Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lamp shade project/Learning from my mistakes

First time projects are kinda like that, don’t you think?  Mistakes will be made, especially when you fly by the seat of your pants like I do.

Lamp shades.

I’ve done several lamp shade projects, but I always covered right over the existing shade, using the fabric of my choice and spray glue.


A shade like this one.  You simply tear off the trim and section divider pieces (is that what they’re called?)  Cut your fabric to the correct size.  Spray glue the shade in sections.  Then smooth on your fabric.  When you’re done, trim the shade with gimp along the sides and your choice of trims at top and bottom.  A very easy project.

But…..I had a shade frame.


Here’s the finished shade.

Mistakes I made?

  1. Should have lined the fabric.  I choose a very sheer linen/burlap look and I don’t like being able to see the harp showing through.
  2. Trim is crooked.  Be more careful next time to make sure I get it on more evenly.
  3. Sew more/glue less!

So……keeping those tips in mind, here’s how to proceed with this project.

First timers, like me, should choose a shade without a significant flair at the bottom.  It will be much easier to cover.  In fact, I did mine with one continuous piece of fabric.

Measure the height and width of your shade.  I added a little extra for the corners so that I could include a pleat.


Starting at the top, apply hot glue in small sections and wrap you fabric around the frame, leaving just about half an inch on the inside.  Continue all the way around the top in this manner.

The bottom will be done the same way.  Be sure and pull your fabric nice and tight.


Next, apply your trim across the bottom.  I gathered mine as I was gluing.   I applied the white ruffle first, and the vintage trim over that.   Should have gathered the ruffle first with the sewing machine.  Then I probably wouldn’t have gotten it on crooked.  Oops!  That should be #4 on my mistakes list!

What did I use for my ruffle?  Flour sack kitchen towels!  They were the perfect choice!  Just measure your strips and tear!  No scissors!  And…..this is what gives your ruffle the ragged edges.  You can purchase these at Wal-Mart in a pack of five for cheap cheap.  This shade took less than one towel.


Next……apply your vintage goodies. 


I used printable fabric for the images.  This stuff is expensive!  $8.00 for 3 sheets at Hobby Lobby.   So be careful and get it right the first time.  Just advice from someone who hates to waste that money……

The cute cotton lace frames are from Michaels in the scrap book department.  From K.C. and Company.  You get one each of both frames in small and large for $3.99.

008 008

This is where I should have sewn more and glued less.  I was just afraid that I wouldn’t get anything sewn on in the proper place so I decided to glue.  I DID, however, take the images to the sewing machine and stitched around them in uneven circles.  Hopefully giving the illusion that they are sewn on.

I also should have hand stitched the tulle flower first.  I kept getting hot glue in the tulle, and actually had to trash the first one.


Here’s one of the sides.

So… is my lamp shade.  I think it turned out well considering my mistakes.

I owe KAREN at My Desert Cottage at big THANK YOU for inspiring me to complete this project!  Just click on her name above to visit her blog and see the beautiful shade that she made!

Have a wonderful weekend.  The sun is out here!  WooHoo!!



  1. This is absolutely the cutest, Denise. Thanks for the tips, but it looks perfect to me! Have a wonderful Valentine's weekend!

  2. Denise -
    You can still line it. Just hot glue on the inside and cover with some gimp. I use tin foil to make my patterns for unusual shaped shade frames. I set the tin foil on the shades side and lightly form it to the shape. Peel it off and cut around the impression. Makes a perfect pattern. No measuring!


  3. I think it looks great!!! I want to try my hand a slipcover style next time, and I love the idea of the sewn on fabric pictures! Thanks so much for the link back. ;)


  4. Well, I think you did a great job. I love it!

    Happy Heart Day,

  5. Cute, cute and more cute! :0) I've got to make myself a note to look for cheap shades at the thrift stores for those frames...I love the stripped down shades that are wrapped with beads, fabric, ribbons...everything but the kitchen sink..hehe

    So do you still have lots of snow? I got about 2 inches yesterday.


  6. You blow me away Denise. I LOVE it no matter what.
    BTW who is that little cry baby up there on the left? Is that you? CUTE.
    Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.
    Song playing...I'm not drunk enough too funny.
    Love Claudie

  7. I too think you did a wonderful job on the lamp shade. And those lace frames are fabulous! Must get me some. Michael's you say? Good! I have one near me.

  8. I think it is absolutely perfect! I don't think even with glue I could get it to look so nice. It's always fun to try your hand at something new even if you are flying by the seat of your pants. Best wishes for a happy valentine's day filled with love, joy ad friendship. :) Tammy

  9. I have done this before, but was not near as creative as you. Yours looks great , I saw no mistakes, but it was sweet of you to give needed advice. Thanks for visiting yesterday, I was having a bad day and it's friends like you who came and hugged me...

  10. It is -gorgeous- Denise! Just beautiful.


  11. Well Denise I absolutely think it is perfecto!!! Love it! I don't at all mind seeing the harp, in fact I have lamps with bare shades on them all over the house. Love the naked lamp I run a nudest lampshade colony. Stole the idea from a favorite designer Carol Bolton. Tahnk you so much for sharing how to do this.

  12. I love it, and I don't think that you made any mistakes.

  13. The shade turned out really great. Have a great week. Julian

  14. This turned out so nice. I've never redone a lampshade, although I've been seeing so many beautiful ones like this out in blog land, than I may have to give it a try.

  15. Denise amor, I think that your lamp shade came out just beautiful! Even seeing the harp...I dunno, I think it doesn't take away from it's beauty at all :) Thank you for sharing your lovely idea and tutorial :) Besos, Rose


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