How to Cover a Lamp Shade with Fabric in 9 Steps

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Accent lamps add interest and style to our homes. How to customize a lamp shade? Use fabric. Here’s how to cover a lamp shade with fabric in 9 steps.

I love a beautiful lamp to add light, ambiance, and warmth to any space. When you need more than just a plain white shade, a customized one adds so much style to your home decor.

How do you cover a lamp shade with fabric? There is more than one way. I’m going to show you I recently covered one for a special lamp in our kitchen.

A lamp in the kitchen? Yes. Like any accessory, a lamp adds a focal point. A little surprise. Color, pattern, and texture.

This project is part of our monthly DIY Challenge hosted by Terrie of Decorate and More with Tip. This is a project I’ve had on my to~do list for quite awhile. So the time was perfect.

9 STEPS TO COVER A LAMP SHADE WITH FABRIC

This post contains affiliate links to products used to create this project. If you should order any product through this site, I may be compensated, but you will not pay a penny more.

This isn’t the first time I’ve covered a lampshade with fabric. It’s so easy and impactful that when I have the right lamp for the right space, it is my go~to way to make a lamp stand out.

Here are the steps I recommend. You can have a stylish lamp in a few hours.

STEP 1 ~ CHOOSE YOUR LAMP

The lamp comes before the shade. The height, width, and style of the lamp dictate the size and shape of the shade. The bigger the lamp the larger the shade. Also, the bigger the shade, the more it costs.

For this lamp project, my lamp was a small silver lamp that I’ve had for many years. I had a friend who had a business making lamps from silver containers, vases, pitchers.

This lamp is about 7 inches tall and 9 inches wide.

silver lamp from pitcher

Although this type of lamp doesn’t tarnish, I thought it would be a good idea to clean it. As usual, I used my favorite silver polish wipes. I always buy three boxes at a time.

These wipes are the best thing I’ve found for cleaning silver. It did removed some tarnish and give the lamp a bit of shine.

polished silver lamp

Whatever type of lamp base you use, I would make sure that it is clean before proceeding with the lamp shade.

STEP 2 ~ HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT LAMP SHADE?

The size and shape of the lamp shade should compliment the size and shape of your lamp. You may have to try a few to get the right size.

REMEMBER: The bigger the shade, the more it costs.

As it happened, I have several lamp shades that I’ve bought over the years. Several years ago, I bought a pair of these silver “silk” shades at an estate sale. The price sticker was still on it.

I’ve never used them. I thought the shape, height and diameter would work perfectly for this lamp.

  • Lamp shades that are drum shape or fairly straight from top to bottom work best for covering with fabric.
  • The shade should also have a smooth finish without ruffling or shirring.
  • Fabrics such as cotton or something that doesn’t have any texture work best.
  • Parchment paper lamp shades also work well for covering with fabric.

This lamp shade is 6 inches tall. The top is 5 inches in diameter and the bottom is 6 inches.

silver lamp with grey lamp shade

NOTE: Well~made lamp shades are not inexpensive. Unless you luck out at an estate sale like I did, focus on the right size, shape and dimensions you need.

STEP 3 ~ HOW TO CHOOSE THE FABRIC FOR YOUR LAMP SHADE?

REMEMBER: A drum shade or a straight~sided rectangular shade is the easiest to work with. The more slanted the shade, the more the pattern on the fabric becomes distorted.

Choosing the right fabric is not just about color. Pattern is very important.

Stripes on a drum shade will work, but on a very slanted shade, the stripes will be wonky.

This stripe lamp shade and this one work well because the shades are round and straight sided.

WHAT TYPE OF FABRIC WORKS BEST FOR COVERING A LAMP SHADE?

  • Cotton, linen or even quilting fabric work well.
  • Do not use fabric that is stretchy or has too much texture.
  • Light upholstery fabric will work
  • The best fabrics have smaller patterns with an overall design.

Since my lamp would go in my kitchen, I knew that my fabric needed to have a soft blue color.

I also wanted to find a small pattern or one with an abstract design. I found this one at Joann. I bought a yard for about $6.00.

blue and white abstract fabric design

This color would go well with the blue accent tile in our kitchen. The design would be easy to work with on my lamp shade.

STEP 4 ~ COVER YOUR WORK SURFACE

Since you will be using an adhesive, cover your work surface with newspaper or craft paper to project it.

STEP 5 ~ GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES

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STEP 6 ~ HOW TO MAKE YOUR PAPER PATTERN?

  • Set your craft paper on your work surface. Place your lamp shade on its side.
  • Using your pencil, draw a line at least 1 inch from the edge of the lamp shade. You can start either at the top or the bottom of the shade.
  • As you roll the lamp shade, continue drawing the line.
  • When you have completed the circumference of the lamp shade, remove the lamp shade.
  • Draw a straight line from the top line to the bottom on both sides. On one side, give at least 1~inch extra in width.
  • With regular scissors, cut out your paper pattern.
  • Wrap the paper pattern around the lamp shade to make sure it covers circumference of the shade and you have an extra 1 inch on the top and bottom.

STEP 7 ~ HOW TO COVER THE LAMP SHADE WITH FABRIC?

  • Place one layer of your fabric on your work surface. If necessary, iron the fabric first.
  • Place your paper pattern on top of the fabric with one straight edge against one straight edge of the fabric.
  • Pin or clip the paper pattern to the fabric. I used these quilt clips.
paper pattern on blue fabric
  • Use your good sewing scissors to cut our your fabric.
fabric cut for lamp shade
  • Wrap the fabric around the lamp shade to make sure you have cut out the fabric correctly.
fabric wrapped around lamp shade
  • Attach the fabric to the lamp shade. I have used Mod Podge in the past for this step. I decided this time to use a spray adhesive.
  • Holding the lamp shade at the top, spray it with the fabric adhesive on about half the shade from top to bottom.
  • Line up one of the straight edges of the fabric on the seam of the lamp shade. Use your fingers to rub and press down on the fabric.
  • Lay the fabric down on the lamp shade, turning the shade as you go. Use your fingers to smooth down the fabric.
  • Repeat spraying the adhesive on the rest of the lamp shade. Continue smoothing down the fabric around the rest of the shade. Leave the last 1 inch of fabric unattached.
  • Light spray the adhesive on the straight edge of the edge. Fold the fabric over by 1/2~inch and press to adhere the “hemmed” edge.
  • Lightly spray the adhesive on the folded edge and press down on the lamp shade, covering the raw edge of the fabric.
fabric wrapped around lamp shade
  • Run your fingers around the entire lamp shade, smoothing the fabric on the shade.
fabric wrapped around lamp shade

STEP 8 ~ HOW TO TRIM AND FINISH THE LAMP SHADE?

  • Using your small sharp scissors, trim the excess fabric at the top and bottom of the lamp shade. Keep the scissors close the edge of the shade as you go around it.
trimming fabric from lamp shade
  • Run your finger around the top and bottom of the lamp shade to test for a smooth edge.
  • If necessary, go back around the edges of the lamp shade and clip off any extra fabric.
fabric covered lamp shade
  • Open your package of double bias tape. I chose a light blue color to compliment the lamp shade fabric.
  • Don’t cut the bias tape. Lay it on your work surface, opening the folded edge.
  • Lightly spray the adhesive on several inches of bias tape.
  • Fold the bias tape over the edge of the lamp shade (either the top or the bottom) at the seam of the shade.
  • Use your fingers to press the bias tape on both sides of the shade.
adding trim to lamp shade
  • Continue spraying and attaching the bias tape around circumference edge of the lamp shade. Try to keep the folded edge on the top or just inside the lamp shade.
  • Add more adhesive where necessary on the inside of the bias tape.
  • Where the wire support of the lamp attaches to the shade, use the small sharp scissors to clip the fabric. Press down the fabric on the sides of the wire.
adding trim to lamp shade
  • When you have the trim wrapped around the lamp shade, cut the tape allowing about an extra 1 inch.
  • Add a little bit of adhesive to the cut edge and fold over the tape. Press down. Then finish attaching to the lamp shade.
adding trim to lamp shade
  • Repeat on the other end of the lamp shade.
adding trim to lamp shade

STEP 9 ~ DISPLAYING THE FABRIC~COVERED LAMP SHADE

  • Attach your lamp shade to your lamp.
  • How you display your lamp is up to you. I placed the lamp on a new stand that I recently made. I’ll share that project in a later post.
  • I created a small vignette in the corner of our kitchen counter. Since it’s Easter season, for now I added a couple of bunnies.
  • I added a stack of cookbooks and a pretty blue pot. I added some new faux flowers that I recently bought at an antique mall.
fabric covered lamp vignette

A few weeks ago, this apothecary jar was full of Easter candy.

Along with the blue and white jars on the shelves, we now have a pretty new vignette in the kitchen.

new fabric-covered lamp shade on kitchen counter

A lamp lit at night is the pretty part, right? Here is the lamp at night.

lamp lit at night

In 9 easy steps you can have a pretty new fabric covered lamp shade. Wherever you use it in your home, it will add color, pattern, interest and style to your rooms.

Here are other fabric~covered lamp shades I’ve made over the years. Here are the DIY instructions for the lamp on the right.

For this lamp shade, I just added fabric and trim to a lamp shade for my DIY chinoiserie lamp.

blue and white chinoiserie lamp

Will you try to cover a lamp shade with fabric? It’s so easy that you should try it. PIN this project so you will have it handy.

pin for later graphic in blue

Now, take a look at the projects my friends have created. You will definitely be inspired.

Terrie – DECORATE AND MORE WITH TIP

Gail – PURPLE HUES AND ME

Emily – LE CULTIVATEUR

Denise – THE HOOTSHACK

Carol – BLUESKY AT HOME

Teresa – THROUGH A VINTAGE DOOR

Jodi – THE HOUSE HOUSE

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12 Comments

  1. This is such a pretty way to totally customize a lamp to any area of your home, Carol! I know we’ve all said at one time or another – “I need to change that lampshade”! Thanks for sharing your easy to follow tutorial! You created a lovely cover!

  2. This turned out amazing!!
    I also did a lamp for the challenge.
    I used an old lampshade I had stored away.
    But now you have me thinking of revamping my revamp… 😊

  3. Your lampshade turned out so cute!!! And, I am completely loving that teapot lamp base! You always create such beauty!!! I love your style!

  4. Thank you for proposing this idea and providing a detailed tutorial. It’s extremely useful. I used these suggestions and now have a new lamp look.

  5. Thanks so much for the step by step Carol! Your tutorials are always spot on and they are so appreciated. Your shade turned out lovely and I’m pinning this to try next month. Thanks again and Happy Easter to you!

  6. Such a beautiful shade! I love the soft blue pattern, it’s very calming. Thanks for sharing it #HomeMattersParty
    Mel
    Home Matters Party
    You’re The Star Blog Hop
    Happiness Is Homemade

  7. This is a great project because if you shop much at thrift stores you will find a lot of ugly lampshades that just needs some TLC to be pretty again. Thanks for sharing all of the steps to do it. #HomeMattersParty

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