How to Recover a Lamp Shade (for cheap!)


Learn how to recover a lamp shade you don’t like on a budget! It’s so easy and simple! No need to buy a new one.

I wanted to share this quick and easy update with you today. I have been wanting to do this for years. Literally. And I don’t know why it took me so long!

How to Easily Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

I registered for this purpley-gray lamp shade when we got married almost 5 years ago. And I never liked it. Ever. I don’t really have anything purple in my house and don’t love the color. But it sat in our living room for a couple of years before I banned it to a closet.

How to Easily Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

I kept thinking I could just cover it in a new fabric, but you know how those little projects just kind of pile up and sit? No, you don’t do that?? It’s just me? Hmm, I need to work on that. {As opposed to half doing projects and then going out and buying supplies to do more projects. Yeah, it’s a sickness.}

I had this lamp sitting on this long table under our gallery wall. LOVED the shade, but not with the lamp base. And it was really too large for the space, in my opinion.

How to Easily Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

So, when I ran across this pretty glass lamp base at Target the other day, I snatched it up for this table. I didn’t buy a lamp shade because I knew that I had one that was the perfect size at home, just waiting to be recovered!

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Supplies You Will Need to Recover a Lampshade

  1. Old lamp shade
  2. Piece of fabric that is larger than the lamp shade
  3. Chalk
  4. Fabric scissors
  5. Hot glue sticks
  6. Hot glue gun
  7. Spray adhesive

How to Recover a Bell Shaped Lamp Shade

1. Choose the New Fabric of Your Choice

You’ll need to have a piece of fabric that is 3-5 inches wider than the height of your lamp shade. If you have a bell lampshade like mine, choose a fabric without a pattern. Otherwise it will be really hard to line it up! If you have a drum shade, it will be easier!

I was excited to finally have a reason to quickly do this project that had been on my list for years. I went through my fabric stash and decided that these two long strips of fabric would work. They were pieces I’d cut off the bottoms of my IKEA curtains in my bedroom. Turning trash into treasure? LOVE it!

How to Easily Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

2. Outline the Shade on the Fabric

Before you cut anything, outline the shade of the shade on the fabric with chalk, about 1 inch away from the shade. This will help you know you have enough fabric before you start.

How to Easily Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

Simply roll the shade along on the fabric and trace a line about an inch away from the bottom and top of the shade with chalk. Make sense?

3. Cut the fabric out

Use your fabric scissors to cut the shape you drew on the fabric and get ride of the excess fabric.

How to Easily Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

4. Glue (or Tape) the Fabric to the Shade

Starting in the middle of the fabric, start glueing the top and bottom of the fabric over the edge of the lamp shade. I used tape in my project, but I wanted it to be a temporary solution. But, if you know you want a more permanent solution, use hot glue or fabric glue.

It also would be helpful to spray the shade or fabric with spray adhesive before you start! This would keep the fabric in place while you glue down the edges.

How to Easily Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

Keep folding the edges of the fabric over the lamp shade and glue (or tape) as you go!

5. Finish the Back with Glue.

Hopefully your fabric will cover the whole shade, unlike mine. Finish the back side seam by folding over the raw edge and glueing the edge with hot glue. Feel free to glue a ribbon over it, if it looks messy.

How to Easily Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

Once everything was taped down, I was pleased to find that I only needed a small triangle on the back to completely cover the lamp shade. So, I just cut a piece, taped it down and done! I kept that side turned to the wall anyway, so it didn’t matter.

6. Embellish the Lamp Shade {optional}

Now, you can embellish it if you’d like! Use ribbon or other craft supplies to make it your own.

How to Cheaply Recover a Lamp Shade #DIY

I found these two leather flowers in my crafts stash and pulled out some faux leaves to finish the look.

Guess what I used to stick them on to the shade? You guessed it … tape, again! LOVE that stuff.

How to Recover a Lamp Shade for cheap

If I ever get sick of the look, I can just take the fabric off and sell the shade. Or recover it with something else.

And I know you may not have your own leftover curtain fabric or leather flowers. But I bet you have something that you can use to pretty up your house.

I’d love to hear your best trash to treasure stories.

Or the most creative way to use leftover fabric? Do tell!!

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  1. I think I’m have the same starting too many crafts at once disorder too…lol. I have two lamps that I’ve been dying to change the shades too. I might have to give tape a try. Thanks for posting.

  2. I love projects like this!!! Tape!!! I would have never guessed. I am going to be looking at my lamp shades with a different eye this morning! Thank you so much for sharing at Redouxinteriors. Sharing at my party today!

  3. Awesome shade redo. Love projects like that. Using tape, perfect, why make a change permanent is you can change it to be changed again? I love that idea. I can’t afford to replace things so much so like to cover them up when an idea hits me. Usually I have something in the house I can use. (we live a few miles from town where I can buy things to fix them up) Seems like by the time I can go buy something I’ve either forgotten about it or have changed my mind. I’m a very spontaneous person. Always enjoy your projects.
    One time in MT (it was winter, slippery roads and more snow on way) so I decided I’d cover my couch with some fabric I’d gotten at Ben Franklin. Didn’t have quite enuf to wrap around cushions so I just used duck tape. Worked like a charm til I wasn’t tired of couch anymore. Quicky slip cover. Hey whatever works huh? Then later I used fabric to make pillow covers. Believe me I didn’t want to have to drive to Helena (32miles) Happy Spring days

  4. Recovering and updating lamps and their shades are one of my most favorite things to do! It’s so simple and can totally change the look!

    I would love for you to share your creativity at my party: Show-Licious Craft & Recipe Party! Join us on Saturday mornings at 8:00 am EST to show off your awesomeness!

    ~ Ashley

  5. How resourceful of you to make your own lampshade instead of buying one!! 🙂
    “hugs” Crystelle

  6. I had the exact same lampshade! It was a bit too formal for me, so I ended up giving it away. Now I wish I hadn’t!

  7. I recently recovered some lamp shades, too. On one I used a map. The only thing with paper is that it is less forgiving than the cloth. I also had a small spot that wasn’t covered and the patchwork job is noticeable. Good thing it sits in a corner! lol I like the flower accents you added. Looks great against that gallery wall.

  8. You posted this at the perfect time! I have a lamp with a shade that I can’t even bare to look at! And now I’m going to change it, with a million thanks to you!! 🙂

  9. I adore this lampshade makeover! I think the yellow leather flowers finish it off perfectly! I have been known to tape stuff instead of glueing/sewing/stapling. As long as it holds, it’s good in my book!!

    1. Thanks Emily! I’ve been hanging on to those just for the perfect project and I’m so glad I finally was able to use them. 🙂 Tape does wonders, I think. Thanks for stopping by!

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