August 31, 2021 - Fabric & Sewing

Tropikala Uses Kitenge’s Ankara Fabric to Make African Print Lampshades

Red/yellow/blue peacock African wax print fabric lampshade handmade by Tropikala UK

Last year, we discovered Tropikala, a fantastic small business that makes stylish lampshades using colourful and unique African wax print fabrics.

Tropikala’s handcrafted lampshades are sold worldwide via their online shop, Etsy and Paper Plane, an independent shop showcasing high-quality makers in Bristol, UK, where the company is based.

Tropikala’s aim is to bring life and colour into people’s living spaces. The textiles they use to make their lampshades are sourced from around the world.

Like us, they are proud to support local textile industries and small businesses in Africa through their fabric sourcing. All their homeware crafts are made using 100% authentic, high-quality Ankara fabrics made in Ghana and Nigeria, and their stonewashed linens are from Lithuania.

Learn how you can tell the difference between authentic and counterfeit African wax print fabrics.

Tropikala’s African Print Lampshades Made Using Ankara Fabric from Kitenge

Here is a selection of Tropikala’s brightly coloured lampshades handmade using our authentic African wax print fabrics that are produced in Nigeria using 100% locally grown cotton:


Yellow Pineapple African wax print fabric lampshade by Tropikala


Yellow Pineapple African print fabric lampshade by Tropikala


Yellow pineapple African wax print fabric lampshades handmade by Tropikana using Kitenge Store ankara fabric

Tropikala’s lampshades handmade using Kitenge’s Yellow Pineapple African Print Fabric


Yellow/red/blue peacock African wax print fabric lampshade by Tropikala


Yellow/red/blue peacock African print fabric lampshade by Tropikala


Yellow/Red/Blue Peacock ankara fabric lampshade by Tropikala

A Tropikala African print lampshade handmade using Kitenge’s Yellow/Red/blue Peacock African Print Fabric


Yellow/Cream Shells African wax print fabric lampshade by Tropikala


Yellow/Cream Shells African print fabric lampshade by Tropikala


Yellow/cream African wax print fabric lampshades handcrafted by Tropikala using Kitenge Store ankara fabric

Tropikala lampshades handmade using Kitenge’s Yellow/Cream Shells African Print Fabric

An Interview with The Owner of Tropikala

We thought it would be great to interview the Founder of Tropikala, Ben Melarickas, to learn more about the enterprise he started from the love of African wax print fabrics…

Q1. What inspired you to start your lampshade-making business?

Tropikala began from my love of African fabrics and looking for a creative outlet to balance my 9-5 office job.

I’d hunt high and low for exciting designs and prints – in London, online, and through contacts at a charity I used to volunteer with that work in Northern Ghana.

As my personal collection of fabrics grew, the idea to make lampshades seemed a great way to share my growing treasure trove of textiles, with the aim to bring life and colour into people’s homes.

Q2. What do you love most about African wax print fabrics?

I love how unique wax print fabrics are and their energetic personality. I absolutely love colour and the creativity and artistry in wax print patterns and designs.

Q3. Why is it important to you to source authentic African print fabrics made in Africa?

There are so many imitation and counterfeit textiles out there and I feel it’s really important to support local textiles industries and buy genuine African wax print fabrics.

The quality of the fabric and choice of authentic designs is also super important, and this is another reason I am very conscious of where I source textiles from.

Q4. How long does it take to make each lampshade by hand?

This depends on the size of the lampshade, but on average it takes about 30 minutes to make one lampshade.

Q5. Where do you see Tropikala in 5 years time? Do you have any exciting plans for the future?

I have just launched a new website and am hoping to launch some new products, including fabric plant pots and cushions.

I would love to expand my product range in the future with consciously sourced items that promote and support traditional textile techniques and industries.

Q6. Do you have any advice for people who are looking to start their own creative design business?

The internet opens up so many opportunities to turn an interest into a side hustle and beyond. I can’t rate Etsy highly enough as a platform to start selling your own creative items on and there is a wealth of advice and information to get you started. 

Browse Tropikala’s handmade African print fabric lampshades in their online shop. Take a look!

Discover Kitenge’s Authentic Ankara Fabric Shop


Authentic African wax print fabric designs by Kitenge Store


While you’re here why not visit our authentic African print fabric online store and find inspiration for your next sewing project? Kitenge fabrics are so versatile and can be used to make pretty much anything. Get 10% off your first order when you subscribe to our newsletter.

Learn how to sew with African print fabrics and discover our top tips.

Get Inspiration from Our Range of African Interior Design Ideas

We’ve got lots of great African interior design ideas on our blog to help you get creative and add some color to your homes!



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