Wood veneer is normally used to create the appearance of a beautifully grained surface on furniture, but the material is surprisingly versatile. You can even use wood veneer to make a lovely, unusual lampshade.
Martha Stewart Living, February 1996
Trace the outline of a pane of the lampshade onto your sheet of veneer; repeat for the remaining panes. Your lamp will look best if the grain points in the same direction on each pane.
Cut out each pane with a sharp utility knife, guiding your cut with a straightedge like a metal ruler. You may have to run over each edge several times with the knife to achieve a clean cut.
Apply craft glue or permanent tape to the edges of the frame, and mount the veneer cutouts one at a time. You may want to smooth the edges of each pane of veneer with a bone folder.
Apply a line of glue down one side seam of the frame, and press on a 1/4-inch-wide piece of linen bookbinder's tape or trim. Smooth with a bone folder. Repeat on other side seams. Brush glue onto the back of 1/2-inch-wide linen tape or trim, and fold it over the top and bottom edges of the shade.
Metal lampshade frame
Craft glue or permanent tape
1/2-inch linen bookbinder's tape or trim
1/4-inch linen bookbinder's tape or trim
Bristle or sponge brush
Tips: Choose a simple frame with straight edges and flat planes for this project, because veneer doesn't take well to curves. Buy paper-backed veneer rather than raw veneer; it has a uniform surface that allows light through evenly. It also withstands heat better over time. If you are creating a shade for a reading lamp, choose a pale birch veneer that permits a good deal of light to shine through.
Wood veneer can dry out and become brittle, so to be safe, use a bulb of less than 60 watts in your lamp. Make sure the bulb is at least 1 inch away from the shade at all points.