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How to Transform a Lamp Shade with Fabric

Lamp Shade Makeover | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

You would not believe how difficult it has been to find lamps for our bedroom. I mean, they’re just lamps…it shouldn’t be that hard, right? I had this vision in my head of walking into a thrift store and finding the perfect lamps for 2 or 3 dollars, giving them a fresh coat of paint, and calling it a day.

Aaaaannnnd after searching just about every thrift store in my area, that definitely did not happen. Apparently people in Pittsburgh hold on to their lamps and don’t donate them to thrift stores. Or maybe I just didn’t have the right vision for the ones that I saw. Either way, no lamps.

My next idea was to just find cheap lamps at a regular store and somehow make them my own. I found a set at Wal-Mart that I was going to paint and brought them home only to realize that one was broken. I wasn’t in love with them anyway, so back to the store they went.

I found a different set at Target. I loved them in the store, but when I got them home, they just didn’t “flow” with the rest of the room. They were returned too.

I searched high and low–everything was too expensive {remember, I’m a cheapskate!}, too short, too large, too much work, etc., etc., etc. Finally, I ordered a set online. I wasn’t even sure they were going to be the right color, but they looked cute, so I figured I’d give them a try. They were backordered but set to arrive near the end of June. Then I received an email saying they wouldn’t be available until August. Um…no. Not waiting that long. Cancelled those.

So technically I “bought” three sets of lamps and still did not have anything for our nightstands. I was giving up hope.

Then, on my 100th trip to Target when I wasn’t even going there to look at lamps, I found these:

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Perfect! I didn’t really care that they didn’t have any shades that I liked. I was tired of looking, so I just grabbed two plain white shades and did what any crafty little blogger would have done…I created my own dream shades!

Here’s what I used to turn some boring old white shades into the perfect compliment to our space:

Supplies_edited-1

  • Lamp Shade
  • Newspaper/Craft Paper
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Fabric Glue
  • Fabric {1 yard covered both of my “medium” sized shades}
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

Step 1: Create a Paper Template

If your lamp shade is tapered at all, I would highly recommend making a template before you start attaching your fabric. Getting the fabric into the right shape can be tricky without one, and if the fabric isn’t cut to the right curve, it can be really frustrating to try to make it smooth. To make my template, I taped two pieces of newspaper together, wrapped them around my shade, and used my pencil to trace the top and bottom of the lamp shade.

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

I then simply cut along the lines I had drawn, and I had a pattern all ready to go. I wrapped it around the lamp to make sure it fit–wouldn’t want to find out it doesn’t after I’ve already cut my fabric!

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Step 2: Measure and Cut Fabric

Using my template as a guide, I drew an outline on the back of my fabric, measuring a 1/2 inch margin on each side of the newspaper template so that I would have additional fabric to fold over the edges of the lamp shade.

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

I cut out my fabric, and I was ready to attach it to my shade.

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Step 3: Attach Fabric to Shade

Laying my fabric on a plastic bag so my table wouldn’t get sticky, I sprayed the back with spray adhesive, lined up my lamp shade, and wrapped the fabric around it, smoothing out any bumps or wrinkles. My fabric was relatively easy to line up because I didn’t have to be exact. If you choose fabric with stripes, chevron, or another pattern which requires the lines to be perfectly straight, you will need to be extra careful on this step.

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

The instructions on my bottle of fabric glue said to apply a thin coat of glue, let it dry until a skin forms, and then apply a second coat of glue and press the fabric together. I did this first to attach the seam where the fabric came together at the back of the shade {1} and then repeated the process on the bottom and top rims of the lamp shade {2}, folding the fabric over the glue and pressing down firmly.

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

I let the glue dry for a few minutes, and it was ready to go! Quite a big difference, don’t you think?!

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

And the white base really makes it pop!

Lamp Shade Makeover with Fabric by Just a Girl and Her Blog

It took a while, but I was finally able to find lamps that I love! It may have been a long process, but I think it was definitely worth the wait!

Have you had any makeover success stories lately?

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103 Comments

  1. Cindy Eikenberg says:

    Abby, the lampshades look great! Sometimes, it takes a while to find that right thing, but you did it! I love your comment 100th trip to Target. 🙂 Love the fabric that you selected! Thanks for sharing, pinning and have a great week!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Cindy! Yes, that Target is a killer. We just got a brand new HUGE one and I love it, but I’m not sure my bank account does. 😉 Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  2. rainonatinroof01 says:

    Love it, Abby!! Great job! Those lamps are so pretty! You are so right – sometimes it is SO hard to find the perfect ones! Thanks for linking up! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Jenna! Who knew lamps could be so stubborn, right?! 😉 Thanks for hosting such a fun party! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Erin @ Sugar Magnolia says:

    That looks great girl!! Love it!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much, Erin! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Adorable! I love them and I do the same thing, often. When you can’t find exactly what you want, make it! Great job!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank goodness for DIY, right?! 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, Kim! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Great job, Abby! I love them!!~~Angela

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Angela! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Anjana @ At The Corner Of Happy & Harried says:

    Great job! Patience does pay off in the end!!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Anjana! Yes, I’ve had lots of practice being patient with this project, lol! 😉 Have a fantastic week!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Fantastic – I love that you were able to make something yourself that was better than anything you could buy! Fab enjoy those awesome new lamps!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Martina! When in doubt, make it yourself, right?! 😉 Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Selene Galindo says:

    They turned out lovely, Abby!!! Love the lamp base and the fabric…so pretty! I so need to do this to one of my lamps in my living room…it’s a boring white right now…eek!
    Visiting from Give Me The Goods Monday!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much from popping over from Give Me the Goods, Selene! You are so sweet! Hope you had an awesome weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Jona@bohowillow says:

    This is awesome – though I might be a bit partial because I HAVE THE SAME LAMP! Sitting in a closet… waiting for the right shade! Thanks for the inspiration to create my own!

    1. abbylawson says:

      You know what they say…great minds think alike! You have excellent taste in lamps! 😉 Let me know if you create your own shade…I want to see!! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Emily @ My Love for Words says:

    <3 it! They're so cute.

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks, friend! I thought we were going to just have to live in the dark there for a while, lol! Have a fantastic week!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Great work! I think I can do that!! I think I can . . . Very pretty!

    1. abbylawson says:

      I’ve seen your blog, girl! You could do this with one hand tied behind your back! 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Oh my goodness! This looks so lovely! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Meegan! You are so sweet! Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Love it!! It was definitely worth it in the end!! It looks beautiful!!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Crystal! Who ever would have thought that some silly lamps would be so much trouble?! Lol. I’m so glad you stopped by! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Val @ Home Made Modern says:

    Oooo, I love a great lamp re-do and yours is just perfect. The fabric is awesome. Funny thing: our Target didn’t have the white base like yours. I bought the turquoise and just wasn’t happy with it after quite a few months, so sprayed it white like yours. 🙂 I guess great minds think alike.

    1. abbylawson says:

      Girl, we are totally on the same wavelength! I think if you give bloggers long enough, we’ll add our own touch to anything! We just can’t help it! 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  15. Krista thehappyhousie says:

    Looks awesome Abby! I did a large lamp shade before… I think I might take on another for my son’s room update too… I remember that it is a little bit of a tricky process! But well worth it… they look perfect:) Great job!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Krista! I am so excited to see how your son’s room works out! We are planning on putting our boys in a room together when they get a little older, so I’ll need all the tips I can get to re-do their space. Have a wonderful week, my friend!

      ~Abby =)

  16. Kim @ Curtain Queen says:

    Wow, you went through a lot for the perfect lamps! And, they are wonderful. You did a great job. 🙂
    Blessings,
    Kim

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much, Kim! My poor kiddos spent so much time on the lamp hunt with me that we would walk into a store and my one year old would start calling out, “Lamps!! Laaaaaaamps!!” Lol! I’m so glad you stopped by–have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  17. Terri S. Vanech says:

    These are fabulous! Great idea and they look amazing. Can’t wait to try!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Terri! I was actually surprised at how simple it was! Have fun with yours! Hope your week is going well!

      ~Abby =)

    1. abbylawson says:

      Ooh I just popped over to check out your glitter heels and they are CUTE!!! I agree–glitter on everything, I say! 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Deborah! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  18. Kirsten @ One Tough Mother says:

    Lamps are hard to find! You did a GREAT job of creating your own perfect lamp. I love the fabric. Thanks for the tutorial!

    1. abbylawson says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks finding lamps is tough! I think I’ve browsed just about every lamp out there at this point, lol. Thank you so much for stopping by, Kirsten! Hope your week is going well!

      ~Abby =)

  19. Great job! It looks lovely!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Bethany! I just popped over to check out your silver earrings, and they are stunning! So classy! Thanks for stopping by the blog! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  20. Katie @ Upcycled Treasures says:

    Wow, your lamp looks gorgeous! Thanks for the tutorial, I never would have thought to make a template first. Pinning 🙂
    ~Katie

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Katie! I had actually read some horror stories from bloggers about trying to cover tapered shades, so I figured I had better go the safe route and make a pattern. 🙂 Thank you for popping over to my blog! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  21. Melissa @ Keep Calm and Decorate says:

    Love the lamps and I am still on the hunt for a perfect lamp. I need to go to Target and see if I can find these little beauties! I also like how you covered the shade with fabric! Hope you are having a fabulous week!!!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Lamps are tough, right?! Who knew? Good luck on your hunt as well! Thank you so much for stopping by, Miss Melissa! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  22. ingrid@nowathomemom says:

    very nice Abby, you are so right, don’t know why it’s so hard to find lamps, I’m still looking for ours 😉 thank you for the tutorial, you did a great job, really like the fabric too! 🙂

    1. abbylawson says:

      I’m so glad I am not alone on the lamp-hunt! They are difficult little buggers, aren’t they?! Thank you so much for stopping by, Ingrid! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  23. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint says:

    Super adorable, Abby! I love the fabric. I’m going to be covering lamps in my bedroom as soon as I find the perfect fabric.

    xoxo
    Denyse

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Denyse! Good luck with your lamp-covering project! I know they will be adorable! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  24. Samantha @ Five Heart Home says:

    What great step-by-step instructions, and I love your final result! I found you through the Give Me the Goods Monday Party #14 and I’ve pinned your great post to my Five Heart Home Pinterest boards. Have a great night! 🙂

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much for popping over, Samantha! I’m heading over to check out your blog as we speak, er, type! 😉 Hope your week is going well!

      ~Abby =)

  25. Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule says:

    Fabulous tutorial Abby!! I love the lamps…and I am with you on trying to find good ones!! 😉
    Thanks so much for sharing on Project Inspire{d}! Pinned!!
    Nancy

    1. abbylawson says:

      It is so comforting to know that I’m not the only one who can’t find a cute lamp to save my life! I couldn’t believe how long it took, lol! Thanks so much for stopping by, Nancy! Have a great night!

      ~Abby =)

  26. They do look perfct Abby!!!! Great job and kudos to you for patience and perseverance! thank you too for that short and sweet tutorial for the shade, want to try that someday! 🙂

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Vel! You are so sweet! I enjoyed visiting your blog yesterday…I so admire your style! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  27. Wow…what a great transformation and clever idea ! Love how you did it !

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Marlin! Hope your week is going well!

      ~Abby =)

  28. If you can’t find what you’re looking for… make it yourself! Great job, Abby! I actually found those lamps in teal a few months ago on clearance at Target and I sprayed them white… they are sitting in a storage closet because I haven’t figured out what I want to do for the shades 🙂

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Chelsea! Good luck with your shades. Knowing your creativity, I’m sure they will turn out gorgeous! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  29. Christine says:

    Absolutely PERFECT!!!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer… From Dream To Reality!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks for hosting an awesome party, Christine! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  30. Kim @ {enjoy the view} says:

    I love the lamps and you make it look so easy! I think I might actually be able to attempt this! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. abbylawson says:

      You could totally handle it! It’s seriously simple. Thanks so much for stopping by, Kim! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

    1. abbylawson says:

      Yay! Thanks so much for popping over, Morgaine! I love meeting fellow Pennsylvanians! I just checked out your super-cute blog. What an awesome roundup for the 4th! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  31. So, so cute! Not only your lamp, but your whole nightstand. Thanks so much for sharing. I need to do the same to my nightstand lamp. Have a great weekend!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Brooke! You’re so sweet! I hope you have an awesome week!

      ~Abby =)

    1. abbylawson says:

      Just popped over to check out your lazy Susan…It turned out so great! I have SO had projects like that–I’ve had to do them over and over and over. Yours was worth it though. The final product is gorgeous! Thanks for popping over and checking out my blog! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Heather! I’m so glad you popped over. And thanks for the invite too! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  32. Making a template before covering your shade…duh! It turned out great. (Also had to comment on your title b/c no one else had. Love him. Can’t wait for the second one!)

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you, Amy! Nice to find another Anchorman fan out there, lol! Hope you have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  33. This is cute. So I will be honest. I am not very domestic…I don’t really do home projects like this. But I will read your blog because this stuff is pretty and maybe one day I will want to do a project. I like that lamp a lot too!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Akirah! I look forward to getting to know you and your blog better!

      ~Abby =)

  34. Chernee's House says:

    Hi Abby –

    Love how the lamps turned out and the fabric you went with! I was looking at the same lamp bases for my home office.

    I think making your own lamp is the best!

    Chernee

    1. abbylawson says:

      I agree, Chernee! Pieces have so much meaning when you make them yourself! Good luck with the home office. Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Abby =)

  35. Stephanie @ Two Zero One says:

    The lamp looks great. I wish there was a Target where I lived as the base of the lamp is outstanding, let alone the improvements you made by the DIY lampshade. Love it!

    -Steph @ http://www.twozeroone.ca

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks so much, Stephanie! We just got a new huge Target really close to us and it is dangerous…believe me, your bank account is glad that you don’t have one nearby! Lol. Thank you for stopping by! Have a fantastic 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  36. Recreate and Decorate says:

    I love the use of newspaper for a pattern, great idea!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you! Hope you’re having a wonderful 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  37. Sonya ~At Home with The Barkers says:

    Super cute Abby! Next time I need to make a shade. 🙂 ~Sonya

    1. abbylawson says:

      Lol, I was just thinking that next time I need to do a fun base like yours! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Sonya! Hope you’re having a great 4th!

      ~Abby =)

  38. Love your lampshades! And as a fellow Pittsburgher, I’ve gotten lucky at the Habitat store in Washington, PA. A bit of a drive for me but I got great lamps and chandeliers for cheap!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Yay! Pittsburghers unite! I didn’t even know there was a Habitat store in Washington. Thanks so much for the tip! Thank you for stopping by my blog, Miss Diana! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  39. Love the lamp! Thank you so much for linking up to my linky party. Hope to see more from you next time.

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thanks, Rita! Thank you for hosting such a fun party! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

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  42. Trying my first ever lamp makeover. Love your tutorial. Where did you get your fabric? What is the shape on it called? I can’t seem to find the right fabric but I love yours. Is it blue or gray? Thanks!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Hi, Tricia! I got the fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics. It is gray with circular bunches of flowers. Hope this helps! Have fun with your project!

      ~Abby =)

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  45. I knew these lamps as soon as I spotted them on Throwback Thursday. Sure enough, I had commented on how much I loved them! And it’s good to know I’m not the only one that has a difficult time searching for the perfect lamps!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much for hosting, Miss Alli! What a wonderful idea for a link party! Thanks for popping over here again! Have a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  46. Paula@SweetPea says:

    I love both the lamps and the fabric that you selected for your shades. Great project!

    Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday!

    1. abbylawson says:

      Thank you so much, Paula! I never thought I’d actually find THE lamps, but these ones finally worked out, lol! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      ~Abby =)

  47. I always thought that would be a good idea to make my own lamp shade since is so hard to find a nice one in a good price. Thanks Abby, now I’m ready to make my own now. Nice to know you live in the Burghs, my husband is also from there and I love that place 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! I always love meeting fellow Burgh-ers! 🙂 Have fun making your shade!

      ~Abby =)

  48. Lauren @ Mom Home Guide says:

    Looks good, Abby! My daughters each just got new bedrooms, and I have been meaning to recover their lampshades, which are looking like they need some help right now. (They are now more off white than their previous white.) Thanks for the tutorial!

  49. great tutorial! I’m going to try this with some old shades I have

  50. I’m so thankful you linked this tutorial from your house tour! I have a white lamp with a plain white shade and I was trying to figure out how to recover the shade. Thank you!

  51. Love your lamps, great idea and great tutorial. Thank you for sharing, on my to do list!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Fran! Have a great weekend! <3

      ~Abby =)

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