Lampshade DIY: C+

If you have not visited, then it is time that you take a 5-minute break and scroll through a few of these (I love this one). It does seem that nearly every attempt I give a pinterest DIY, it comes out looking like a four-year-old did it. In a bad way. Not in a aw, cute, a four-year-old did that kind of way. No, not cute.

The lampshade in Little Girl’s room has been a thorn in my Martha Stewart wannabe side. It began its long life as a pleated, 80s, beige number (you know the type, they’re quite common). I had the brilliant idea that I would sew a burlap replacement for it, which ended up coming out the wrong size. Then I thought about painting over the burlap which looked like a four-year-old threw up on it, so I stripped it again. So this is my third attempt at covering this little guy. Here is what I did (and what you can do to get an A+ instead of my sad C+).

First, gather your supplies: lampshade frame (as in, strip off the fabric and ribbons around the top and bottom), burlap or other fabric, a hot glue gun with several replacement glue sticks, disposable chopsticks or straw (or heck, grab small stick from outside), scrap cardboard.

Lay the burlap flat on a cardboard surface (burlap is so porous that the glue seeps through, so you’ll want cardboard). Moving very quickly, cover a 3-inch (ish) thick vertical section of the lamp shade in hot glue and press the shade down onto the burlap. Gluing in small vertical sections, work your way around the lamp until it is covered by the burlap.

With the excess burlap hanging  below the shade, fold over and glue onto the inside of the shade. This is where the chopsticks (or something like it) come in handy. Using the chopsticks, press the excess burlap down after gluing.

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With the excess burlap on the top of the lampshade, you will need to cut slits where the wire framing is, then continue as you did with the bottom of the shade.

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Ok, here is the first, eh, hiccup. With the seem in what will presumably be the back of the lampshade, you don’t want your burlap/fabric to fray, so I just threw some glue on it. But then it looked like this…


If it is truly not visible, then whatevs, but next time I do this project, I will glue a decorative ribbon over the seem. You could even do some pearly buttons lining it. Mmm. Buttons.

This next step is where things went south. I wanted a strip of fabric at the bottom of the shade. So I cut some strips of fabric.


So far so good. I then glued the seems down (no fraying). This is easier on a sewing machine, but if sewing is not your forte, this is the glued version.


Next step: make sure an adorable baby isn’t eating burlap strings.


Way to go, you saved a baby today. Now, glue the top half of the decorative fabric to the shade the same way you did the burlap (rolling it onto the fabric). Let some fabric hang down because we’re going to fold it over in a minute.


Fold those end seems over before finishing your gluing.


Before your fold the bottom of the fabric up and glue it, cut it in several-inches-long sections for easier gluing.

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Boom. Done. Right?

DSC_0174 DSC_0176 DSC_0177There it is. The wrinkles. Ugh. So this is where most of my points were deducted in my own personal grading system. Any tips, guys? How do you glue this without having shade shape issues? Until I get this figured out, I will not add the extra fabric at the bottom (I may just rip this fabric off, haven’t decided).

Another issue is that with the burlap being so porous, you can see some of the paint through it. So another important step for my shade would have been to spray paint that sucker a neutral, even shade before covering with burlap. It’s not a huge deal in the day, but when in use, it shines for all to see. Ugh.

Welp. There she is. Cute but flawed. Learneth now from my mistakes, eh?


One thought on “Lampshade DIY: C+

  1. I think this idea is really cute. Yes, spray paint over it before the burlap. For the wrinkles, I would either use a print that hides them, or do a kind of pleat on the fabric, which would probably be better sewn. Or a rim of buttons over the top edge? So many possibilities. I think C+ is a little bit harsh. I would say B, A-. 🙂 good job being crafty with a baby! I didn’t craft for three years when my oldest kids were little.

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