DIY Lampshades: Ruffled, Recovered & Slipcovered
October 7, 2009
Months ago, I acquired an amazing lamp for $30 dollars from a local antique fair. I wanted so desperately to have a chocolate brown drum lampshade to top it off. I even considered the $50 dollar version from Restoration Hardware. But I never bought it because somehow I knew I would find a more inexpensive alternative. So I waited. And waited. And this lamp has been sitting in my living room without a shade since April.
Then it hit me. Silly CG. I had a leftover thift store shade – I should just recover it. A few weeks ago, I sought out some shantung polyester that looks just like silk from Joann’s Fabics, I came up with my own version.
Here she is:
After I mastered the art of recovering a simple drum shade, I gave two other shades in my home a new look. One I slipcovered. The other I made to look like a couture gown, with shimmery silk like fabric that I pinched and gathered into tons of ruffles.
Want to see all three ?
First, take a look at the base underneath this beauty. Here is the original shade before the fabric addition. I’ve spared you the horrid velvet and shiny gold accoutrements that used to be attached. It looked like a bad band uniform. Hit it, Professor Harold Hill.
“Seventy six trombones led the big parade… with a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.”
I just love Robert Preston’s version of that song.
But I ripped that trim and those tassels off before I took this photo.
Recovering a drum shade is the simplest of all. Since the shade shares the same circumference at both the top and the bottom, you don’t need to worry about your fabric overlapping.
To recover a drum shade, simply roll your shade along your swatch of fabric, make sure you have enough fabric to wrap all the way around, and trim with scissors.
Make sure your fabric is pulled tight to avoid puckering.
Attach the fabric with hot glue.
Double roll the edges under the bottom and at the top of your shade for a smooth seam. Secure with more hot glue.
Here’s my shade up close. As good as silk, just less expensive.
Happily sitting in the corner of our living room:
Next, I dolled up a discount shade from Target. I found a beautiful linen patterned fabric that I wanted to use to make another shade for our guest space. This shade was more traditional in style, more narrow at the top and wider at the bottom. I bought it because it was oval in shape, had some interesting curvature, and was $13 dollars on clearance.
To give it a slip covered look, I started by gluing the fabric vertically to the shade with hot glue. Then I pinch pleated the top every 4 inches, or wherever there was a natural bend in the shade.
Then, as I worked my way around, I secured the fabric to the bottom of the shade with more glue. I was careful to ensure the fabric wrapped smoothly on the vertical. Because the top of the shade was smaller in circumference than the bottom, the simple pinch pleat worked well. And it gave the shade a more casual gathered look than the more formal drum shade above.
Once the fabric was fully pleated around the shade, I folded over the fabric in the back and secured the edges with more hot glue.
One thing I find with lighter shades that have been recovered is that your edges underneath will be more transparent when the shade is lit up. So one trick I used was to overlap the edges inside with some craft ribbon for a more finished look.
Here it is in our guest space:
By the way, this cream ceramic lamp? $6 dollars at a thrift store.
I love to incorporate linen like fabrics wherever I can, and especially where they won’t rub up against anything and instantly wrinkle. Up close, I’m just loving this texture.
Notice how the craft ribbon helps hide the edges that you could ordinarily see from above.
Finally, I repurposed a tan shade on a floor lamp that was too boring for me. I’ve recently spruced up the hallway corner outside my master bedroom, and wanted to inject some glamour. Me? Inject glamour? Unheard of. Absurd.
Clearly, this next shade is not for everyone, but it’s me having a little fun.
Here’s the Before and After:
Someone wrote to me last week and asked me about recovering a lamp shade. Dear me, if only I could remember who, but this lovely friend inquired about creating her own version of this Estuary lampshade from Anthropologie described as ‘snug rivulets of meandering twill’.
I was inspired. The thought it would be fun to recreate something similar. But I wanted something less symmetric. More like a couture gown. And made with a shimmery silk like fabric.
So I came up with this.
A little bit funky.
But I kind of like it.
All I did was form the pattern on the shade with the glue. It was never the same with each application. I was always changing the pattern ever so slightly to avoid symmetry.
I pinched and puckered and worked my way around.
Then I pleated the top with my fingers and hot glue as I went around.
It all ended with some more gathering underneath, secured with hot glue.
The quirky up close shot:
It reminds me of this Ian Stuart gown.
But perhaps I’m puffing myself up.
Ha ha ha. Puffing myself up, indeed.
So for now, here’s the little reading corner where it sits.
I just created this space this week outside my master bedroom. It used to be my dreaded laundry corner where I would store my unfolded piles. But I wanted to have a place to read books with my children, so I borrowed this chair from my mom. Thanks mom !
And this golden side table came from, you guessed it, a thrift store. It reminds me of something Kelly Wearstler would use in a room. She’s always accenting with bronze and gold.
Some favorite accessories:
The last bloom from my ‘Iceberg’ floribunda roses.
I highly recommend this ever so soft chenille throw blanket from Target. $15 dollars !
Who needs cashmere when blankets are this soft ?
And look who’s already curled up in this lovely little corner.
Just a few lampshade upgrades in the CG household.
Now I know so many of you have recovered your own lampshades, but it’s way too late for me to research and find all of the links, so if you’ve also done your own version of a shade, do share, and add your link in the comment field.
Here’s to upgrading our spaces with our hot glue guns in hand !