Recovering a lampshade


A few years ago I bought a very plain table lamp for our living room. I had every intention of sprucing it up a bit with colour and fabric, but it got put on the back burner once babies and school entered my life! I finished school last week for good (there's a GIANT smile on my face as I type these words!), so it's seems that the time I would normally spend on school work can now be put to more interesting things, like cleaning the bathroom, and oh...refinishing lamps!

I basically left the campus last week after handing in my last assignment and headed directly for the hardware store where I picked up a can of spray paint and came home to tackle the lamp. I also had some fabric and bias tape lying around that I thought would work, and so now, the humdrum lamp is a lot more exciting. Too exciting for the living room in fact, so it's got a new home in the basement play room. The blue seems a bit tamer down there!

If you've never recovered a lampshade (which I hadn't), you can see how I did it below. Turns out it's as easy as screwing in a light bulb! Give it a shot at home. I think you'll be pleased.


The trick to spray paint, I'm learning, is lots of light coats rather than trying to cover the whole area the first time around. If you go too heavy with the paint, you'll see drip marks all over the place.

While the lamp base was drying, I pulled the trim off the shade to make it easier to apply the new fabric. It peeled right off. 

Next thing I did was roll out a template using packing paper. To do this, I just traced the outline made by the shade as I rolled it along the paper. It's never going to be straight (unless you want to pleat your fabric), and doing it with packing paper meant no wasted fabric. Once I cut the original shape with paper, I tested it on the shade to make sure it covered everything, and I confess I had to make adjustments to the template....more than once! The other thing to keep in mind here is whether you're adding trim to the top and bottom. Because I knew I was adding bias tape, I wasn't as concerned about the fabric coming right to the edge of the shade. If you're not adding trim, I would suggest folding the fabric under before glueing it to the shade so you don't see loose threads.

Once my template was right, I lay it out on the fabric and cut.

I was too lazy to get out the glue gun, so I used super glue. A few tiny drops did the trick. I glued where the two ends met, and a few spots along the top and bottom edges to make sure the fabric didn't shift much.

Using super glue again, I glued the bias tape to the top and bottom.


  1. That looks awesome! Congrats on finishing school! So exciting!

    1. Thanks Christina! It's a great feeling to be done. What a relief! Thanks so much for the comment!

  2. Love this post - I have a lampshade I've been meaning to cover forever! Maybe I will finally get around to it now!


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