DIY Lampshade – Enlightenment!


Our screened porch is our favorite room “in” the house. Although this year, I have to admit I am yearning for the cooler days of Fall to settle in for a bit so we can truly enjoy it.

Anticipating some fresh, cooler weather, I decided this well loved sanctuary needed some freshening itself, starting with a sadly abused lampshade. We have the perfect (heavy and indestructible) lamp that sits on a workhorse of a cabinet (next in line for a facelift). Yes, there’s a roof overhead, but the weather still manages to infiltrate quite a bit, so things like lampshades, just don’t hold up like inside.

Part of the porch facelift includes adding some fresh color – pale blues and greens (think sea glass) to brighten the taupe, black, white and deep red.


During an online search, I was taken by this lamp:Screen shot 2012-07-27 at 1.06.26 PM

I liked the appearance of aged stenciling on linen. I liked the subtlety of the graphics that complimented the lamp base rather than overpower it.

But the shade was not sold separately, wasn’t really my color palette, is a tad bit old world for my porch. But it was perfect to serve as my muse – my inspiration.


With this self-adhesive lamp shade from Conso at JoAnn’s:

DSCF6878and a piece of wonderful linen I pulled from my fabric stash I was set to begin the first of piece of porch brightening and lightening in hopes of washing away the oppressive heat of this summer.



Now for the stenciling. I had a couple of stencils on hand but neither were the right scale for the shade. If I was going to make my own without the aid of a cricut or silhouette (which are still on my Christmas list – are you reading this Doug?), then I ought to keep the design simple.

So out came a piece of leftover self-adhesive fabric laminate and my circle cutter. I cut 4 different size circles and then cut out the centers, approximately 1/8-inch smaller. Threw out those skinny little “donuts”. DSCF6885

I peeled off the backing and before I could overthink it,  I started sticking the larger outer “background” randomly on the fabric with the corresponding inner “hole” intentionally off kilter just a bit, so one side of the circle would be thicker than the other. Mixed up some paint in varying shades of taupe and cream and dabbed away. Peeled up the circles and repeated randomly overlapping. On a whim, I added one circle of a deep raspberry.

DSCF6880So happy with how it turned out. NOTE TO SELF: Willy Nilly can be good, stop overthinking!

Next it was press and cut. Simply peel the paper outer cover off the shade, lay this paper cover on your fabric and use it as a template. Now, of course, I couldn’t just go with that. I had to add the extra challenge of finishing the top and bottom with a self bias trim. If you are an advanced sewer, go for it. If you’re a beginner it’s perfectly fine to trim the fabric to the exact edge of the shade and cover with adhesive ribbon or trim.DSCF6887

I cut bias strips 1 5/8-inches wide. I cut the upper edge of the lampshade along the edge of the paper pattern and sewed the bias strip at 1/2-inch along that edge. Pressed with seam and the bias up. Laid the pattern along this cut edge and cut the bottom of the lampshade fabric along the pattern. Sewed and pressed like before.DSCF6891

Now for the fun. Starting with the seam, lay the super sticky lampshade on one end of your fabric. Slowly work your way around the shade working out the air bubbles as you go and keeping the edges of your fabric aligned with the edges of the shade.DSCF6896

Then wrap the bias over the edge and secure to the inside upper and lower edges. I used a double sided heat activated tape as that is what I had on hand. Plus I have a small heat tool with a tiny iron head that I’ve been looking for a project to try it out on. Perfect for this job.

And here you have it:

lampshade collage
The beginning of a porch facelift. Yes, I’m just beginning the busiest season for my Etsy shop, so there’s no way it will be completed for Fall watch parties, I’m hoping for next Spring.

And I’m hoping my lampshade and this project will inspire you.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Happy to lend a guiding hand. Yes, I was a bit worried about the weight of the linen, but the adhesive is super strong and so far it’s been great. I am toying with giving it a coat or two of a matte varnish to protect it from all the dirt, dust and pollen that blows in. I’m thinking that way I could wipe it with a damp cloth.


2 Responses to “DIY Lampshade – Enlightenment!”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Marianne says:

    Were there any fire retardant regulations that needed to be taken into consideration regarding the fabric used for the lampshade?

    • admin says:

      Thanks for asking Marianne.

      No, because the shade is between the lampshade and the fabric – basically that is your barrier. The shades have open tops with significant space between the bulb and the shade so there is no opportunity for the heat to build up inside the shade.

Leave A Comment...