DIY: Easy Lamp Makeover

Have a lamp that needs a refresh? So did I. A while back, I bought a pair of ceramic ginger jar lamp bases at the magnificent, annual Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction.  I knew they had potential, and at $2.50 each, it was hardly a gamble. The pale yellow finish was cracked and drab, so I covered them  with Krylon’s high gloss white spray paint. While they didn’t turn out quite as  glossy as I thought they would, it was still a vast improvement over their previous color.

Next, I bought two basic white drum shades at Target and covered them with burlap. On the inside of the shades, I used burlap ribbon from Paper Source, to cover the uneven glued edges. Covering a lampshade with fabric is an inexpensive and simple way to add another layer of texture or pattern to a room, and I’m a big fan.

How much material you’ll need for the project depends on the size of your shade, but take into consideration whether the shade is straight or angled. Angled shades will use more fabric. Here is a basic step by step.

  1. Lay your shade down on top of the fabric piece, lining up the seam on the shade with the edge of the fabric. Then move it in about two or so inches, giving yourself an extra two inches or so, to fold under and make a nice seam at the end.
  2. Use a pencil or fabric marker to trace the bottom edge of the shade as you roll it across the fabric, so that you’ve made a complete turn from the start of the shade, all the way to the other side of it.  Line the shade back up at the start and repeat the tracing with the top edge of the shade.
  3. Make a line connecting the top and bottom lines. Now, add about two inches of height to each the top and bottom lines. This is your pattern. Cut on the outside lines.
  4. To adhere the fabric to the shade you can use fabric glue or hot glue.  Starting at the vertical seam on the shade, glue down the first edge of the fabric. Wrap the fabric around the shade, pulling it taught as you go. Fold under the last couple of inches, to create a clean looking seam and glue.  The trick here is to keep that fabric tight while wrapping and gluing, so the completed product doesn’t look baggy.
  5. Fold the top edges of fabric toward the inside of the shade, and glue as you go. Repeat with the bottom edge.  You can either try to make the folds look nice or use a complementary ribbon, like I did, to cover any jagged edges.

If  you want to further embellish the shade, you can glue a decorative trim or ribbon on the outside bottom and top edges. Here is a before and after of my project!

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