April 5, 2012

DIY-ish Lampshade

Hey loves!  So here I am with a lampshade tutorial-ish.  I keep saying "-ish" basically because this isn't a seamless tutorial.  I wish it was {oh how I wish it was}, but it's not.  I'm just showing you how I was able to cover my shades.  There are plenty of good tutorials out there, but a lot of them are for drum shades that are even all the way around.  Mine...not so much.

Full Disclosure:
This was not easy or quick for me.  The first shade was not a fun process, and I waited two weeks before I attempted the second shade.  Sorry to be the Debbie Downer, but I gotta keep it real.

Aren't you ready to recover a lampshade now?!  Ha ha
On a positive note, I really am SO happy with the end result.  They were a pain in my booty {yes, my Mom reads this blog}, but I'm glad I stuck it out and saved over $300.  {Yup, you read that right.}

Here is what I used:
Two lampshades {15x17x13} = $15 each
Pair of very sharp scissors
Fabric = $5 / yard
Fabric glue {I had my own, but it's about $3}
Pencil {but you should probably invest in one of those cool fabric pens that disappears.}
Two finials = $3 each
TOTAL = $41 { $20.50 each sounds better though}
{versus $350}

1} Start by laying out your fabric and decide what you want to be the front of the shade.  Also, once you find the front wrap the fabric around the shade to make sure you have enough to go all the way around.

2} Flip the fabric over so you can make marks. {Don't worry, you can still see through to your print.}
3} Find the back of the shade and lay it face down on the fabric

4} Mark the fabric at the bottom and top of the shade with the pencil. {No, I'm not left handed, and yes, it felt really awkward to hold the pencil that way for the camera.}

5} Measure about 2 inches up/down from your pencil marks to make your cut. 

 6}Then I loosely wrapped my fabric back around the shade and tucked it under / folded it over to get a good visual of how it would look and if my positioning was right.  Ya know, before I spent all nap time trying to cover a single lampshade and it not work right. 

7} Ok, good, it works.  Now, iron that baby out!  Your lampshade will not look crisp and tight if you don't iron the fabric.

8} Find the center of the shade again, by finding the back of the shade.  Fold the top part of the fabric over the rim, get all lined up and go for it!

9} Cover {and I mean cover} the rim of the lampshade with fabric glue.

10} Tape each section once you have it in place.  Fabric glue takes a while to set which is good because it's easier to work with.  I liked using clear tape because I kept the tape on for 24 hours and didn't have to look at bright green/blue tape on my pretty new shades.

11}  Continue gluing and taping all around the top of the lamp shade. 

12} Here is where it gets a little wonky.  And another reason I told you to wrap the fabric around the lamp shade two separate times to make sure it worked.  If you are recovering drum shade where the top and bottom rim are the same size, don't worry about this.  If your's are different, like mine {13" vs. 15"}, then the fabric on the back side of the shade will be at a slight slant.  For those of you that are OCD, you might want to find another tutorial now...sorry.  I still think they look good though.

13} Pull the fabric down tight and smooth, then trim off the excess fabric from the bottom.  Leave only about an inch of fabric to work with.

14} Again starting in the front / middle, start tucking the extra fabric up under. 

*Leave the fabric the tiniest bit longer than the shade itself.  It just looks better.

15} Once you get the fabric all turned under, go around the whole shade with the iron to flatten the fold.  Again, clean lines, people!

16} Repeat steps 9, 10, & 11.

17} Where the fabric meets in the back, fold the top under for another clean seam.  Iron and repeat steps 9, 10, & 11. 

18} Admire your work!

Go ahead and put that bad boy on the lamp, tape and all! 

You like?!
I'm sure I didn't make sense in some of these instructions.  Questions? 


  1. This might not be a traditional tutorial, but it was much more entertaining! You're hilarious. The finished product is amazing. When did you take the tape off?

    1. Thanks, Maury! I left it on for about 24 hours, just to make sure. I'm pretty sure you could take it off after 12 though.

  2. I have to comment every time I see this lamp because I think it's amazing! Where did you find the awesome fabric for only $5/yard?!?!

    1. I'll never tell...ok Hancock's remnant table

  3. The fabric is so pretty and it looks amazing!

  4. Seriously this is beautiful. Your tutorial was very thorough. Going to pin this, if that's okay! Thanks for sharing- New follower :)

    1. Thanks and thanks for pinning it! So glad you're here!

  5. Jessamie, I am so trying this! That fabric is gorgeous.

  6. Hi, I'm new to your lovely blog, I saw your lampshade tutorial on craftzine.com. I made a patchwork lampshade earlier in the year and afterwards went and bought every secondhand lampshade I could find! - ready to recycle them into wonderful patchwork creations. However I haven't touched them since as the method I used was ok but I'm always open to new ways of doing things especially if it makes things a bit easier. I'll let you know how it goes.
    My patchwork lampshade can be seen on my post here:
    Maggie xx

  7. Love your new lampshade! How gorgeous is that navy ikat fabric with you brass table lamp base?! You did a great job, thanks for the wonderful tutorial. Now you got me thinking about recovering a lampshade. I am saving this one for future reference.

    Have a lovely weekend, Jessamie!



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