How to Re-Cover a Lampshade

No need to find a professional.

Why throw away a perfectly good lamp just because the shade screams “hand-me-down from Grandma”? Upgrade your lampshade and refresh a room with this easy DIY project. Here’s how:

1. Create the pattern. Spread butcher or craft paper on a flat surface such as a table or the floor. Place the lampshade on the paper on its side, with the seam pressed against the paper. With the seam as your beginning and end point, use a pencil to trace the length of the bottom of the shade by carefully rolling it across the paper one revolution. Do the same for the top of the shade, taking care to align the bottom with your pencil line.  Cut out the resulting shape, which will be your pattern.

2. Cut the fabric. On the same flat surface, spread out the fabric with the “good side” facing down. Place the pattern on the “bad side” of the fabric and affix it with pins or a spray adhesive. Cut the fabric in the shape of the pattern, leaving a ½ inch to an inch extra on all sides. Remove the pattern.

3. Finish the edges. Fold in the extra fabric on each side to make a hem and pin in place. Ultimately, the top and bottom hems will be tucked under the edges of the shade, so be sure the height of your hemmed cover is greater than that of the shade itself. Iron the hems for a clean edge and finish with a sewing machine or fabric glue.

4. Glue the fabric to the shade. With the fabric laid out so that the hems are facing you, place the shade on the fabric. Spray a portion of the shade with spray adhesive and affix the fabric to it. Smooth the fabric and pull it taught before spraying the next portion of the shade and repeating the process. Continue to stretch and smooth the fabric as you go to eliminate wrinkles or bubbles.

5. Secure the edges. Use a glue gun or fabric glue to adhere the two ends of the fabric to the shade, one on top of the other. To secure the top and bottom edges of your new lampshade cover, apply fabric glue to the insides of the hems and tuck them under rims of the shade. Press the edges tightly with your fingers and use clothespins or small binder clips to hold them in place as they dry.

6. Admire your work. When you’re sure the glue has dried, remove the clips or clothespins and attach the rehabbed shade to the lamp. Grandma’s old hand-me-down never looked so grand!


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Originally Published in Reader's Digest