Monday, January 24, 2011

Covering a White Lamp Shade

I have a lamp and shade that made the cut when we moved from Ontario so I didn't want to throw it out when the colour didn't work in it's new room.  The shape of this lampshade works really well with this particular lamp but the white shade was looking a little lacklustre and I figured a louder  fabric could solve this problem.  Note that this shade is not round so the directions are a bit different than others you may find but it's not difficult.  I will have another post on covering a round shade coming up.

Start by gathering your supplies...fabric, pencil, fabric glue (I always use Fabri-Tac), scissors, painters tape and ribbon.

This fabric was easy because the pattern is simple but if you're using a fabric that has a scene or an image you want included then take a minute to lay out the fabric and find the exact piece to be used.

Start by placing your fabric with the pattern down so that you don't leave any pencil marks on the fabric.  Lay your shade down on the longest side.  Using a pencil trace a line leaving 2-3 inches above and below the shade.  Once you have the first area flip the shade onto one side and continue to trace.  Flip from the centre to the other side and do the same thing and cut along the lines.

Because of it's shape I decided against wrapping the entire shade with one piece of fabric as I don't think it would lay flat.  Instead I cut the 3 sides from one piece of fabric and then a separate piece of fabric was used for the 4th side.  

 Run a thin line of fabric glue along the first edge and place the fabric down holding it in place for a few seconds.  Add several pieces of tape to stop the fabric from shifting while you work.
Not so pretty, I know.  I forgot to take a photo of this step so I had to rip up the fabric and do it again.  The fabric colour came off on the shade

You don't need to iron or sew the cut edges of the fabric but turn it under approximately 1/4" - 1/2" so that it looks neat when it's finished. 

Once the first line is taped in place cut the fabric so that there is only 1/4" - 1/2" remaining on top and bottom.  This will be tucked under creating a nice neat edge.

This photo makes it look as though there is nothing left to tuck under but there really was 1/2" there.

Continue to wrap the fabric around the shade.  Add a line of glue to the top and bottom of the shade but it's not necessary to add any to the centre.  Do be sure to smooth out the fabric and keep it pulled tight before gluing.  Turn the raw edge under and hold firmly before taping.


I didn't worry about matching the pattern where seams met.  I think as long as the edges are neat and tidy it'll look great.

Once all the edges have been tucked and glued, tape the entire shade to hold it in place until the glue thoroughly dries.

I would recommend leaving the tape on for a full day just so there is no shifting in the fabric.  Now you're ready to glue the ribbon on.  

I found that because of the tapering in this shade that the ribbon puckered if I tried to wrap 1 piece around the entire shade so again I used one piece for 3 sides and a short 2nd piece for the 4th side.  I also find that the ribbon sits flat if I start applying it at the front and work towards the sides.

Apply a thin line of glue, lay the long piece of ribbon on the glue and press firmly and tape.    Apply the last piece the following day by turning under the edges and gluing in place.  Tape and you're finished!!

Before & After

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Thanks for the tips, I have a shade I've been wanting to cover.

  2. This turned out great! You're almost making me think I could do this without completely ruining my lamp shade. :)

  3. What a terrific transformation! I might have to try this myself one day!! :-)

  4. You are so talented! I love this (and the framed piece below)

  5. incredible!!! I'm working on a home in which the 16 year old daughter would love to bring zebra into everything, so its very much on my mind. This looks fantastic--kudos!

    Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to popping into yours often!

  6. Great tutorial and I love the fabric you chose!

  7. Thanks for this. I bought a couple of plain shades and need to add some color. I will be following your tutorial. Will post the results when done.


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