Friday, August 5, 2011

May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out. (DIY)

You should be hearing that line spoken in the deep, mystical way that only Cate Blanchett can. I've been on a Lord of the Rings kick this week.  (In the past month it's been Harry Potter, Mad Men, and The Kenney's miniseries.) It's quite funny because I don't really even like watching tv usually. But this past month has been crazy and at the end of the day there's nothing better than crawling under the covers and plunging yourself into a completely other world. LOTR is especially nice as it doesn't have cars or basements... grumblegrumblegrumble. Seriously, though, this is a tutorial about how to recover a lamp shade.

I've wanted a nice lamp for the living room for awhile but I haven't found something to match the style of the living room and my budget. So I picked up this lamp at Target for $12 and recovered the shade to match my decor. This was the result.
If YOU want to be all artsy fartsy like me you will need the following: 1 lampshade, enough fabric to cover the lamp shade - I used a remnant I picked up at an upholstery store, fabric glue, a paint brush, and a hot glue gun.
Clearly I suck at tutorials as there is a superfluous roll of paper in there and no hot glue gun.
First, measure the height of the lampshade.  Then the circumference.
My lamp shade is a cylinder, not a cone, so I can take the measurements and cut out a rectangle. If you have a cone shaped lampshade I suggest tracing the lamp shade on paper and making a pattern that way. And hey! You could use that superfluous roll of paper for that!
I added two inches to both the height and circumference measurements when I cut my rectangle of fabric.
Now, pour some glue on your paint brush. JUST KIDDING! As you can see this made a horrible mess. I should have foreseen this but I didn't because I was trying to hurry and do this project before Gideon woke up from his nap. As soon I started pouring I knew it was a bad idea, but since I was holding a bottle of glue in one hand and a camera in the other the crisis could not be averted and this disaster happened.
So instead, pour some glue on the lampshade (start at the seam) and spread it around with the paint brush and then start securing the fabric to the lamp shade.
I worked my way around the lamp shade, pouring glue, smearing with brush, pressing fabric to the shade.
When you get back to the seam fold the end under.
Then I got out my trusty $2 hot glue gun and re enforced the seam. Nothing is tackier than having your lampshade drop its clothes during a party.
Trim down the access fabric to between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch.
Then fold to the inside and start hot gluing.
All finished! If you used a bold fabric or print you might be all done with yours.
But I want to add some trim to mine so I took a fabric pencil and made marks all the way around the lampshade, 2 inches from the top.
And I glued on some lace!
I still thought it was too boring so I added some ribbon too.
Tada! All done! Don't look too closely at the picture or you'll discover that I haven't put a picture in one of those frames yet.

And there you have it, my trusting living room lamp. I'm going to do one for my bedroom next, then who knows what else! Maybe I'll make the ugliest one I can think of and give it to someone who's getting married as a gag gift. But not tell them it's a gag gift. That would be hilarious. Also, next time I'm using spray adhesive instead fabric glue. The end!


  1. Great lamp refashion! I really love the lace detail. I need to redo one of my lamps. Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. That's pretty neat! Wouldn't that dim the light quite a bit, though, having the cloth layer on top of the existing shade?

  3. @Dan It does dim it slightly, but not any more than a colored or pleated lamp shade would.


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