I’ve had two shade-less lamps sitting on a console table by the back door for a good 6 months. They combined two trends … geometric style and a gold finish. In someone else’s house, they would have looked great as they were. But in my house? Not so much. So, after staring at them for half a year, inspiration finally struck and I decided to spray them a fun color.
If you’ve looked at all at my home tour, you’ll see that my house has a LOT of white. And I like it that way but lately I feel like it’s been screaming for some color. After successfully adding a pop of blue in the kitchen with these barstools, I’m getting braver as I tackle other areas of the house. These lamps got a coral spray paint treatment and I love them. But I hadn’t thought ahead as to where I might find lamp shades to match a coral lamp base. White would have worked, and been safe, but I wanted more of a statement. My only option? DIY-ing the shades.
The tutorial is focused on the DIY lamp shade, but I’ll add some pics on the bottom as to how I painted the base in case you’re curious.
DIY Fabric Covered Lamp Shade
Spray adhesive (this kind works well)
Glue gun / glue sticks
1/2 – 1/3 yard of fabric of your choice (the fabric I used is called Triangles Navy White from Joann – less than $5/yard at the time of this post)
Good quality, sharp sewing scissors (I swear by these)
First, I used a sewing measuring tape (the kind tailors use) to measure the diameter of the larger part of the shade, and then added a couple of inches “just in case”. I measured the height of the shade, and then again added probably 4 inches to allow for trimming and folding the fabric over once the shade was loosely assembled.
I placed the shade on the strip of the fabric so that the seam of the fabric would line up approximately with the existing seem of the shade. I then sprayed the shade with the adhesive spray, a little bit at a time, and then carefully pressed the fabric onto the shade, smoothing it out as I went.
As you can see, because my shade wasn’t a perfect drum and was smaller at the top than at the bottom, I ended up with more fabric on one side than the other because of how the fabric rolled against the shape. (And that’s one of the reason for the extra fabric, to make sure that it can be trimmed so that the ‘hem’ is even all the way around). I cut a straight line where the two pieces of fabric attached. Usually, I would have folded the overlapping fabric’s edge but with the pattern of the fabric, it actually looked better to leave the cut edge as it was. (Plus, the lamp backs to a wall, so no one will see it)
With a good pair of sewing scissors (seriously, don’t use your kid’s scissors here), trim the excess off neatly and evenly all the way around (you will have one more opportunity to tidy up your cut once it’s glued down). You’ll want to leave about 1″ so that you can fold the fabric to the underside of the shade and glue it down.
With your glue gun, start gluing down the fabric to the underside of the shade. Go slowly. You don’t want the glue to dry before you get the fabric stuck to it. Carefully and neatly press down on the fabric to adhere it to the hot glue.
Once the glue has set, get your scissors back out and trim as neatly as possible so that the underside looks uniform, all the way around.
I thought about using some navy or white ribbon on the underside, to cover the fabric and make it look super-neat. I may still do that, but I’m ok with it as it is right now.
Ta-da! Brand new, super economical lamp shade that really makes a statement!
Painting a Lamp
If you’re interested in the lamp painting process, here’s what I did. The lamps are from Target … I don’t see them there anymore, but did see these similar ones at World Market. The spray paint color is called Scarlet (although it’s definitely closer to coral than red). You can find it here, or at the craft store.
First, the prep. I wanted to make sure I didn’t accidentally paint the cord coral, nor did I want to get paint on the socket. So I covered both ends of the lamp in plastic and painters tape.
Then I put it in a medium size box, to contain the spray.
The shape of my lamp required that I spray it multiple times, from multiple different angles to make sure that it was covered and that no gold showed through.
Similar from World Market: