DIY Tutorial: Covering a Lamp Shade with Fabric

*Update: I would use hot glue when possible, for the trim and for the fabric seam. I guess the heat from the bulb might have melted the glue and made the trim begin to fall off. I fixed it with hot glue and it’s fine now. Also, make sure you get your fabric tight! This will prevent air bubbles in your fabric later on. Thanks for reading!

Last week I had to take my car to the shop to have a tire fixed. While I was waiting, I went next door to the Goodwill and found this awesome mid-century modern lamp!! It was $4.75…which = can’t pass this! Especially since they can sell for nearly $100 sometimes! Even though the lamp was cheap, it didn’t come with a shade, and retro lamp shades are hard to find. The only shade I found to fit was very generic and had not so mid-century looking white ruffle fabric on it.


  • Big sheet of paper (wrapping paper, trace paper, brown paper)
  • Pen
  • Lamp Shade
  • Fabric/Trims
  • Spray Adhesive & Hot Glue

First, I ripped off that white fabric that was on the shade. I took tracing paper and made my pattern. Start your shade at a 45 degree angle on the paper since the pattern is going to have a curve shape to it. This allows it to roll across the paper at a diagonal. Do a test roll so your shade doesn’t roll off the paper. Start your line where the shade has the seam.

Take your marker and roll it along with the edge of the shade while you roll the shade across the paper. Do this for the two ends of the shade. Then add on 1/2″ on each side for a seam allowance.

Cut out your pattern to have a 1/2″ allowance all around your line. You can double check here to make sure your pattern goes all the way around the shade correctly.

Pin the pattern onto the Right side of your fabric. If you have stripes or a linear pattern, pin the pattern so your lines will run straight across the shade. Cut 1/2″ outside the pattern. You can trim down any excess fabric, but it’s good to make sure there’s enough!

Test that your fabric is going to cover the shade first. Then take fabric glue (or spray glue) and start your fabric’s raw edge on the seam of the lamp.

After attaching the beginning of the fabric at the lamp shade’s seam, begin applying spray glue little sections at a time, spraying both on the shade and the fabric. The kind I bought worked really well. As you glue on each fabric section onto the shade, make sure the fabric is taut and smooth out any bubbles.

When you’ve reached the seam, trim excess fabric and fold it over on itself to make a finished edge. Glue with either fabric or spray glue. I liked the spray glue better because it was stickier and dried quickly. You can take a light iron after finishing the shade to make this seam flat.

Then fold the fabric to the undersides of the shade. I used the spray glue here too.

You can give the inside of the shade a finished look by gluing ribbon or bias tape on the inside to cover the fabric’s raw edges.

I added some velvet ribbon around the bottom and top edges of the shade. I just used spray glue again, spraying it on the back of the ribbon, and used clothes pins to hold it while it dried. You can get really creative by using different types of trims and ribbons.

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