DIY Lampshade Makeover Under $15

When I first moved out of my parents’ house, I inherited a bunch of household items, many of which I’m still using today. Among those items was this lamp:


Although it served me well for years, it’s safe to say it’s out of style at this point. That being said, it still functions perfectly, so, rather than get rid of it, I’m giving it a facelift! You might be surprised at how easy and inexpensive it is to DIY a fresh, new lampshade cover.

You will need:

  • An old lampshade
  • 1 yard of fabric
  • Spray adhesive
  • Sharp scissors
  • Pen or pencil

Strip it Down

The first step is to carefully remove the existing lampshade cover. The cover came away from the frame super easily in my case. Then, just pick off or wipe away any glue residue.

Prep Your Fabric

Depending on the material you’re using, you may want to iron it first. The material I’m using is a cotton/polyester blend (it’s actually a shower curtain) and patterned. It tends to show a few wrinkles, but I’m okay with that because it adds to the “shabby chic” feel. Lay your fabric face down on your work surface and smooth it out.

If your fabric is patterned, you’ll want to consider what it will look like when wrapped around the lampshade. For drum lampshades, it doesn’t matter so much. With a bell lampshade, you’ll want to position the fabric so that it lays across the lampshade in the direction you want.

Measure the Cover

Place the seam of the lampshade along the edge of your fabric and mark where it begins.

This is where you might need some coordination and/or an extra set of hands. Roll the lampshade along the fabric, tracing along the bottom, until the shade is seam side down again. Now roll it back to its starting position and do the same thing for the top of the lampshade, tracing as you go. It’s important to allow for about an inch of excess fabric on each edge because you’ll need to fold it over the shade.

Once you’ve finished tracing, cut out your pattern. You should end up with a semi-circle if yours is a bell lampshade.

Get Tacky

I used a spray adhesive because I wanted a very light, even coat of glue. I picked up the LePage Multi-Purpose adhesive from Michaels. What I like about this adhesive is that you have a minute or two before it sets to re-position the fabric. It also doesn’t include a fabric stiffener like some other spray adhesives, which you don’t necessarily want for a lampshade cover.

If the temperature was mild enough, I would have done this step outside. Instead, I just covered my work surface completely with newspaper. Apply a thin, even coat of the spray adhesive, making sure to spray right to the edges of the fabric. Then, line up the seam of the lampshade with the edge and roll the shade across the fabric slowly, smoothing and positioning as you go. The most important part is to line up the edges properly. You can smooth out air bubbles with your fingers after the fabric is on the shade.

Finishing Touches

Remember that inch or so of excess fabric you left on all sides? Fold that over the edge of the shade and make sure it’s well adhered to the shade. For me, by the time I was ready to deal with the excess on the edges, the adhesive had dried. I ended up using craft glue to stick the rogue edges down.

An optional step is to fold over the exposed raw edge to create the look of a finished seam.

And you’re done! I let mine dry for a couple of hours before testing it out. I have to say, I love how this one turned out! It fits much better with my decor, and I like how the lighter colour lets more light through.

I know what you’re thinking…it doesn’t match the base anymore. Part 2 will be to paint the base a coordinating colour, so stay tuned!

Budget Breakdown

The beauty of upcycling housewares is that they can often be done on the cheap. Obviously I used a previously loved lampshade, and the scissors and pen I already had at home. The fabric was thrifted for $4.99. The most expensive supply was the spray adhesive at $9.99…however, I used a 55% off coupon at Michaels, bringing the cost down to $4.49 before taxes.

Hindsight is 20/20

About 24 hours after finishing the project, I noticed that the folded over edges that were glued with the spray had started to come away from the lampshade. I was able to fix it with the craft glue, but this tells me I probably chose the wrong adhesive. Next time I would pick up a heavy duty spray adhesive rather than a multi-purpose.

I hope you enjoyed this little lampshade makeover and that it inspired you to upcycle something of your own!

🙂 Jessica

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