From Hat Box to DIY Lamp Shade

Hey fashionistas!  Don’t keep all your pretty hat boxes hidden on a shelf.  Turn your favorite one into a lamp shade.  The top of a hat box is often the interesting part.  Why not give it more exposure by displaying it on a lamp?  This is a DIY project that can be done in as little as an afternoon.  Find a lamp shade base to match in proportion and style, and you are almost there.

Hat Box Lamp Shade -

Add a little luxury to any room and who knows maybe you’ll feel like you’re shopping on one of those fancy streets.  I would name few, but you would never believe how long the list is!!  Click here:Wikipedia, and have a look for yourself at the top list of shopping streets around the world!!   Did you find one close by?  While you plan your shopping trip, here is a short tutorial on how to DIY a hat box lamp shade.


Hat box

Lamp shade base that matches in proportion and style

Small lamp shade mounting hardware

1 Sheet of either: craft paper, news paper, or wrapping paper

Ruler or straight edge

Power drill

1 large drill bit

1 smaller drill bit

White glue


Hat Box Lamp

hat box lamp shade supplies

Sizing up the Shades

With your favorite hat box in mind, find a lamp base that fits in size and style.  You will also need a smaller size of lamp shade mounting hardware, preferably one with a screw at the top for mounting a shade.

I salvaged both the hat box and lamp shade from my local thrift store.

hat box lamp shade TEST Size

Remove the hat box top and place the bottom of box over lamp shade mounting hardware to make sure you have a good fit.

Tip:  Use a little craft paint to cover the lamp shade hardware and any unsightly labels, for a unified look.

Flip the Lid

Remove box cord handle.  You can either re-tie the handle to one side only, or discard.

Lightly glue the hat box lid to the bottom of the hat box bottom. In other words, the hat box lid should now be on the bottom of the hat box.

Note: Alternatively, if you do not want the hat box design to be upside-down, then cut the bottom portion of your hat box off using a straight edge or razor blade.  To hide the cut edges of the box bottom, consider applying a strip of washi tape around the rim.  Then attach the box top to the top of your hat box.

How to find the center of the circle - hat box

Find the Center

Place the hat box, lid side down, on a piece of craft paper and draw a line around the circumference with pencil.

Cut out paper circle.  Fold paper circle in half, then into a quarter circle.

Lay the quarter circle on the hat box lid and find your center.  Place the quarter piece several times around the box lid to make sure you have dead center.

In this picture, I used an angled ruler as my quarter circle, but the paper circle method is much easier.

By the way, those grimy man hands aren’t mind, I swear!!!

How to find the center of the circle - section like a pizza Just Like Pie

Using your quarter circle, draw lines with a pencil lightly onto the box lid, like a pie with 4 quarter pieces; and then with a ruler draw additional lines to make 8 pie pieces.

With the ruler make 2 or 3 marks along the lines for air vent holes.  Erase the pencil marks once you are done drilling.

drill large hole in center-smaller holes along lines

Drill don’t Slice

Size the drill bit to match the screw on the top of the lamp shade base, and then, using the larger drill bit, drill a hole for the center.

Using the smaller drill bit, drill holes for the air vents.

With your finger push the paper edges back into the holes and then push a pencil tip into the holes to countersink, hiding the rough edges of the card board.

Place the hat box center hole through the screw on the lamp shade hardware.  Done.

DIY Hat Box Lamp


Hat Box Lamp


DIY Hat Box Lamp

A hat box from an expensive boutique or a vintage haberdashery can add charm and elegance to a room.  Displaying that fancy hat box as a lamp shade is just a interesting way to show if off!

Linking up to:

Diy Sunday Showcase

That DIY Party

Throwback Thursday

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17 Responses to From Hat Box to DIY Lamp Shade

  1. Mel June 24, 2013 at 5:16 am #

    Amy that is awesome! So so clever!

  2. Bliss June 24, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    How cute is that!!! Pinned it to my lighting board.


  3. Shanna Gilbert June 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Your best project yet! Love it!

  4. heather f June 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    this is so fun. Do you know, I think Americans need to do as the British do. I want to see more fascinators!!!!

  5. SheilaG @ Plum Doodles June 25, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    Love it! I don’t see many hatboxes around, but when I do, I’ll be grabbing them now. 🙂

  6. samantha @ how to find a man June 26, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    That’s a really nice hat box you started with. I would be so scared if I broke it.
    It must of took guts to operate on it, because I would be so afraid of messing up…

    But the pictures are the proof, I really love the pinstripes, and the stiletto on the top.

    Very sexy!

  7. Danni@SiloHillFarm June 30, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    Coolest lamp evah!! I’m still catching up…but slowly! I love this Amy! It’s so original and amazing. The stiletto heel makes it even more awesome! Great project!

  8. Jennifer @ PinkWhen July 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    OH MY GOSH!! That is so super cute! I would have never thought of that, and I love the stiletto up top and the writing underneath. Very cool! Thanks for linking this up at the DIY Sunday Showcase, PINNED!!

  9. Pat @ Life At Lydias House September 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    What a cute idea! Found you from Throwback Thursday!

    • Amy September 18, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Thank you, Pat 🙂

  10. Toodie September 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    This is a really fun idea and I love how it looks!

    • Amy September 21, 2013 at 5:25 am #

      Thank you for stopping by, Toodie 🙂

  11. Paula@SweetPea September 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    I never would have thought to use a hat box as a lamp shade. What a clever idea!

    Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday!

    • Amy September 21, 2013 at 5:22 am #

      Thank you for stopping by -and- throwing the party!! ~ Amy


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