4 Creative Ways to Do a Lampshade Makeover

Why live with a dull-looking lampshade when you can so easily make it more exciting through DIY magic?

By Elizabeth Arnold | Updated Nov 13, 2013 9:05 PM

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DIY Lampshades

Photo: abeautifulmess.com

If there is a room in your house suffering from the presence of an ugly old lampshade, take heart: You can transform that eyesore into a boutique-inspired beauty without having to spend loads of time or tons of dough.

Related: Trending Now: Pendant Lighting

Whether you’ve owned the lampshade for ten years or ten minutes—after all, thrift stores and yard sales so often sell vintage shades—the first step is to strip away unwanted fabric until you have a “blank canvas,” so to speak. Or start fresh with an inexpensive paper shade from your local home improvement center.

Then it’s time to get creative with things like paint, ribbon, and miscellaneous ornaments (e.g., sea glass or antique buttons). Don’t let your sense of style linger in the dark; bring your personality to light with one of these crafty DIY lampshades!



DIY Lampshades - Fabric Covered

Janell Beals Fabric-Covered Lampshade. Photo: hgtv.com

To give your lampshade a touch of class, cover it with paper or fabric in a toile pattern or a delicate floral print. Simply cut the material to fit, smooth it out, then adhere it to the surface of your shade with a strong and flexible adhesive (I recommend E-6000 craft glue). Trim the excess material, folding the edges over the top and bottom. (Apply trim or ribbon to conceal the edges, if you choose.) Short on time? Save yourself a step by using self-stick masking paper or wallpaper.



DIY Lampshades - Painted Stripes

Painted Lampshade. Photo: lowes.com

Express your inner artist by painting the lampshade. Use spray paint for a one-tone look or combine a brush, tape, sponge and stencils to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. The design shown above was achieved with only a one-inch foam brush, painter’s tape, and two selections of Valspar Signature paint. If you have a fabric medium, opt for acrylic, diluted latex, or specialized fabric paint. Interested in stenciling? Look for a pattern that complements your decorating scheme.



decorated lamp shade

Photo: chicaandjo.com

Take a cue from Chica and Jo and glamorize your plain-Jane lampshade with eye-catching embellishments, such as flower appliques and feather trim. This whimsical approach works especially well in the casual context of a girl’s bedroom, but with a little hot glue and imagination, the possibilities are truly endless. Avoid burning your fingers with the hot glue by utilizing tweezers to set small items in place. Or skip the glue altogether in favor of vinyl-coated die-cut stickers.



DIY Lampshades - No Sew Ribbon Wrapped

No-Sew Ribbon-Wrapped Lampshade. Photo: Midwest Living

Achieve a designer look—but skip the designer price tag—with a chic ribbon-wrapped lampshade like this one from Midwest Living. Start by attaching the loose end of an eight-yard spool of ribbon to the top, inside portion of the shade. Tightly wrap the ribbon lengthwise around the shade, overlapping the edges as you go in order to create a pleated effect. Complete the project by affixing the opposite end of the ribbon to the inside of the shade (use fabric tape or a spot of glue). Want to take this approach to another level? Crisscross ribbons of different colors into a lively basket-weave pattern.