How to Restore a Lamp Shade

comments (8) January 20th, 2010     

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Remove the fabric from the frame.
Apply decorative trim to your new shade.
Photo: Sloan Howard

Got an old lamp shade that has seen better days? Instead of tossing it in the trash, salvage the lamp-shade form, and remake it to suit your style. With a little creative know-how, you can do away with a lackluster or damaged cover and create a new cover in any fabric or design you like.

All you need is a lamp shade with a wire frame, some fabric and a few basic sewing supplies. You could buy new fabric, but with so little required (depending on the size of your lamp shade), this is the perfect project for leftover fabric. Or, you can even use coordinating fabric scraps and piece them together.

What You'll Need:
• Fabric
• Hand-sewing needles
• High-temperature hot glue gun
• Lining
• Muslin
• Scissors
• Seam tape
• Sewing machine
• Thread to match
• Wire-frame lamp shade
Optional: Decorative trim

Prep and drape your lamp shade
Before you begin, measure the distance between the side spokes of the lamp-shade form. If it is the same distance all the way around, you can drape just one section of the lamp shade. If not, you'll need to create a pattern for the whole shade according to the individual measurements.

1. Remove all of the fabric from the lamp-shade frame with scissors.

Remove the fabric from the frame.

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2. Wrap the spokes of the wire frame with seam tape. Using a hot glue gun, apply a drop of glue to attach the tape to the frame.

Wrap the frame with seam tape.

3. Drape the lamp shade to create a pattern. Drape a piece of muslin over the lamp-shade form, and pin to fit the frame in one panel area. Use chalk or a marking pen to trace the spokes that form he panel shape onto the muslin.

Drape the lamp shade to create a pattern.

4. Use the pattern to cut out the fabric and lining. Remove the muslin from the lamp shade, and add seam allowances: 1⁄4 inch at the sides and 1 inch at the top and bottom. Cut out the pattern. Using the pattern, cut out as many fabric and lining panels as you need. The lamp shade shown required six panels.

Use the pattern to cut out the fabric and lining.

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posted in: scissors, sewing machine, lamp, muslin, lamp shade, recover, hand-sewing needles, hot glue gun, seam tape

Comments (8)

Premier_Lamp_shades writes: Please take a look at our latest lampshade restoration projects by clicking the link below. If the link does not work please type in to google then click on to our news blog. Here you will see all our lampshade recovering and restoration projects.
Best regards Ian Holbrook
Premier Lampshades LTD
01204 414366
01204 412062.
Posted: 6:11 am on November 3rd
Premier_Lamp_shades writes: Please take a look at our latest lampshade restorations by Premier Lampshades LTD. Please click the link below.
Posted: 6:03 am on November 3rd
LPlummer writes: I am trying something new with a lampshade. The shade in question was a Goodwill purchase, and had a stain that I thought I could wash out. Wrong! The shirred fabric immediately separated from the rigid plastic base that forms the shade. So I took the fabric completely off, as well as the corded fabric from the top and bottom of the shade. I am going to try something that my mother used to do with jars and bottles, which is small strips of masking tape covering the entire plastic form, and then lightly dabbing on brown shoe polish. This gave the jars the look of worn old leather. I think (hope) that it will look nice with the light coming thru the shade. I'm hoping for a nice subdued, muted light. Has anyone else ever tried this method? Sound like a good idea?

Posted: 1:35 pm on October 26th
lightbringer writes: I make lampshades for a business. The only way I know to do a shade that has top and bottom rings is to make an arc and use styrene (firm plastic backing) to adhere the fabric to.

This is an interesting way to cover a lampshade by sewing each individual panel and then sewing to frame. I have sewn each panel to shade by hand and then covered the ribs with the same fabric or gimp. Or by sewing two panels on the machine and stretching it over the shade. This is the first time I've seen it done this way and can't wait to try it.

Thank you for posting this.

Posted: 9:25 pm on January 22nd
irishwings writes: Very easy steps to understand.I have several shades at home I want o cover-customize to my decor.Good layed out directions.Thanx.
Posted: 7:19 pm on January 21st
Bettsi writes: Thank you for making this so easy to understand! I see a new lampshade in my future!
Posted: 7:31 pm on January 20th
TigerB writes: What do you do if your lamp has no "panels"? I have a lamp with a shade I would love to recover, but the outside is smooth -- there's a ring at the top and a ring at the bottom the shade attaches to. I've tried to drape it, but it's a trapezoidal cylinder, and nothing seems to work. Suggestions?
Posted: 5:43 pm on January 20th
mommyoftwo247 writes: I just changed my bedroom decor, and this is a perfect solution to my lamps! Thanks for the great idea and tutorial! :)
Posted: 4:27 pm on January 20th
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