Learn how to cover a lampshade! Redecorating can be very rewarding. Choosing the fabric, making new curtains, changing wall colors, and then there are the accessories like a lampshade. You like the shape of the shade, and the size fits the stand perfectly, but now the colors do not match your new lounge or bedroom theme! Is it easy to cover a lampshade you are asking yourself? Well, armed with the right glue and your fabric, this is not such a difficult task. Find the right materials, follow these simple step-by-step instructions, and away you go!
How to Cover a Lampshade
Materials for Recovering a Lamp Shade:
- SHADE - The lamp shade frame. It can be straight and round like a drum or tapered. Straight lamps are the easiest to cover.
- FABRIC - The best fabrics to use are quilting cotton or decorator fabrics. They are usually 100% cotton and of a medium thickness. Thin fabrics like silk or polyester are not recommended as they are hard to get smooth and will show glue bumps. It is best to use smaller prints as larger prints may be cut up.
- GLUE - Spray on adhesive or a hot glue gun.
- MARKING TOOLS - Water soluble marking pen.
- CUTTING TOOLS - Scissors and pinking shears. A rotary cutter could also be used.
- MISC - Clothes pegs or clamps are useful to hold the fabric in place.
Here is a Step by Step Approach for a Basic Lampshade Covering.
Step 1 - Planning the Fabric
- Lay out the fabric and iron it well to remove any wrinkles or fold lines.
- Roll the fabric shade across or down the fabric to decide on the best direction for any patterns. Take careful note of your placement if the fabric as a one direction or large print.
Step 2 - Make a Pattern
Although you can draw directly on the fabric, I usually make a paper pattern first to eliminate any mistakes. Brown paper rolls are great for this. Alternatively, stick a few sheets of printer paper together.
Trace the wire edge on the paper by rolling it along the wrong side of the piece of fabric. If you start rolling at the seam, you will know when you have reached back to the beginning.
Mark the lines and draw for the exact measurement for the fabric to fit from the top of the shade to the bottom. For a straight lampshade, your pattern will be a rectangle. If you have a tapered shade, the pattern will be curved at the top and bottom.
Add seam allowances of 1 inch (2.5cm) at the top and bottom, and 2 inches (5cm) on either side. It is better to have too much on the sides and cut it down than to have your fabric end up too short.
Cut out your paper pattern and hold it around your lampshade just to check its fit.
Step 3 - Cut the Fabric
Cut out the fabric you have marked for the cover with pinking shears. The pinked edge gives a neat finish to the inside and minimizes fraying. My grey fabric was a decorator fabric that didn't fray too much so I just used a straight cut edge.
Step 4 - Apply the Glue
Use a spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the frame. Spray the fabric edge first and then roll the frame along and as you roll the frame along turn the glued fabric over the frame and use your pegs or clamps to hold the fabric together while the glue dries. It is possible to use a hot glue gun instead but just be careful not to use too much or create large blobs that may show through.
Use extra spray adhesive to fold and overlap the fabric at the end to finish the recovering neatly. You can add some ribbon or corded tape to the inside to neaten and strengthen the edges.
Clip around the excess at the top and bottom so it sits better when you turn it to the inside. By now your spray glue may have dried a little so you may need another coat on the edges. If you have any frame arms on the edges, place a clip at that spot.
Fold the edges to the inside. You can see how the fabric was placed on either side of the metal arm.
More Lampshade Ideas:
Here are some other tips and suggestions for recovering a simple lampshade:
- Use a stiff card or paper to make the shade and then paint a design or cut out pictures and collage a design.
- Dip and dye - This is an interesting bi-colored effect. Cover the shade and then dip it into a color of your choice up to a certain level of the shade. Use a tub or basin for the paint. Gently put the lampshade into the tub until it reaches the bottom. This will dye the shade to a particular level. Remove and allow to dry.
- Fancy a golden glow to add ambience to your lounge? Try spraying the inside of the shade with gold spray paint. Add two coats for extra strength. Paint the outside with black or cover with black fabric. Turn on the light and admire the golden glow.
- If you are a creative artist get out your fabric paints and paint your own lampshade design.
- Decoupage is another creative way to decorate a lampshade.
- Dot art is popular these days. Use the principle of dot art to design a series of dots on the shade that will show as a lovely pattern when the light is turned on.
- Pleat the fabric and add some fringing. This gives a really funky ‘boho’ effect.
- Subtle fabric stencil designs - Glue a stencil into the inside of the lampshade. Use a brush and some paint to brush a dark colored paint into the stencil. Allow the paint to dry before removing the stencil. Switch on the light and admire the silhouette design you have created.
- Recycle a t-shirt - Put the shirt over the shade to the bottom. Use a hot glue gun and scrunch the shirt up as you cover the shade.
- Rope winding can add a very interesting border. Choose some rustic string or plain rope. Wrap a few rows of rope at the top and bottom of the shade.
- Take some beautiful satin ribbon and wrap it round the bottom of the shade and then create a beautiful bow.
How to Cover a Lampshade - In Conclusion
Generally, a lamp adds that extra bit of ambiance to a room. Decorating your lampshade to suit the look and feel of the room, and using colors or fabrics that compliment the overall décor, can make a huge difference to the atmosphere of the room.
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