Lampshades in the making

Amongst keeping the kids entertained with crafty projects, I have channelled my inner “Martha Stewart” this week. If you follow along on Instagram you’ll already know I’ve been trying my hand at making lampshades. This is my first try and I would do things a little different next time but I can point you in the right direction and let you know what I did and what not to do.
First step find yourself some lovely fabric to cover your shade.

This floral came from spotlight.

Blue lampshades I bought at target on
clearance with the sole purpose of re-covering.

Make a template by putting your shade onto a large piece of paper and roll it while tracing the edge. Find the fabric overlap on your shade and use this as a start and end point. Then add an allowance for a seam on the curved edge, I left way way too much but cut-it off later.
Also add a bit more on the straight end to allow for overlay.
According to other sites some say add enough seam for tucking just over the rim and others say exactly to the edge and then trim with ribbon. Do some research and see what look you are going for. Try with the template until you get the seam you are after. You don’t want too much on the inside as you will see it along with it’s shadow when the lights turned on, so make sure it’s a neat line (unlike mine).


Pin around your template’s outer edge to the back of the fabric.
Flip it over and check the right side of the fabric is how you want it to look.

Then cut out your template.

The more accurate and neat your cutting from your template the better the result.

Check the fabric on the shade with some tape or some pegs to see if you like how it sits.


Then give it a really good iron to make sure you have no creases.
Both my shades fabric patterns are different, and I did that on purpose because I loved that matching but different effect. I could have made them match by lining up the pattern on the same pattern repeat.

Now it’s time to lay your fabric on your shade. Line up your first edge to the lampshades edge so that any overlaps won’t be seen as they will be at the back of the shade. I added a line of fabric glue then taped it to make sure it stayed in place.

Then I rolled the fabric on to make sure the angle I had it on was correct.
Then I trimmed the off the excess.

Starting with the edge of the fabric you have already stuck down, add a layer of fabric glue to the inside of the shade with a paint brush to get an even coat and to not see any glue lines through when switched on.

I taped it down as I went to make sure it stuck.
As you can see I have a lot of overlap in this shot.

Then I did the same to the other side, smoothing it out as I went and not pulling too hard. If I was attaching it to a flat easy shade I would have spray glued the shade first and then smoothed it out, then doing the edges with fabric glue or a hot glue gun and taping or pegging while drying.

Then I trimmed the overlap end.

And folded over the end to make a flat edge.

Then glued and stuck in place. You could iron the edge before sticking to get it extra flat. And put glue between the two layers for extra stick.

After a little drying time….

The first finished piece.
Then onto lampshade number two

And here they both are together! Pretty happy overall with my 1st attempt, and boy do they make me smile!!
Since i left such a big allowance on the seam, I will use some ribbon to go over it/tidy it up on the inside.

There are lots of different tutorials on the net if you google DIY lampshades and if i had used a plain flat shade I would have used spray glue to hold the fabric in place before I hot glued the edges. Going right over the existing thin ribbon strip shade as I did left a blue tinge to the fabric when you turn it on, but I was unsure if i’d be able to adhere the new fabric to anything if I cut off the blue strips. If I was doing this project over again on this particular shade, I would have removed the thin strips then gone over it in white fabric then the coloured fabric. There was a separate lining inside so I just left that alone.

A Few Points to Consider..
Drum shades are ideal/straightforward, tapered are harder.
Even adding some ribbon round a shade makes a difference.
Attaching fabric to a light coloured shade is most ideal, white is perfect. 
This would be the ideal shade to cover…

My next lamp project for our powder area, 
the whole space needs some pizzaz!
Keep in mind you will see any overlaps through a lighter shade. 
Use darker fabrics on darker shades. These shades don’t let as much light out but can lead to a dramatic effect.
A fabric with an all over pattern rather than a repeating pattern is a lot easier. 
Re-petition on a tapered shade would be tricky, stick to a drum shade for that.

Making your own shades can be very rewarding and you get something that is truly unique and what you are looking for. There are plenty of white plain shades out their just waiting to be covered!
Have you given this a go before? What was the result?
Lisa xox
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