How to Make Fabric Lamp Shades

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Covering a lamp shade with fabric is the perfect way to spruce up your home's decor. This project is quick, easy and doesn't require sewing!

Custom lamp shade.
Custom lamp shade. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Things You'll Need

  • Lamp shade
  • Lint roller
  • Fabric
  • Ribbon or trim
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors 
  • Iron
  • Spray adhesive
  • Super glue
Supplies for this project.
Supplies for this project. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 1: Clean the Lamp Shade

Use a lint roller to remove any dust or hairs from the surface of the lamp shade. The new layer of fabric will bond best to a clean surface.

Remove the dust.
Remove the dust. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 2: Make a Pattern

Align the seam of the lamp shade with the edge of a piece of paper and trace the bottom and top edge.

Trace the lamp shade.
Trace the lamp shade. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Roll the lamp shade across the paper and draw a line along the top and bottom edge as you roll. Continue until the seam returns to the paper. Re-roll the shade along the pattern to make sure it was traced correctly. Cut out the paper pattern along the pencil line.

Roll the lamp shade to trace from seam to seam.
Roll the lamp shade to trace from seam to seam. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Tip

  • If you don't have a large piece of paper, tape a few sheets together.

Step 3: Cut Out the Fabric

Lay the paper pattern piece onto the fabric. If there is a print, pay attention to the direction of the design and align it with the pattern. Place a heavy object onto the pattern piece to keep it in place as you cut it out. Cut the fabric approximately 3 inches from the edge of the paper pattern on all four sides.

Cut out the pattern piece.
Cut out the pattern piece. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 4: Prepare the Fabric

Iron out any creases in the fabric. Use the lint roller to remove loose threads or hairs.

Iron the fabric.
Iron the fabric. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 5: Apply Adhesive

Lay the fabric down on a flat surface with the printed side, or the side you want displayed, facing down. Hold the can of spray adhesive approximately 8 inches away and spray evenly across the back side of the fabric.

Spray the fabric with adhesive.
Spray the fabric with adhesive. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 6: Cover the Lamp Shade

While the adhesive is still wet, place the lamp shade onto the fabric near an edge. Roll the lamp shade onto the fabric until all of the fabric is attached to the shade.

Attach the fabric to the shade.
Attach the fabric to the shade. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 7: Finish the Edges

Finish the side seam.

Crease the vertical edge of the fabric to create a straight line and trim off excess fabric leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Trim the side seam.
Trim the side seam. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Fold the raw edge of the fabric under itself and place a line of super glue at the edge of the fold. Press the seam down with your fingers to secure the fabric to the shade.

Glue the side seam.
Glue the side seam. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Finish the top and bottom.

Trim the excess fabric leaving an inch of seam allowance along the top and bottom edge of the lamp shade.

Trim the edges.
Trim the edges. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Make a vertical cut in the fabric where the wire lamp shade supports meet the edge of the shade so that the fabric can wrap around the hardware.

Clip the seam allowance.
Clip the seam allowance. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Place a line of super glue along the edge on the inside of the lamp shade. Fold the seam allowance around the edge and hold for several seconds until the fabric is secured by the glue.

Glue the seam allowance.
Glue the seam allowance. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Tip

  • A hot glue gun will also work well in this step.

Warning

  • If you get super glue on your fingers, quickly wipe it off with a wet cloth before the glue dries.

Optional: Apply Trim

Place a small line of glue along the raw edge of the fabric on the inside of the lamp shade. Place the trim on top of the raw edge and hold until secured by the glue.

Apply trim to finish the raw edge.
Apply trim to finish the raw edge. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Tip

  • When choosing a fabric, consider how the pattern will fit onto the lamp shade. Stripes can be tricky unless your lamp shade is a perfect cylinder. Also consider the transparency of the fabric. A light fabric will allow the shade to glow, while a dark or thick fabric will dim the light.

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