Friday, November 5, 2010

How to Cover a Lampshade

Late Wednesday night I decided to tackle a project that I had been waiting to try.  A few months back, I had read Janell's (Isabella & Max Rooms) tutorial on how to recover a lampshade and had purchased fabric for the lamps in my living room and bedroom to give it a go myself.  So, Wednesday night, in between making dinner and an angel food cake (random, I know), I also for some reason thought I might as well start on the lamp shades in my living room!  Well, I'm super happy I did because the result is fabulous.  I'll give you a step by step on how it was done.  It really isn't too intense and it makes a huge difference in the room.

First, I started out with a set of lamps.

They have a great base and all they needed was some color on the shade.

Next, I laid out my fabric to measure the cut for the shade.

I selected this graphic print for a perfect accent in my living room.

Then I placed the shade on the section of fabric that I wanted to be on the front of the shade and started cutting the fabric.

As you can see, with a tapered shade the cut is going to be curved at each end.  To accomplish this, place the shade in the middle of the fabric and roll to one side, slowly cutting two inches from the bottom of the shade.  Then repeat this for the other side and on the top.

Next, I turned the fabric over, placed my shade in the middle of the fabric and wrapped it tightly around the shade.  I trimmed one end down to ensure it met up with the seam of the shade and then applied a light line of fabric glue down that seam and pressed the fabric into place.  I put a few pieces of tape there to hold it in place as the glue was drying.

Again, I pulled tightly, this time on the side that was not glued down.  This is important because otherwise your fabric will be loose around the shade.  Use a big piece of tape to hold it into place.

Next, I used a fabric pencil to mark where the fabric hit the top of the shade and the bottom of the shade.  I just folded the fabric over and used the edge of the shade to steady my hand.

Can you see the faint blue line?

Then, I trimmed the fabric down very close to the pencil marking, leaving about one-half inch of fabric above and below the shade.

After the fabric was trimmed down, I tucked that half inch under, so the fabric now perfectly covered the shade.

Next, I applied a light line of glue around the rim of the shade on the top and bottom and pressed the fabric down as I went.

 I also applied a few pieces of tape to ensure the fabric would attach to the shade.

Now, we are almost done!  I then glued down the end that was being held in place by the big piece of tape.  I first applied glue to the end of the fabric using a paint brush to ensure a thin application.

Then turned that section over to create a seam.

 Next, I applied a coat of fabric glue to the new seam using the paint brush and pressed the seam down.

After letting the shade dry for a few minutes, I removed the tape from the top and bottom and tried out my new shade.

It's fitting that Keller is in this photo because he watched me for hours during this project, probably thinking he has a crazy mom!  But I'm so happy with the result!

I'm going to do the shades in the bedroom soon and will be adding trim to those, so I will report on that when it happens.

Also, a big thanks to Peter for taking the photos for this tutorial when I need both hands on the shade and couldn't hold the camera.

So, what do you think?



  1. I love this! I'm going to try this in my home!

  2. Thanks for the shout out! I love what you did, the color of the pattern picks up on the green in the artwork between the lamps and I like how you have placed a console table behind the sofa. It really works. I was very curious to see how you did following my tutorial, and love your result! Lucky you to have help with taking the photos, I had to result to taking photos with one hand, and the left on at that!


  3. the shades look amazing! thanks for the share.

  4. WOW! They look incredible!!!

  5. Not to mention the tutorial was super easy to follow. I just wish I had enough creativity and patience for a project like this. It is such a great way to dress up boring shades with a bit of time and seemingly very little cost. Great job!