Skip to main content

So you're thinking of making your own World Globe Bowl or Lampshade?

World Globe Bowl
So you're thinking of making your own World Globe Bowl or Lampshade? (a series of 3 tutorial posts explaining how to select a World Globe, make a lampshade, and make a bowl).

I've done alright making World Globe Lampshades and Bowls for my business Re-covered Treasures (see my blog and my Etsy store ReCoveredTreasures4U).    But over the years I've received lots of questions about how to make them, so I thought I would share that information.

World Globe Lampshade with crystal trim

So this post will be the beginning of a basic tutorial on how to choose World Globes to make World Globe Lampshades and Bowls,  which I will then do a follow-up posts on how to actually make the lampshades and bowls.

The first question I always get is "where do you find all of your globes?"  

There are a ton of places to find globes:  Garage Sales, Thrift Stores, Friends & Family, Antique Stores, Flea Markets, and School District Surplus Sales just to name a few!

The real question is: How much do you want to spend on your globes and what condition are the globes in?

A hole probably caused by a pen or pencil
Me?  I prefer globes that are as inexpensive as possible...and that often means that their condition is less than perfect (heck, it often means the globes are falling apart or have had some pretty HEAVY abuse). 

What do I mean by heavy abuse?  Well, I mean:  holes, scratches, and dents.  

Or the base may have come off, the globe may be coming apart at the equator (which I LOVE because it's less work for me!). 

Worn spots along the seams
The globe could be covered with dirt, gunk, ink, or paint.  

It could be missing the divination disk (a small metal or plastic disk located on the top of globes), or the equator line could be missing or damaged.  

This half-globe is sadly, beyond saving!
Few of these issues, are a deal-killer for me unless the hole is so big it can't be repaired, the disk has been cut length-wise (which is not really repairable either), or is so heavily dented that the structure of the globe is completely compromised. 

BUT it's worth noting that ANY of these issues happening on one 1/2 of the globe - often leaves the other half still able to be used as a bowl or lampshade!!

So for those feeling industrious, here are a few tips about World Globes and repairing them:

  • World Globes are usually made out of heavy cardboard (similar to chipboard).  Which means they are strong, but not damage-proof, and NOT FIREPROOF!!
  • PLEASE NOTE - you should never use higher than a 60 watt bulb with any paper-based lampshade!  And the bulb should NEVER touch the shade in any way.  There should always be several inches of space between the lampshade and the bulb!
  • Other globe materials include wood or plastic (neither is particularly user-friendly for making globes or bowls).
  • Globes made from cardboard are covered with a thin paper-map-layer which is glossy to repel dirt and water but NOT waterproof!
  • Cleaning should only be done with a damp cloth (and wet the cloth, NOT the globe!)
  • Pencil-holes in globes can usually be pushed-closed from the inside of the globe and then doctored to hide/seal the hole.
  • I usually use acrylic paint to fill or seal small holes and to cover wear-marks on the surface of the globes (you do have to be pretty good at color matching to do this).  *Please note, I never hide repair-work from my customers... I am always honest about any fixing I've done!
  • Dents can often be pushed out once you've gotten into the globe.  But if the integrity of the globe is compromised, it probably can not be saved!
  • Globes are joined together along the equator with a binding-ring of cardboard which is glued on the inside of the globe.  This ring is VERY hard to cut through.  If you're cutting through the equator, it may be easier to just carefully pry the binding-ring off.
  • If you're cutting into the globe along a different latitude line (lines running parallel to the equator, both above and below), then it is easiest to cut with a craft knife or razor-blade knife.  But go slow because the surface is slippery and it's VERY easy to slip and damage the surface of the globe (and it's not easy to hid that damage!), or worse - you could cut yourself pretty badly (yes, I speak from experience!).  I'd suggest making a series of cuts along the latitude line you've chosen to follow... a thin, shallow cut first, then slowly cut deeper using the initial shallow cut as your guide. As you make your repeat cuts, you'll need to gently apply more pressure to the knife in order to get through the cardboard.
  • As I mentioned above, globes are tough!  It will take time and effort to cut open the globe and do a nice job of it.  MAKE SURE YOU USE A SHARP BLADE (you will probably need a new blade for each globe you cut open!).
  • A good craft glue (like Aleenes Tacky Glue) is perfect for fixing small problems inside the globes (for instance, sometimes the cardboard peals up) or for attaching beaded trim to the globes. 
  • Fine sandpaper is great for smoothing cut-edges and removing little bumps and lumps from the inside of the globe.
  • Painting the inside of the globe is harder than it looks.  The cardboard has tons of fine hairs and bumps which are not noticeable until you paint it. You may want to paint it, sand it, and then paint it again if you're looking for a super-smooth finish.
  • Permanent ink marker can probably be removed with a bit of rubbing alcohol (rub gently, you don't want to hurt the finish of the globe!).  You may want to use a q-tip in order to minimize how much surface you're touching!
  • I've had decent luck removing little spots paint by gently scraping (because the globe surface is slick, even dried paint often comes off without much damage).
  • The equator tape is of course, found on the equator and and often has functionality in that it helps to seal the top and bottom halves of the globe together (plus it helps the globe look nice).  The equator tape will have to be removed if you're going to open the globe at the equator.  It must be removed carefully so you don't tear the map-paper covering the globe!! Often on older globes, it is either missing or falling off (the glue often dries up).  I will remove it and then re-apply the equator-tape once the globe has been cut open and cleaned up.  If the globe is missing the equator tape, you can leave the globe as-is (and it usually looks fine) or you can add a thin ribbon in a complimentary color, or you can buy some detail-trim (which comes in a variety of colors - I prefer silver or gold) and glue that to the equator. 

  • The divination disk is a small metal or plastic disk that sits on the very top of the globe.  Most globes have them, but they are easily lost or broken.. it doesn't affect the globe's ability to be a lamp, lampshade, or bowl.  I've not bothered with trying to find an alternative.  I do however, have a few extra divination disks (from other globes) that I save to use with globes that are missing one.
If you think of any other issues or questions, please let me know - I will try and brainstorm solutions for you!

The next post will be about how you go about actually making your own lampshade or lamp.  

Have a great weekend and may the light of Easter shine gently on you and your family!


  1. Your article is very helpful for me. I will follow your instruction. Thank you. Wonderful blog! I never ever read such kind of information that imparted me great knowledge.

  2. Hello! Just came across this article while I was looking for globe equator trim. I have an older globe whose tape has fallen off. Where is it possible to find the 'detail trim' you refer to?

    Thanks so much~~~

    1. Hello Karen. Did you find the equator tape? I am having the exact issue right now, and stumbled across this blog. Can you help?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

So You Want To Make Your Own Vertical Stovepipe Steamer?

I wrote a post on my other blog several years ago, but was just asked to create a new document for the Silk Painters group on Facebook.  So I thought I'd share it here! Making your own Stovepipe Steamer is relatively easy to do and certainly cost effective!  To buy one new (and made specifically for silk paintings) will easily cost you over $1000 bucks.... but making one yourself can cost under $100 (mine was less than $50!). I've had several people ask: Why do you want a Stovepipe Steamer?  Can't you just use a pot and steaming basket on your stove? Both are good questions! Yes you can use a pot and steaming basket on your stove.  But I personally, don't care for the idea of the chemicals/dyes/etc being in my kitchen. They are NOT good eats (to borrow from Alton Brown). Plus if you use a steaming basket in a pot, you have to constantly watch the water levels.  And you don't have a lot of space, which means you're probably only steaming 1 item at a time.

Our Place In This World

Are you like me and have felt that the last year has been filled with incredibly negative and divisive talk around the country?  I have been hearing more and more people talking about feeling alienated, ostracized, or marginalized.    To me, it is heartbreaking to hear that many smaller community groups (such as Elderly, Muslims, LGBTQ, Veterans, Disabled, Mexicans, Youth, etc), all have community members who feel unloved, unwelcome, unwanted, and un-needed!   In response to this rising wave of alienation, I've started the Our Place In This World community art project.  Our Place In This World  seeks to demonstrate the importance, beauty, and impact of each individual (especially those from marginalized or fringe communities), within the overall/larger community.  Everyone should know that they are beautiful, important, and hold a valued place within the larger community.  I've started a separate blog:   to provide