Update a thrifted lamp shade – DIY

Hey, thrifty ladies {and gents}!

Last night craft-fever hit me hard! While Ryan relaxed and settled down for the night I found myself getting all in a tizzy over recreating a thrifted lampshade. We bought this lamp and shade separately from Goodwill months ago, but it’s never looked exactly the way I wanted it to until now that I’ve added my own vintage fabric to it. Here’s how you can update an old lamp, too:

You’ll need a lamp {duh!}, scissors, fabric, hem tape or double sided tape, measuring tape, and a marking tool. You could also add some cute rick-rack or stitches to it depending on how much time you want to spend and how detailed you want the shade to be! I first thought I might do some stitching, but didn’t want to get holed up in my studio for too long on a night off, so I sprung for the tape.

First step: Strip the lampshade. When we bought ours it had ribbon hot glued to it from the previous owner. We took this off immediately, but the glue itself has been there ever since. Depending on your shade, you may choose also to take the fabric off entirely and have just the wire frame, but since our shade was white we knew it wouldn’t make a difference to the look at the end of the project, so we left it on.To make sure that you cut the right amount of fabric, measure the height of your lampshade as well as the diameter and write down both of your measurements. Then, add one inch to the height and one inch to the diameter so you’ll have space to fold over the edges.

Mark this new measurement on the wrong side {the side that won’t be showing when the project is finished} of your fabric, then snip, snip, snip!

Add the hem tape to the top and bottom edges of your fabric keeping in mind that you added an inch of fabric {a 1/2 inch for the top + a 1/2 inch for the bottom} for these adjustments. Folding the raw edge in will make the project look nice + neat.

Next you’ll fold both edges in a half inch and press down on the tape to stick them in place. Your fabric should now measure from top to bottom the same as the lampshade does. Almost there!

Add a strip of tape up the lampshade to hold on one of the sides of the fabric.

Add tape to the bottom and top edge of the shade, then, making sure your fabric is smooth, turn the lamp and attach as you go.

When you get to the end, remember that you added an inch in the measurement for overlap, so you can fold the fabric under as you stick it in place with the double-sided tape. Et voila!

I’d love to see how yours come out if you decide to give this project a try! It’s a simple way to spruce up your home and to dig into that gorgeous fabric stash I know you have hiding away.

Have a wonderful night!


8 thoughts on “Update a thrifted lamp shade – DIY

  1. Turtle Love Co. says:

    Great tutorial, Julia! I have an old lamp shade that might benefit from this (It’s quite a bit larger, but with the right pattern it would really improve it). Where did you find that adorable fabric?

    • Jeeze, Julia! says:

      The fabric is from my best friend’s Grandmother! She has been cleaning out her house lately and giving us anything that we’ll take. There are some real treasures! She just called to let us know that she’s got some cookbooks for us the next time we visit – can’t wait to see them!


      • Turtle Love Co. says:

        Oh my gosh! If you get some good old cookbooks please post some pictures of them. I collect old cookbooks, myself, and some of the ones from the ’70s are priceless in terms of how ridiculous the recipes are (not to mention the pictures!)

      • Jeeze, Julia! says:

        Will do! If there are too many for the two of us {which there very well might be}, I may ask for your address! I tend to go for the 50s and 60s and I think my BFF prefers 40s and before, so if the 70s show up you may be in luck!


    • Jeeze, Julia! says:

      My sentiments exactly, Christina! It’s wonderful to have something I can do easily, quickly, and without spending much money. Makes me feel productive!


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