you plan on painting or staining the dowels, now is a good time to do it. I used a light Feast Watson stain in the colour Old Baltic, just to give that colonial style.

Stain the timber dowel to the colour you desire | Dossier Blog

If you’re using an old lamp, remove the shade. You should end up with a top and bottom metal ring. Depending on how the shade was attached, you may need to clean up any sticky glue with a scourer.

Start by hot gluing a few of the dowels evenly around the top and bottom ring to get the drum shape. This is the trickiest part, so you might want to get an extra set of hands to help hold the lamp rings in place.

Once you’ve got around half a dozen glued onto the rings, the shade should be able to stand by itself. Then slowly work your way around the shade, filling it in by glueing each piece to the top and bottom.

Don’t worry too much about any excess hot glue that’s visible – we’ll cover that up next!

Once the dowels are glued on, wrap the raffia around the top and bottom of the shade. This adds a natural, boho vibe and also covers up the glue patches (win-win). I did this by simply looping the raffia over each length of dowel and pulling the end through the shade. Tie the ends off and cut any excess.

Hot glue the dowels onto the shade | Dossier Blog
Wrap the top and bottom of the shade with raffia | Dossier Blog

I also sprayed the base of the lamp white – spray paint is a quick and easy option to cover any old marks or yucky colours.

Reattach the shade to the lamp base – your DIY rattan style lamp is complete!

All up, this project cost me around $40 for the dowels, secondhand lamp and wood stain. The raffia, hot glue and white spray paint where items I already had.

That’s not bad for a lamp shade in a style that retails for hundreds of dollars! I’d love to try a few variations of this lamp style, maybe as a pendant light and maybe a black version. What do you think – would you prefer the wood stain or maybe a more crisp black or white?

Head over to my IGTV to see the video version of this project!

Closeup of the DIY rattan style lamp shade | Dossier Blog
Rattan lamp with the light on | Dossier Blog
Rattan lamp diy with Pilea plant | Dossier Blog
The finished product - DIY lamp upcycle! | Dossier Blog
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11 Comments. Leave new

  • I love this! 💕 I have a shade that is not a perfect drum but it’s close. Do you think it will still work?

    August 1, 2021 2:13 am

    Love this! I bought all the stuff to make lampshades for my two mid century lamp bases, but the hot glue won’t stick to the metal rings. Any idea what else I could use. Super glue has such a long dry time, it didn’t seem to work either.

    • Hey Rhoda, that’s unusual that the hot glue wouldn’t stick. I would maybe see if you can find a different brand/version to use? The benefit of hot glue is that it is quite instant, which makes the process a whole lot easier! The raffia also hides any mess and gives another level of stability too.

  • kernow furniture
    July 12, 2021 7:29 pm

    thanks for sharing lamp designs. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting one for my living room. I really like the ones in the second image actually . thanks again

  • This will be my next project. I cannot find a shade that will fit my mid century lamp purchased at a antique outlet. I will be attending yard sale to find the top for the wire that will attach to my harp. Dowels I have, they were purchased for staking my tomatoes. Purchased at a $ store and have been treated green(a bundle of 20 for $2). I will be painting alternated colors of brown to suit the glass globe of the lamp. You are inspiring, thanks.

  • Thank you Emily – this is so timely!
    I’ve had two “deconstructed” lampshades sitting around for about six months – when I removed the old fabric, they fell apart, and the plastic lining cracked and broke.
    I was considering throwing them away and buying new lampshades, but I really love the size and shape of them.
    This DIY not only looks beautiful, but I can definitely get the supplies, which, living in Mauritius, isn’t always the case!
    So thanks again, from a very happy me!

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