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Beaded Lampshades, by Beth Bulluss (Decorative Beaded Fringe for Lamp Shades) -- A Book Review

Updated on August 3, 2015

Great step-by-step on creating custom beaded silk lampshades

4 stars for Beaded Lampshades, by Beth Bulluss
Beaded Lampshades
Beaded Lampshades

In Beaded Lampshades, author Beth Bulluss offers tips on how to make your own silk lampshades over existing frames, then embellish them using a wide range of bead and fringe types.


When it comes to producing unique, beautiful décor, beading always has an answer. This time, the answer comes in the form of stylish beaded lampshades. Author Beth Bulluss offers in-depth, fully illustrated and step-by-step instructions on how to create your own custom lampshades, then bead them to fit your own unique tastes and décor. The result is something you might spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to acquire from Tiffany or other upscale design outlets.

What will you find in Beaded Lampshades?

This book is divided into 12 easy-to-read parts. They can all be read through quickly, and help give an overall view of what it takes to create a unique beaded lampshade from start to finish. These book sections include:

Lamps as Decorations: a guide to various lamp bases, shade frames, shade coverings and shapes, the various globes (or light bulbs) that can be used and the overall effect of each. Also included are guidelines on how to clean your lamp so that they do not get dust stains or other unsightly soiling.

Beaded Fringes for Lamps: Easy instruction on using ready-made fringe and tassels, as well as how to make your own unique beading pattern for your lampshade.

Materials and Equipment: Suggested quantities and qualities of material, including common substitutes if certain materials are not readily available.

Getting Started: Includes workspace setup tips, how to graph your pattern, and then how to test the pattern with a simple tassel before creating your lampshade. Includes the proper lighting and thread to use.

The Lynden Tassel: How to make the test tassel used in the "Getting Started" section, and things you can use the tassel for when you've completed the test.

Making Beaded Shelves, The Barbara Beaded Shelf Fringe, and The Loris Beaded Shelf Fringe: Simple instructions for making shelf fringes, followed by two easy patterns to use and adapt for your own creations.

The Rose Lampshade, The White Satin and Silver Shower Lamp, and And So, It Is Christmas: Three beautiful lampshade patterns to get you started.

List of Suppliers: As the name implies, a list of suggested suppliers that carry the author's preferred supplies. It is dated and regional, so don't make this the clincher on your purchase decision.

Here's a quick demonstration of making your own basic custom lampshade

How I came to buy Beaded Lampshades, by Beth Bulluss

This is a book that I stumbled across on my endless search to expand my bead horizons. One of the bulk bead suppliers I regularly buy from carries a selection of inspirational bead books, including Beaded Lampshades, by Beth Bulluss. I put the book in my shopping cart along with nine others, but discovered that this put me a little over my budget. Unwilling to give up on any of the books, I looked them up on Amazon Marketplace to see whether or not I could find a better price. I was in luck, one seller had an ex-library copy for cheaper than I could find it anywhere else, and there would be no waiting for delivery of the wholesale order.

The back of the book proclaims that the normal retail value is $14.95 USD; with the help of Marketplace, I found the book for just under $8.00 plus shipping. Regardless of the price, this book is certainly worth adding to the collection for either a bead artist/crafter or someone with an interest in making unique home décor.

Beaded Lampshades: First impressions

Originally, I was looking for books with pattern ideas or various concepts since I am usually able to easily re-create from pictures, and I thought I might be able to garner some new techniques from Beaded Lampshades. On first sight, the book was a little disappointing in this respect. The pictures were all breathtakingly gorgeous, but every one of the lamps used the same relatively simple drop-fringe, and it appeared that I had just bought a book that would teach me one of the first techniques I ever learned. Still, there's no point of having a book if I'm not going to read it to find out what all it has to offer.

The right designer lampshade can liven up any room. A plain, generic lamp can make the entire space seem boring.
The right designer lampshade can liven up any room. A plain, generic lamp can make the entire space seem boring. | Source

My overall opinion on the usefulness of Beaded Lampshades

My disappointment disappeared sometime within the first five pages. The actual beading techniques used are simple, but those techniques are not the primary focus of the book. By way of introduction, Beth Bulluss briefly discusses different lamps she's known in her time, then launches into lampshade shape selection (I never even knew there were so many specifically-named shapes! The author addresses eight shapes in this book), the proper fabric and colors to use (Silk? I'd only ever seen cheap plastic junk from Wal-Mart!), as well as different ways to finish the lampshade to keep the frame hidden, not detract from the fringe, etc.

Next, Bulluss discusses how to uniformly hang the fringe, make sure it hangs straight, and ensure that the pattern remains unbroken all the way around. Bulluss also discusses the importance of using transparent beads, faceted crystals, twisted metallics, and so on -- in other words, beads that are beautiful even without light, but that incorporate the lamp's light to take on a life of their own.

The list of suppliers that are included in this book are all from Australia, so they're not likely to do a lot of good for readers from other countries. However, if you're an Australian interested in purchasing the book, consider this list as an added bonus.

Overall, while this book may not have taught me any new beading techniques, I certainly learned a whole new application of them. I also gleaned some great tips on the proper way to apply them to make completely one-of-a-kind pieces that look like they were made by a distinguished interior designer.By the end of this book, I'm eager to go get my beading desk cleared off so that I can start planning my own lamp.


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      Jacobb9205 2 years ago

      Interesting book review!