Tutorial: Recovering a Lampshade

My grandmother likes projects.

I think I get it from her.

She’s constantly redecorating her house, and lately she’s been tired of the red bedroom she has and she has recently opted for a black and white theme. It’s very Parisian.  I also inherited another thing from her — never pay full price for anything, and rarely buy anything you can do yourself. She wanted different lampshades to fit her theme, but refused to buy them. (I don’t blame her. Lampshades can be ridiculous!)

So what do you do? Recover the ones you have!

Lampshade tutorial:
You will need

Lampshades
fabric
newspaper/butcher paper
spray adhesive
trim (if wanted)
scissors

This really is very simple!

Spread out a large piece of butcher paper/newspaper onto your working surface.
Begin slowly rolling your lampshade and tracing it on the paper. I like to begin with any seam the lampshade may have, that way I know where my stopping point is. I began with the top and then did the bottom. That way I knew I was holding it steady.
(It helps to have a friend to help you too!)

Add an inch on all sides of your original tracing. Cut out the paper with the added inch.
Congrats! You’ve made a pattern!

(If you’ve never done that before, super congrats! It’s empowering, isn’t it?)

 Then place your pattern on the “wrong” side of the fabric. Pin, trace, or whatever makes you feel most comfortable and cut out your fabric.

 Tip: if your fabric has a crazy pattern, I would make sure the middle of your pattern is placed where the print will be in the right direction. Your seam will be at the back of the lampshade, and everyone will see the front side. Make sure your words will NOT be upside down! (Unless you want it that way. Who am I to judge?)

This is not the time to worry about wasting fabric.

 Repeat until all your lampshade fabrics have been cut!

Now, go outside or find a workable surface. YOU WILL BE SPRAYING GLUE. Keep that in mind unless you want to stick permanently to your carpet. I suggest outside in a well-ventilated but NOT windy area.

TIP: Lighter fluid (like for the grill) will take glue off your fingers. Immediately. Just don’t light a match right away.

Now here is where I deviated from the instructions on the can of adhesive and any instructions I found online.
Most of the things I read said to spray BOTH surfaces of your project and stick them together.  Holy sticky mess, Batman. I’m not even going to show you our first attempt. It was a miracle the shade didn’t break.

I would begin by spraying a small section on your lampshade and then applying the fabric, making sure that you have your one inch fabric allowance at each side. Have a friend hold the shade for you as you work, section by section.

See? Slow and steady wins the race. Sections are nice.

 After it is attached, cut small sections of the fabric to tuck under. You can also trim your fabric here if you want less overhang.

Then, you glue it on in the same manner as before until you are finished.

Ta DA! You are finished, unless you want to add trim or anything else.  I would not use spray adhesive for that part. I recommend fabric glue. I wouldn’t use hot glue either, unless you want to risk it coming apart when your lamp heats up.

Also, I recommend a softer spraying spray adhesive. My grandmother insisted on using what she already had and we had some issues with the glue coming through the fabric. I like Elmer’s Craft Glue. She used a heavy duty one by 3M. Again, it was a miracle we didn’t destroy the first lampshade!

Now it’s time for me to tackle the shade in B’s room! 🙂

Happy crafting!

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5 thoughts on “Tutorial: Recovering a Lampshade

  1. fall mantle

    […] I was helping my grandmother recover her lampshades, we “lost” B for a few seconds.  What we discovered is that she had wiggled herself in […]

  2. Kristen McKee

    Great tutorial!! I love the fabric ya’ll picked out!!

    1. April McGrew

      Thank you! That’s all my grandma. She gets a theme in her head and she goes nuts!

      You do NOT want to see “the parrot room.” You will not sleep. 😉

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