DIY Bird Cage Lamp Shade


My DIY version of the Graham and Green Bird Cage Shade. Birds sourced from VV Rouleaux.

My DIY version of the Graham and Green Bird Cage Shade. Birds sourced from VV Rouleaux.

If you are reading this post, chances are you've googled 'Graham & Green Bird Shade' after your jaw dropped seeing this quirky, brilliant shade in an interiors magazine or online.  Chances are that your jaw dropped even further when you saw the £375 price tag. For those of you who do not know about this shade feast your eyes on the original design here.

Obviously, as soon as I saw this shade, i wanted it BADLY! It's so original, a massive talking point and I'm a huge sucker for anything with birds on.  But £375 was just far too much for me to part with, especially for a 'shade' that doesn't actually have any functional use as it doesn't actually shade anything! I knew there must be a way to DIY this and so after some research I set about creating my own version. I have to say I have had this in my home now for a few years and visitors love it, more importantly, I love it, and it cost me around £40 in total to make.

I have my bird cage shade in my living room as a reading light. The onyx lamp base was inherited from my husbands grandmother.

I have my bird cage shade in my living room as a reading light. The onyx lamp base was inherited from my husbands grandmother.

To make your own shade, your will need the following:

  • Copper floral mesh with the squares 2.5cm in size and a height of at least 35cm.
  • The skeleton frame of a 40cm wide light shade. You can purchase these on ebay or in craft stores, but it is much easier and cheaper to simply go to Ikea and purchase a really cheap circular shade and remove the paper/fabric drum.
  • Copper spray paint. For a small job like this you would only need a half size tin which can be found in the craft section of DIY stores like Homebase for a fiver.
  • Birds! My birds are from VV Rouleaux in Marylebone. There seems to be a small selection online, but if you live in London and have never visited this shop it is worth the trip. It is a beautiful store for ribbon, trimmings and millinery and I always get inspired to make something new when I visit. If you do not live locally then there seems to be a wide range of birds you can purchase online - simply google 'clip on birds'. Rockett St George currently have some gorgeous ones in stock. Prices for birds tend to range from a couple of pounds to around £10 for something large and intricate. How many birds you use is up to you - you can always add more later on.
  • A lamp base or a ceiling light pendant depending on how you want to use the shade. I used a lamp base so turned the shade upside down to work. If you are using a ceiling pendant you can spray paint a basic white pendant fitting and use some coloured light cable for a budget fitting. If you want to splash out a tiny bit more buy a metallic fitting for £10.
  • Pliers with the functionality to also cut wire - or some separate wire cutters.

Follow these steps to put together your bird cage shade:

  1. Take your shade skeleton and spray paint it copper. Once dry, wrap your floral mesh around the top or the base of the shade skeleton to fit, overlapping at least 2 squares at the join. Cut your wire in a line down the centre of a line of squares.
  2. At the top and bottom of the mesh, cut away the edging so you are left sharp wire spikes.
  3. Take the bottom of the shade frame and bend the exposed wire ends over the frame to create a hook. Secure the wire to the frame with pliers.
  4. Join the mesh up in a perfect circle by also folding over the cut half square wire to the overlapping wire.
  5. Repeat step 3 for the top half of the frame.
  6. Clip on your birds to the frame. If your birds did not come with clips, attach with cut mesh wire, or you could use a strong glue like No More Nails. If you want to create extra areas for your birds to sit, attach in spray painted wire as a 'perch' (using cut wire from a coat hanger is perfect), or you could add a shade carrier like i have.
  7. Add a bulb! As the bulb can be seen a filament bulb is perfect for this design. Filament bulbs can be quite expensive in some stores, but you can get them a lot cheaper on Amazon or Robert Dyas .