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recovered lampshade

Ever since I painted an accent wall in our home office/craft room… I’ve been dying to bring in some fun fabrics and accents. Years ago, I bought a set of clip lamps from Pier 1 on super sale. I loved how they clipped onto each end of my futon in my college studio apartment in Seattle. Since moving into our new home, they haven’t quite found a home for themselves yet…and have actually been split up into 2 locations. One of them is clipped on to my sewing table. I was never really fond of the lamp shades, but they were neutral and worked well in my old space. Up against my white table and white bookshelves, the lamp shade was looking pretty blah…

So I decided to spruce it up with some fun fabric.


Here is what you’ll need to make your own fabric covered lamp shade:

a lamp shade [of course]
a piece of fabric big enough to wrap around your shade
a hot glue gun
coordinating ribbon
iron/ironing board

First, I cut my fabric down to the correct size. Really, I just eyeballed it: I wrapped my fabric loosely around my lamp shade and cut off the excess. I squared up all my sides so I had a nice, clean piece to work with. Make sure to leave about 1/2" - 3/4” of fabric extra on the top and the bottom (since you’ll need this to wrap and glue onto the inside of your shade).

I used hot glue because I wanted it to dry fast – but I’m sure normal fabric glue would work just as well. I will say, this was not easy doing on my own so if you can get a second pair of hands to help – do so!

I started by ironing a ½" seem on one of the short ends of my fabric. I knew that once I had wrapped my fabric around the entire shade I would want a nice finished edge to end with (more on that later).

Next, I lined up my fabric and glued the raw edge along the “seam” of the lamp shade. This edge will get covered up when you wrap your fabric around so don’t worry if it’s not the prettiest.

I slowly, and evenly, applied glue to the edge of my lamp shade (I worked in 2” sections because hot glue dries fast). I did a few inches on one end (pulling tight as I went) and then a few inches on the other side until I made it all the way around the shade. 

Once I got to where I started, I glued down my finished edge (the side I had ironed in earlier) to create the seam. Since I was doing this on my own, my fabric got a bit wonky and uneven – oops! – but I can put my seam toward the wall and no one will see it anyway. It also played in my favor that I was using a random patterned fabric. Had I used one with a repeating pattern it would have been more noticeable that my fabric wasn’t quite straight.

To finish off the bottom and top edges, I repeated my gluing technique from before – I worked in 2” sections. I applied a small bead of glue close to the edge of the inside of my shade, pulled my fabric tight, and secured it. I did the entire bottom – then flipped it over and did the same thing to the top. When I got to a little bar, I just cut a small slit and glued my fabric down around it.

Using sharp fabric scissors, I cut off the excess fabric from the interior of the shade. Since I didn’t want to see this raw edge, I glued a piece of ivory ribbon over top where the fabric met the shade. This gave me a nice finished edge and blended in pretty well with the rest of my shade.

Here is how it turned out:

I’m pretty happy with the result. I love the colors against my accent wall and the fun fabric is definitely a lot better than the plain beige shade. Also, the fact that this project was completely free (since I had the fabric on hand), made it a lot more fun!

Next time I do this, I will definitely solicit some help from a friend.

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