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Sheer Lanterns

Midcentury-style lanterns usually have a paper shell. These feature soft linen and plug into a standard electrical outlet, so you can hang them anywhere to layer texture into a room by day and fill it with a warm glow at night.

DIY sheer lanterns hanging craft

Photography: Lennart Weibull

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July/August 2020


These instructions are for a 22-inch-diameter lantern, but you can adjust for any size. To determine the proper width for each of your three linen panels, calculate or measure around your ring to get its circumference, then divide that number by three and add one (for the seam allowance). They should be wide enough that, when draped side-by-side over the lampshade ring, their edges just meet to form a complete cylinder. (For a video tutorial of steps 3 to 7, watch how to wire a lamp.)


For more ideas, scroll through our entire collection of sheer fabric projectslamp and shade projects, and other sewing projects for the home.


  • Measuring tape

  • 2 yards open-weave linen, 58 inches wide (Gray Lines Linen Open-Weave Linen #8064 SKU OW, 58" wide, $12 a yd.,

  • Clothing iron

  • Sewing machine and supplies

  • Cloth-covered wire

  • Silicone tape

  • Wire strippers

  • Socket with shade-supporting ring

  • Screwdriver

  • Strain reliever

  • Washer-top wire lampshade ring, 22-inch diameter (The Lamp Shop Washer-Top Wire Ring with 1/2-inch Recess Fitter, 22" diameter, $8,

  • Plug (Grand Brass Lamp Parts Lighting Components, starting from $1 each,


  1. Cut linen into three 24-inch-wide panels, each 58 inches long, with selvage edges serving as short sides. Fold one long side of one panel under by 1/4 inch; press with iron. Fold under by 1/4 inch again; press, pin, and edge-stitch. Repeat to hem opposite side and long sides of remaining panels.

  2. Fold each panel in half so selvage edges meet. Press at fold to make a sharp crease (this will rest on lampshade ring).

  3. Remove cloth covering three inches from end of wire with scissors, taking care not to cut into rubber sheathing underneath. Wrap the end of the cloth covering with silicone tape, to keep the wires together (it doesn't have adhesive, but sticks to itself when wrapped tightly).

  4. Using strippers, remove 1/2 inch of rubber sheathing from end of wire. Unscrew shade-supporting ring from socket, and remove socket from base. Feed wires through socket base. Tie wires into an underwriter's knot: Form a loop using first wire; then, with second wire, form a loop around the first and pass tail through its loop. Loosen contact screws on socket.

  5. Based on manufacturer's instructions, identify which is hot wire and which is neutral wire. Attach neutral wire to silver screw on socket, and hot wire to brass screw. Pull base of socket upward. Screw on shade-supporting ring.

  6. The strain reliever is a cone-shaped part that fits over the wire to help support the weight of the lampshade. It has two sections, inner and outer; they go on either side of the ring at the center of the lampshade. Unscrew strain reliever to separate the two sections. Thread loose end of wires through large end of inner section, and slide it down wires. Thread wires through ring at center of lampshade, from bottom. Slip outer section of strain reliever down wires until it meets lampshade. Screw the two sections back together.

  7. To attach plug, unscrew the two screws and separate parts. Feed wires through neck of plug. Attach wires to terminal screws.

  8. If one of prongs is larger, attach neutral wire to its corresponding terminal screw, and hot wire to corresponding screw for smaller prong. Slide the two parts of plug to each other; screw together. Screw in lightbulb.

  9. Lay one panel at a time over lampshade ring's rim so crease rests on wire. Secure panels to wire with a few backstitches done by hand, if desired. Hang lantern.

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