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Getting started is often the hardest part.  This tip gives you the information
to select the shape you will use, developing a design and preparing the
lamp mold to take the design.

Select the form upon which it will be constructed
Using full forms (360 degrees) rather than sectional forms is easier for the
first time.  But sectional forms are useful too. Styrofoam forms are very easy
(and less messy) to construct the lampshade upon by using pins rather
than softened bees wax. It is possible to create your own form by cutting styrofoam with a hot wire or making one from paper maché or other moldable material.

Select the subject matter for the lampshade
The design can be wholly original or based on a drawing or photograph. Normally there are repeats in the design, so repetition is acceptable.

Create your pattern, or major pieces of it, on a sheet of paper
Create the design on a computer or flat paper. For lampshades you don't have to create the whole design, just key elements. Draw the elements the exact size you will need for the lampshade. Try them out against the form for scale. Try to keep design elements as vertical as possible, as the 3-D nature of a lampshade makes large horizontal pieces difficult to manage.

Create a removable template on the form
The next step, creating a removable template on the form, is based on Joe Porcelli's excellent book, The Lampmaking Handbook (The Glass Press, 1991, ISBN 0-9629053-6-4). To create a removable template, start by covering the form with strips of masking tape. Run the tape vertically, starting at the top and laying the masking tape strip down all the way to the bottom of the form. Do this all around the form, making sure you overlap the masking tape so that no part of the form is showing. This is the key to later removing the template off the form without rips or tears.

Select an end cap and trace around it on the template
Now take the end cap, set it on top of the masking-taped form, and trace around it, using a Sharpie or other ink marker. This establishes the upper end of the lampshade pattern. If the bottom of your lampshade is to be even, draw the bottom circle. It is possible for the lampshade edge to be free form.

Based on work by Christie A. Wood, Art Glass Ensembles

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   lampshade construction - part 1