4 Leg Lamp Spider

by chuck harris
(spingfield ohio)

Hi Sue

Can you tell me how to use a 4 leg spider in a lamp? I can find how to use a cap, but I like to open the top.
Thank you,


Lay the spider across the top of the lampshade so the hole is centered. Mark the legs where they touch the inside edge of the shade.

Take the spider off and bend each leg, at the mark, until it's at the angle of the lampshade. This can be tricky, but it's doable!

Once all 4 legs are bent, slide the spider up to the top of the shade, from the inside, and solder each leg to a seam. Before you solder it in place, make sure it's level.

I've seen some people cut off the legs to the right length and just solder the ends to each seam. I don't feel that this gives enough support, especially with a heavy lampshade, since the spider is all that's holding it up. However, I imagine, with a small shade it would work.

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The Right Size Base for Lamp Shades

by Jill Liberatore

I have acquired various lamp bases that are 8", 18" and 25". I am now looking for patterns to fit these lamps, but am unsure of the size I need. What is the correct method of determining the size for each lamp? Is there a ratio that is commonly used? How I find patterns that will fit the diameter of the provided cap? Many of the patterns simply say to "resize as needed", but I am unsure of the sizes needed.


Sorry about the delay with an answer. I've been trying to find some information for you, but there doesn't seem to be any.

I've never made a shade for a specific base. I always make my shades first, then find a base it looks good on. With different harp sizes and risers you can make most shades fit most bases within reason of course.

What I'd do is find some patterns you like and cut out the basic shape and the number of panels specified using cardboard, not glass. Tape them together and see how they look on your bases. I'm sure there's a more scientific way to figure it out, but I don't know what it is.

If anyone reading this knows a better way to do it please tell us how, in the comments section below.

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crinkly masking tape

Your tutorial on making a lamp shade is excellent. However, I'm not sure what you mean by crinkly masking tape. My instructor always uses electrical tape but I'd like to try this crinkly stuff but I don't know what you mean.


You need masking tape that has the texture of crepe paper. It won't be as crinkly as true crepe paper, but it will have crinkles which allow it to stretch a bit. Don't buy packaging tape which is absolutely smooth...it won't work. 3M makes a variety of crepe paper masking tapes. One of the most popular is the blue painters tape. Most manufacturers of masking tape make the crepe paper variety.

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masking tape for lamps

by Phyllis
(syracuse, NY)

What kind of masking tape are you referring to to use in putting together lamps? What do I look for in the store. I have not heard of crinkly masking tape. Thanks

The same question was asked not long ago. You'll find the answer Here.

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lamp panel angles

by Marie

How do I figure out how big of an angle my lamp panels need?

To be quite honest, I don't know...but I know someone that does. He has built lampshades for many years and has a web site with all sorts of lamp building information Here. Click on "Design Tools" in the left side column to get the information you are looking for.

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Adding Hangers to a SG Light Fixature

by Danny Childs
(Atlanta, GA USA)

I need to add 3 loops to the inside of a Home Depot stained glass fixature, I have a soldering gun and a pen torch with solder tips. What kind of solder do I use I tried general use solder and it would not take. thanks


I wonder if you are trying to solder to a metal that accepts solder, or is it something else that looks like metal.

If it is metal, it might be coated with something that will not let the solder to come in contact with the metal.

Also is your soldering gun a high enough wattage for stained glass work. It should be at least 60 watts and preferably 80 watts.

Are you using flux? Nokorode is a good all purpose flux for stained glass work. Solder will not take without using flux first.

50/50 or 60/40 solid core solder is what you need to be using. Do not use solder with an acid or resin core (which is generally used for electronics work).

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Lamp shade pattern discrepancies

by Henry
(Thunder Bay)

I am getting ready to make a lamp shade and have chosen a pattern from a book. I made a mock-up of the panels (6) from cardboard and taped it together to see how the size would look on my base. The shade needs to be taller so I will add 1 1/2" to the length of each panel to give me almost an extra inch in overall height.

The problem that I discovered is that the pattern calls for a 3" cap but the opening on my mock-up is only 2 1/2" so now I`m concerned about how to correct this problem. Can measurements on patterns be trusted and what is the correct size of the top edge of each panel so that a 3" cap fits correctly ? The pattern has a top edge size of 1 1/4".


First of all no...patterns from books can not be trusted to be accurate. It depends on how they were prepared for printing. If they were photocopied, chances are that they will be off ...usually with one side being longer or shorter than the other...not by much, but enough to make constructing the shade a nightmare. The best way to check this is to copy the pattern on another piece of paper, fold it in half, hold it up to a source of light and see if all of the outside edges line up. If they don't adjust the pattern so they do.

As for making the shade longer, did you think about putting a shorter harp on the lamp base instead? That would bring the shade down lower on the base. It would be a lot easier than altering the pattern.

If you are going to alter the pattern, add extra length from the bottom instead of the top. That way the top opening will remain the same.

As for the vase cap, I don't know the answer to how to measure for the right size, but you could use a smaller size cap (they come in 1/2" increments) or use a spider instead of a vase cap.

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Large lampshade patterns

Could you give me help on finding a stain glass lamp pattern that is 17 inches in length? I have a set of large bedroom lamps and I want to put stain glass shades on them myself, but the largest I can find is12 inches. Does anyone make a 17 inch to19 inch in length not width?
Thank you,
J. J.


Hi JJ,

I don't know of any pattern that long. However here's how you can make your own.

I put a drawing in the image window at the top of your question to illustrate what I'm telling you.

The first one is taken from a pattern in a book that is the diameter of the lampshade that you might want to make, but it is only 12 inches long.

Measure the top and draw the same length line on some paper.

Find the center of that line and draw a vertical line 17 or 19 inches down from it. Now draw a horizontal line along the bottom that is the same length as the bottom line in the pattern you like (make sure the line is centered on the horizontal line). Now draw lines from the top to the bottom, on both sides. You will end up with a basic template of a panel the length you desire.

If it's a simple pattern, you can transfer the pattern to the new size template, or design your own.

There are plenty of pattern books available, or free patterns to choose from.

Google Books is a good place to find stained glass pattern books. Do a search for stained glass lampshade patterns. If you click on a book, you will be able to view much of the content of the book on the next page that opens.

I hope all of this will help you.

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Pattern For Your Lamp

by Bonnie
(Dowagiac MI)

Where can I get the pattern for the lamp shade in your tutorial?


It is my own design and, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't keep the pattern once I built the shade. I seldom make the same thing twice, so I don't keep a lot of used patterns around.

You are welcome to copy it if you want. All of the panels are the same design, just different color flowers.

Right click on the picture, then click on "save picture as". Save it to your photo album or image editing program. Enlarge the flower and print it out. Draw the exact dimensions for the panel and copy the flower to it. You may have to enlarge or decrease the size of the flower until it fits.

I just measured my lamps, and the dimensions:
9 inches on the sides, 5 3/4 inches across the bottom and 1 inch on the top. However, you can make your lamp any size you want as long as you keep the proportions the same.

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Lamp Spider vs. Vase Cap

by Crafty Chris 13
(Lafayette, IN, USA)

Is it possible to use a lamp spider instead of a vase cap on a stained glass lamp shade? If so, are there specific spiders that need to be used? Where can they be purchased?



Yes, for panel lampshades you can use a spider instead of a vase cap. A spider will let more light out through the top of the shade, whereas a vase cap will force the light to come out from the bottom of the shade.

I wouldn't use a spider in a lampshade that is built on a form such as Worden or Odyssey. Those Tiffany style shades need a vase cap to make them look authentic.

You can buy 3 or 4 leg spiders. If your shade has the number of sides that you can divide by 3, use a 3 leg spider, or divide by 4, use a 4 leg spider.

Spiders are available from most stained glass suppliers.

If you are a subscriber to my monthly ezine, Stained Glass Gems, you will find instructions for attaching a spider in Issue 12.

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need clear lampshade

by Susan
(Concord Georgia USA)

Please-where can I buy a clear glass lampshade to make a mosaic lamp???

I'm sure I've seen them in our local lighting store. Have you searched for them on line?

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Making a Form For Stained Glass
Lampshades or Bowls

by Kelly

How can I make a mold that I can use to make unusual shaped bowls or lampshades? I want to be able to do the copper foil method and make bowls (decorative, not functional) and odd shaped lampshades. What do I use to make a mold that I can place the glass on after I have foiled it and how do I hold it in place until I have soldered it together? Thanks for any information or ideas you have. BTW, I love your website and the first thing I am going to try are the flowers. Love them!

Thank you


Hi Kelly,

Get a thick piece of styrofoam and carve it into the shape you want. Cover it with masking tape before you start attaching the glass.

Use a cheap plastic bowl and heat it enough to get the plastic soft, then push it into the shape you want. Cover it with aluminum foil before you start attaching the glass.

Look at molds used for fusing. There are some very unusual shapes. They will be expensive, but since they are made for a kiln, they will hold up to the heat of a soldering iron, making them possible to use over and over.

Look around a dollar store in the housewares area. You'd be surprised at what you can find there.

You can use Tacky Wax (a product used with Odyssey lamp forms)to hold the glass in place. Or use the blue tacky stuff used to hold posters on the wall. That is what I have always used. You can also use double sided tape.

Perhaps someone else reading this will have some other ideas.

Good luck and have fun. It sounds like you're very creative. I once had a student that made lampshades using bowls as molds. She made one shade using old (glass) eyeglass lenses. She made others using random pieces of glass and glass nuggets. Most of the shades had irregular edges. All of them were unique and absolutely delightful.

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types of glass used for lampshades

by sam dixon
(san diego)

Hi Sue,
I would like to know if its OK to mix translucent and opaque opal glasses for a lampshade.I am worried about passing too much light through the glass.


It's okay to use small amounts of translucent glass in a lampshade. Place the glass over a lightbulb to see what it will look like in a lampshade. Some translucent glass has a bright glare with a light bulb behind it. A light box comes in handy for lampshade making. You can lay out all of the different types of glass you will be using and see how it looks together.

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installing a spider in a lamp shade

by John L
(Sebring Fl)

Spider soldered in lampshade

Spider soldered in lampshade

what is the proper way of installing a 3 or 4 arm spider in my lampshade

To use a spider you will:

Get the appropriate spider for your panel lamp. Three legged spiders are used for a shade with 3, 6 or 9 sides. Four legged spiders are used for shades with 4, 8, or 12 sides.

Lay the spider across the top of the shade, making sure the center of the spider in the center of the opening.

Mark each leg of the spider where it touches the inside edge of the lampshade.

Take the spider off and bend each leg down (two pair of pliers work best) on the inside of each mark. If you start to bend on the outside of each mark, the spider will be too wide and won't fit inside the lampshade.

Slide the spider inside the lampshade and determine where you have to bend each leg more or less to make the legs rest along an inside seam (where two panels join). Your ultimate goal is to have the spider all the way to the top of the shade with the legs resting firmly against the inside seams.

Once you have the spider bent properly, you can cut off some of the leg that is bent down. You only need a couple of inches or less depending on the size and weight of the shade. The one in the picture has only about 1/4" sticking down, because the shade is very small and very light weight.

Now you can solder the legs in place. Be careful when you solder them. They take a lot of heat to get to soldering temperature, and if you hold the iron on too long you can break the glass.

If you want, you can tin the legs before you start soldering. They will attach a little easier and minimize the danger of breakage.

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Hanging Lampshade

I have recently been asked to do a 4 panel stained glass lampshade for a friend of mine. She would like it to hang from the ceiling (using chains) - I'm wondering how to go about doing this - I have looked at your tutorial for lampshades (on top of a lamp) and find it fairly straight forward and easy to follow (meaning I have enough experience with glass to do this project...) - I'm curious to know if there is anything I need to watch out for (more support, do I need to wire it (for electrical use), stuff of that nature). Any information you could give would be helpful...I just discovered your site so I haven't 'surfed' it yet (so if the answer is within these pages just send me to it ;]) Thank you in advance for your time, Krystyn


Hi Krystyn,

I'd solder wires on the inside seams so they go from the bottom to the top and far enough up so they will be attached to the vase cap (if that's what you will use). If you use a spider, you won't need the wires.

Make sure you solder a wire around the bottom of the shade, again making sure the 4 wires on the inside attach to the bottom wire. If you're understanding this, you will see that you are making a wire framework that will support the shade.

As for electrical wiring, have a licensed electrician do it. Your local stained glass supplier should have all of the parts necessary for wiring.

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Dome shaped lampshades

by Bill

Hi Sue,
I read your tutorial on lamp shades & it is very helpful. I am trying to construct a 10 sided dome shaped shade. The shade has 6 rows. Each row is 10 identically cut pieces. You tutorial is great for constructing the ist. row. How do I add the next 5 rows. Do I need a mold?



No, you don't need a mold. Foil the first row, tape it and pull it up into shape. Do the same with the next row. Once it's pulled into shape, set it on top of the first row and tape each piece down to the corresponding glass below. Do this with each row. Once it is all taped together you can tack solder the rows in place.

This is where precise cutting is imperitive. If the pieces in any row are too large or too small, the lampshade just will not go together.

Do a lot of measuring before you cut your glass. The width of the bottom edge of each piece of glass in the second row must be exactly the same width as the top edge of each piece of glass in the first row, and so on for each succeding row.

Hopefully this makes sense to you. Pictures are so much easier then words in this type of explanation. If you need more help or a better explanation, please don't hesitate to ask.

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attaching the square lamp cap

Can the cap be attached to the inside of the glass? Or must the glass fit underneath the cap? I was hoping to have a shade just a little larger than that.


If the cap is too small for the top of the lamp, it will be even smaller on the inside. There wouldn't be any contact with the solder lines to be able to attach it.

I'd suggest using a spider. You can get spiders of varying lengths, so you should be able to find one that fits. The spider would be soldered on the inside of the shade.

Get a spider that is long enough to be able to bend down a portion of each leg so you can solder them into the seams between each panel. You don't want one where the tips of the legs just touch each seam. That wouldn't give the shade enough strength, and the spider would eventually pull loose.

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Lamp Shade Instructions Question

Step 7 says to soldier all pieces but not the edges and then wash, what about the copper foil, I thought it couldn't get wet, thank you, Sunny


Hi Sunny,

If you're sure the foil is burnished well, it won't matter if the foil gets wet as long as you don't scrub it or use hot water.

Scrubbing will causes damage by ripping the unsoldered foil and/or pulling the foil away from the glass.

Hot water could lift the unsoldered foil just enough to cause moisture to get under the foil. Once the foil is soldered it will pull away from the glass.

Again, making sure the foil is well burnished is the key to success.

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Table Lantern

by Laurie

How to insert lighting etc. into a table lantern that has 3 sides with a wooden triangle base and 3 bars??? My supply store does not carry any items or patterns.


Hi Laurie,

I have never made a table lantern, but here is where you can get Table Lantern Accessories and books with patterns. I'm assuming that instructions come with the accessory pack.

You can find free patterns for table lanterns here Free Lamp Patterns

There are instructions for making your own table lantern base Here that should help you put it together.

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Worden Lamp Construction

by Dot
(Chalfont, pa)

Making a worden lamp it has a 3 inch cap on top. Do I need a spider or anything else around the top or is the cap enough?


The cap is enough. Make sure you solder it on the inside as well as outside and be sure it attaches to each solder joint around the edges of the lampshade.

I love making lampshades using a Worden form. I hope you're enjoying it as much as I do.

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Stained Glass Lantern Instruction

by Janice
(Alabaster, Alabama)

Can you recommend a good book or web site that will show how to make stained glass lanterns? I have found pattern books on websites, however not an instruction book or CD.

Janice Venable


Hi Janice,

Aanraku Studios has several lantern books available. Perhaps those books would have instructions. If not, you could contact the studio to see if they could provide you with detailed instructions.

Other than that, the best I can do for you is to tell you they are constructed the same way terrariums are constructed. I own a terrarium book that has excellent directions. The first section of the book is titled How To. The title of the book is "Patterns For Terrariums and Planters" by Randy and Judy Wardell. It may no longer be in publication, but you would probably be able to find it used at Amazon.com or at bestbookbuys.com.

I hope this helps you,

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How to Fit a Spider to a Lampshade

by Tish Longland
(Alexandra Australia)

I have been leadlighting for many years and have made lamps but never fitted a spider (for ceiling lamps) I have made a lamp and have tried to bend the metal to run with the solder seams but the soldered tack keeps breaking I have searched the internet but have had no luck with fitting 4 side spider to lamp. (plenty of spider details)
Thank you


This is difficult to answer without pictures, but I'll do my best to describe it to you.

Lay the spider across the top of the lampshade, with the ring centered in the opening. Mark each leg where it touches the inside edge of the opening.

Get two pliers and grasp one of the legs with one plier positioned just above the mark (try to have the plier as close to the mark as possible) and the other one below the mark.

Hold the top plier still and bend with the bottom one. You'll have to approximate the angle at this point.

Repeat with each leg.

Slide the spider inside the shade from the bottom to see how the angles are. At this point it's bend and check until you get the angles right.

Once they're right, slide the spider up inside the lampshade until the ring is at the top and the legs are aligned with and tight against the solder seams.

Solder each leg completely to each seam. You don't just tack it in place, solder it into the seam.

If the legs are very long, you may want to cut them down, before you start bending. Two inches soldered to each seam wouild be sufficient. This is the safest way to use a spider.

Some people cut the legs off so they just touch the inside edge of the lampshade. They are then soldered into place, but there is just one small dab of solder at the end of each leg. Over a period of time the spider could pull loose from the weight of the shade pulling on it. I do not recommend that technique.

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pattern conversion to fan lamp pattern

by Jan B

How can I turn a regular stained glass (small panel or suncatcher) pattern into a fan lamp pattern?


Find a fan lamp pattern. Trace the shape, then trace the suncatcher pattern inside the fan lamp shape. You might need to add cut lines to make all of the pieces cutable. You might also need to resize the pattern to make it the correct size for the fan lamp.

If it's a free form pattern, again find a fan lamp pattern and trace just the bottom portion with the tab that fits into the lamp base. Add that part to you suncatcher pattern. Make sure you don't have a straight line going between the sancatcher pattern and the fan lamp tab. That will be a hinge joint and will pull apart quickly. You'll have to work the pattern into it so a hinge joint doesn't happen.

It will take a bit of work if you're not used to converting patterns into your own style, but it isn't difficult and in the process you'll learn how to make a commercial pattern into your own creation.

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Night Light Clips

by Angela

What is the best way to attach the Night Light clip to the back of the stained glass piece? Can you foil the thin metal and solder to piece or is it best to 'glue' it on?
Thank You


Hi Angela,

To be honest, I have never made a night light, but I just did some research and here's what I found: "The brass night light clip is soldered to the stained glass, and it clips to the night light base."

So, Angela, you can solder brass just like you solder copper and lead. Tin the area on the clip that will be soldered to the glass. Hold it with needle nose pliers since the clip will get very hot very fast. Then hold the clip against the glass and solder in place.

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support for prairie lamp panels

I have assembled 4 panels for a prairie lamp, but they started to buckle when I put them together. How can I strengthen or reinforce/support them?


Here is a web site of a gentleman that makes prarie. He should be able to help you Dale Grundon. Have a look at his "How To Papers".

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Making a Lampshade Pattern

by Diane DeGroff
(North Liberty, IN)

My son went to Purdue University and so his basement or (man cave) is totally divoted to Purdue paraphanallia. I want to make him a floor lamp with a Purdue shade on it but I am not very artistic. I can follow a pattern but to make my own is another thing. Can you help me out and coach me on how to make a lampshade pattern. Thank you.


The easiest way to make your own lampshade pattern is to find a pattern that uses the shape and size you want. Using that shape and size, draw in your design making sure you have enough cut lines to make the pattern "cutting friendly". If the design goes through more than one panel (rather than a repetitive pettern that is the same in each panel), be sure the cut lines flow fron one panel to the next.

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Fanlight design

by Brian French
(Sudbury, Canada)

Is the shape of a fanlight a circle cut in half or is it less than half a circle ?.


It depends on the fanlight. Some are a full half circle some are less. There are no definite rules for the shape of a fan light, other than the space it's going to fit in.

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Harp or Spider

Hi I would like to know what is better to use on a 4 sided large lamp, a spider fitting or a harp. Thanks Jenny


You didn't say how large the lampshade is and if you're hanging it or putting it on a base.

If you're hanging it, use a spider, or even both a spider and a vase cap, depending on how heavy the shade is.

Another alternative is to use 2 vase caps. A smaller one that slides up from the inside and a larger on that is soldered on the top edge of the shade.

For a lamp base, the rule of thumb is: if you're using it as decoration rather than light for reading, use a vase cap. If it's a reading lamps, a spider will give more light. Again, if it is very heavy, use both.

I've never had any problems with vase caps pulling loose and I have made many 22" and 24" diameter shades. The clue is to solder a wire around the top on the inside edge then make sure the vase cap is soildly soldered on to that wire both from the inside as well as the outside. Don't just solder it to the solder joints. Make sure it is completely soldered all the way around.

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Soldering a Spider to a Lampshade

Do you have a video of how to install a spider arm in a lamp shade?


No, no video, but thanks for the suggestion. I will add it to my video list.

For now, you'll have to be happy with the following written instructions:

A 3 armed spider will work on a shade with the number of sides divisible by 3. A 4 armed spider will fit shades with sides divisible by 4.

Place the spider on top of the shade, so the ring is centered. Turn it until all of the arms touch a solder joint.

Mark where each arm touches the inside edge of the glass.

Take it off the shade and mark it again, 1/32" farther out from the first mark.

Cut each arm on that second mark. A hack saw will cut the brass arms.

Slide the spider inside the lampshade as far up as it will go. You want it close to the top, about 1/32" down from the opening. If it's too far down you'll need to remove more from each arm, but if you have marked it correctly it should fit properly.

Remove the spider and tin the ends of each arm. You will need a very hot soldering iron to do this. Be sure not to leave any globs of solder on the very ends of the arms. I use a 120 watt iron for tinning spiders and vase caps.

Flux the seams inside the shade where the arms will touch.

Slide the spider back inside the shade, centering the hole in the spider so it is equal-distant from all sides of the shade.

Leaving the spider in place, but without soldering the it to the lampshade, set the shade on a lamp that has a harp on it. This will show you if the shade hangs straight. If it does, solder all of the arms to the seams they touch. If it isn't straight, adjust the spider so the shade will hang straight.

Take it off the harp and solder one arm in place. Check again for straight hanging. Once you're happy with it, solder all of the arms to the seams they touch. I have found the best way to solder the arms in place is to solder under the place where the arm touches the seam, then over the arms where they touch the seam. That way, the solder flows all around the spider arms, holds them firmly in place and looking neat.

Don't hold the soldering iron in one place for too long. If you do, you'll have run through and end up with a glob of solder on the front side of the lampshade.

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