Have you ever been at the thrift store and have seen lamps that look like this one?
I’m sure you have.
Ugly….brassy… The kind of lamp that you just keep right on walking past.
This time, however, I stopped. Thank God I did.
I knew it had potential. The only thing is that I didn’t like the lamp shades, so I just switched them. I hope the thrift store didn’t mind!!
Ugly DIY Lamp Makeover – “How To” Tutorial
Okay, so you probably have some old lamps in your house, or some at your thrift store, and are needing some new sleep-friendly lighting in your room, too. Here’s what you need to get started!
Go Grab These Materials
- An old lamp with a lampshade
- Pretty paper or lightweight fabric (I bought this fine paper from Paper Source)
- Spray adhesive
- Pencil or pen
- Tracing paper (or anything to make a pattern)
- Hot glue
- Ribbon or a couple strips of paper or fabric (whichever material you’re using)
STEP 1: Grab an Old Lamp
Hit your favorite thrift store or shop your house for an old lamp. If you’ve got an old shade, great! Shades can be expensive, so if you can find a thrifted one or reuse one in your house, that’s best. Here’s mine from the thrift store, for $10. Yes, just $10! It actually doesn’t look too bad (until you get up close……).
I loved that this one had a swing out arm. It will be perfect near the bed, for reading.
STEP 2: Strip the Shade
Yep, you can strip a shade! I just discovered this after ripping this one apart. :). Saving the shade will save you big money!
Remove the edges, too.
Poor, pathetic shade….. All stripped and ready for a makeover! (Looks like my driveway needs a makeover, too! Blech!)
STEP 3: Remove the Old Bulb
These older bulbs are getting the boot! Seriously, with so many “high tech” bulbs on the market now, you can do a lot more for the environment by getting energy efficient ones.
STEP 4: Get Some Gorgeous Paper (or Fabric)
To cover a lamp shade, you can use any type of paper, or even fabric (although I wouldn’t use a totally thick fabric that would block the light; keep it lightweight).
This paper, you guys……oooooohh, mannnnn…..I have loved it since I bought it probably 2 years ago. I picked it up from Paper Source (they have the best selection of fine papers for just a few bucks!) and wanted to do something special with it, but never knew what to do with it! So I
hoarded it held onto it until that perfect project came along, and it was this project that inspired me to put it to good use.
STEP 5: Trace a Pattern
I’m not going to lie. I didn’t know how to do this. It’s always baffled me how to fit a piece of paper or fabric around a curved lamp shade (I told you that DIY bloggers don’t know everything, did I?). I went to trusty ‘ole YouTube, however, and used this video tutorial to get me started.
I started by laying out my pattern paper and aligning the seam of the lamp along a line on the grid of the paper. That’s the “starting point.”
Then I rolled the lamp shade on its side along the paper, tracing with my pencil along the bottom edge until I reached the seam again. And then I repeated that rolling and tracing with the top edge of the lamp shade. I added 1/2″ seam allowances to all sides.
I connected the top and bottom lines at the ends of the pattern.
Once completed, the pattern looked like this. Then I cut it out with scissors.
STEP 6: Cut Your Paper or Fabric
Once I cut out the pattern, I laid the cut-out pattern on my paper and cut it out. Here’s what it looked like when I was done:
What you don’t see is that I actually had to piecemeal small pieces together because I didn’t have enough paper. LOL 🙂 Don’t let this confuse you. It was just me being creative and stubborn because I reeeeaaaallly wanted to use this paper, despite the shortage.
TIP: When you’re done with your pattern, roll it up and store it. If you decide in the future you want to change the lamp shade again, you’ll already have a pattern! 🙂 Label it.
STEP 7: Spray the Backside and Adhere
Spray adhesive works great for adhering the paper to the lampshade. Be careful that you’ve got the placement exactly where you want it to be. This stuff is super tacky and paper will tear if you have to pull off to try to adjust. Fabric is easier to adjust, FYI.
I sprayed both the backside of the paper and the lampshade itself.
I laid my lamp shade down on the edge, lining up the seam with the edge of the paper and began rolling the same onto the paper, smoothing as I went. I made sure that I kept that 1/2″ seam allowance so that I can roll the paper over the lamp shade edge. One edge was folded down 1/2″ and I used that to overlap over the seam.
Next I cut a strip of paper to use on the inside to “finish” off the raw edges of the paper. If you have ribbon, great. I just wanted to use paper. I used a glue gun to do this part (not shown).
With the inside trim, it looks great!
STEP 8: Paint the Lamp
I love chalk paint because it doesn’t require sanding or priming. You just open up the can and go! (Of course, make sure you wipe all the grime off your lamp first!). I usually do two coats for even coverage.
I used Old White, one of my favorites! (A rubber band on the top keeps the side clean from paint when you’re dabbing off the excess paint. I know you shouldn’t technically dip your brush in the paint, but…..well….why dirty up a paint cup??. LOL).
STEP 9: Transform the Rest of Your Lamps!
After covering one lamp shade, I honestly think I’m addicted now. It was soooo easy; cost just $15 ($10 for the lamp, $5 for the spray adhesive). For that price, I’m going to make over a lot more of the lighting in this house! Why stop at just the bedroom??
BEFORE – STRIPPED SHADE
….with my cute son, Ohene, acting silly.
Have you ever did a DIY lamp makeover before? Leave a comment and add to the discussion!
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