How to Recover a Lampshade

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How to Recover a Lampshade

Thrift stores are full of lamps that are just begging for a makeover.

Thrift Store Lampshade Before

I mean, take a look at this vintage lamp that I found at a thrift store a few months ago. I was immediately drawn to the color and the raised bamboo pattern. It just needed the right lampshade to bring it back to life.

So, I bought the lamp, and started looking for a lampshade, but I just wasn’t having any luck. New lampshades cost too much, and all the second-hand shades I came across were dated and dingy and just plain not my style.

But then it hit me: I could cover a lampshade with new fabric to make it my style. And that meant I just had to find a shade with a size and shape that suited my lamp. Much easier.

Lampshade - Before

In fact, once I changed my search criteria, I immediately found this lampshade in my mother-in-law’s garage, which means it was not only the right shape and size, but also free. Bonus.

Vintage Bark Cloth

With my lampshade secured, I headed to my fabric stash to “shop” for fabric. And when I came across this piece of vintage bark cloth, I knew I had my winner. I bought it at the World’s Longest Yard Sale in 2013, and was saving it for the right project. This was it.

If you’ve never recovered a lampshade before, here’s a quick tutorial.

How to Recover a Lampshade

What You’ll Need:

A lampshade
Craft Glue

What You Do:

Clip Fabric to Lampshade

Line your fabric up with the seam of your lampshade, and clip it in place with clothespins. Fold the edge of the fabric in to create a clean edge. Then, fold the top and the bottom of the fabric in, so that it lined up with the top and bottom of the shade.

Wrap Lampshade in Fabric

Wrap the fabric around your lampshade, taking care to keep the fabric tight, and clip it in place. It helps to have an extra set of hands for this step.

Note: If your shade has a steep slope to it, it’ll take a pretty wide piece of fabric to cover your shade. Drum shades require a lot less fabric.

Hold Fabric in Place with Clothespins

Once you’re happy with your coverage, cut off the excess fabric, leaving an inch of extra all the way around.

Glue the fabric down at the seam with craft glue, and allow it to dry. Then, fold the extra fabric in at the top and bottom of your shade to create a neat edge. Use clothespins to hold it in place while you’re working.

Glue the fabric down on one end of the shade, and allow it to dry. Then, flip it over, and glue down the other end. Allow the glue to dry. Then, finish the seam of your lampshade by folding in the end of the fabric, and gluing it down.

Recovered Lampshade

And that’s all there is to it. Your lampshade will look better than new …

Edge of Lampshade

and it’ll even have a clean, professional edge. Pretty spiffy.

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  1. Wow, thanks! I’m an amateur woodworker and make really beautiful lamps out of scrap wood. I can find a lot of lamps at thrift stores for the hardware, but the shades usually leave a lot to be desired. Next time I’m going to try this with one of those shades and an old white satin tablecloth which is torn in several places, but still has sufficient material to re-do several shades.

    1. I think it would probably work, if you used a fabric that isn’t thin/see-through. You may even be able to tear off the pleated fabric, so you’re starting with a smooth surface. One of those two options should work.

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