How to cover a lampshade
I decided to cover a plain old white lampshade with fabric.
I had a general plan in my head of how to go about covering it, but since I’ve never done this before, I really didn’t know exactly what the end result would be. Turns out, I love it! It’s a relatively easy project, so here’s a tutorial:
1. Lay your lampshade on its side on a large piece of paper (like a sheet of wrapping paper). Starting at the seam where the existing shade is glued together, slowly trace a line onto the paper along the top and bottom edge of the shade while you roll it.
Draw a dot or an “X” to mark the beginning of each line.
When you’ve traced along the entire top and bottom edge of the shade and are back at the seam again, keep drawing your lines about an inch past the seam, and draw an “X” to mark the end of each line. It should look something like this:
2. On both ends, use a ruler to draw a straight line from the “X” on the top line to the “X” on the bottom line.
3. Cut out the pattern along the lines and pin it to the wrong side of your fabric.
4. Cut your fabric along the edge of the pattern.
5. At this point, you should make sure the fabric fits the lampshade. It should reach the very edge of the top and the bottom of the shade, and should overlap itself by about an inch at the seam.
6. When you’re sure it’s the right fit, spray the wrong side of the fabric with a spray adhesive (make sure it works on fabrics). I used Elmer’s Craft Bond Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive.
7. Lay the fabric — sticky side UP — on the table, and place the lampshade on top of it, lining up one edge of the fabric with the lampshade’s seam.
8. Stick the fabric to the lampshade by rolling the shade along the fabric, pressing firmly as you go.
9. When you get to the end of the fabric, fold the raw edge under a half inch.
10. Glue and press it onto the shade. (Note: I very carefully sprayed it with my Elmer’s adhesive, but a hot glue gun would probably be a cleaner option.)
If you don’t want to turn the seam under, or you just don’t like how it turned out, you can cover it with ribbon to hide the seam (more on that later).
11. Cut two pieces of ribbon — one to wrap around the top edge and one to wrap around the bottom edge of the lampshade. Each piece should overlap itself by about a half inch at the seam.
12. Use some sort of sticky substance (preferably a hot glue gun, although I used spray adhesive) to attach the bottom half (lengthwise) of your ribbon to the top edge of the lampshade.
Start the ribbon at the fabric’s seam, and adhere the ribbon to the shade as you go, letting the top half of the ribbon “hang” over the edge. It should overlap at the seam by about a half inch, if you’ve cut it correctly.
13. Fold the top half of the ribbon over, pressing it against the inside of the shade.
(Note: The inside of mine is a bit messy, which I believe could have been avoided by using a hot glue gun instead of spray adhesive.)
14. Repeat steps 12 and 13 on the bottom edge of the shade.
15. If you’d like to cover your seam, cut another piece of ribbon that is about an inch longer than the height of the shade.
16. Adhere the ribbon to the shade so that it covers the seam, leaving a half inch of extra ribbon at the top and bottom. Fold the extra ribbon over and adhere it to the inside of the shade. (Again, I used spray adhesive, but a hot glue gun would probably be cleaner.)
And you’re done!
The whole project took me less than an hour to complete, and it was a lot of fun. The only thing I would do differently (as I mentioned several times throughout the tutorial) is to use a hot glue gun instead of the spray adhesive for the final steps. Also, you could probably replace the ribbon with fabric binding or some other type of trim. So many options!
If anyone decides to try this project, please let me know how it turns out.