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make me pretty – re-cover your own lampshade

June 26, 2011

People – You need to be making your own lampshades! It is super easy, pretty quick and makes such a huge impact. You can have a totally unique lampshade, in whatever fabric you love, in about 30 minutes.

Check it out. First I was going to re-cover this lampshade. This Ikea lamp is in my living room. I love the lamp but the lampshade doesn’t really go with my gray, green, blue color scheme. But I actually really like the lampshade so I decided to use it somewhere else in the house.

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I bought this new lampshade at Target for less than $4 on clearance to go with my living room lamp.

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The first step is to strip the lamp shade of its original fabric. Just find the seam and start slowly pulling. Be careful not to bend the plastic of your shade. (PS – If you buy a beige or white shade, you can skip this step and just put your fabric over the original fabric.)

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Next, I like to make a little pattern for my shade. Unless, you are using a drum shaped shade, I highly recommend this. You will see that the pattern ends up being a kind of half circle because the shade is skinnier at the top. I use one of those rolls of paper you find in the kids art section of Ikea – but you could use an opened up grocery store bag.

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Start your pattern at the seam of the lampshade and roll the shad along the paper as you draw a line on the edge. Then go back and do the other side.

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Next, use your pattern to cut out your fabric. Remember to leave a little extra fabric at the top and the bottom so you have something to fold over the lampshade.

When you are choosing your fabric, think about how much light will show through. You probably don’t want to use a super thick fabric but that is up to you.

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I use to use Super 77 Spray Mount to put the fabric on my shade. This works great but you really don’t want to breath this stuff in and you have to go outside and work super fast – because it dries quickly. Lately, I have been using Mod Podge. Because I use it for everything else and because with Emerson (only 8 months old) around, it’s easier to just stay inside and paint it on. I work on little patches. I wouldn’t try to glue the whole thing down at once.

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To finish the end, I use a thicker craft glue (I love Aleene’s – I have been using this stuff since I was a kid and it is the best!) Fold the end over and glue it and then use the craft glue to attach the finished end to the shade.

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The last step is to fold the top and bottom ends over the wire of the lampshade. You have two options here: 1. You can cut the fabric so there is just enough to fold over so you won’t really see the rough end of the fabric or 2. You can not worry too much about the end of the fabric and just cover it with ribbon or edging when you are done.

So, I did this whole project while juggling my two kids, so I know you can do it too! Get to it and then tell me about it!

Here is my finished project:

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And all lit up!

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5 comments

  1. It looks great! I always wondered how I would get a pattern made without taking the whole thing apart! So clever!

    The dollar store has big rolls of brown and white craft paper too in the wrapping paper section. Love that stuff!


    • oh! good tip about the dollar store. you’re full of good crafty information!


  2. so cute, Karen! Love that fabric! (u-fab, right?)


    • Yes, u-fab! I bought a second yard of fabric there too, for when this one gets too dirty. That gray, ikat looking west elm fabric. Love!


  3. […] is a detailed tutorial – good […]



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