DIYdiy projects

diy project: lia’s custom lampshades

by Kate Pruitt

Vintage lampshades have loads of character; you can’t find shades like them in stores today. The sizes, shapes and fittings are the perfect fit for vintage lamps. However, they are often in dire need of an update. In an effort to recycle every last piece of a lamp pair instead of buying new, I started to recover the original shades in fabric. It’s a quick, easy and fun process. I love being able to fully customize the shades with the fabric of my choosing, rather than being limited by the minimal options available in stores. You can use this technique to revamp any boring lampshade to suit your decor. — Lia Fagan

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • fabric
  • lampshade
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • kraft paper or scrap paper (to create shade template)
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • spray adhesive
  • fabric glue
  • iron


1. Create a template. Trace your lampshade with a pencil by rolling it along craft paper, using the seam as a guide for your starting and ending points.

2. Cut out the paper template and do a test fit around your shade. Trim up the edges if necessary.

3. Lay out your fabric (right side down) and attach your template with pins. Be aware of the fabric direction and make sure to align your template accordingly. In this case, I aligned the template so that the large flower bunches would be centered on the finished shade.

4. Cut out your fabric. Leave an extra 1 1/2″ around the perimeter of the template for hemming.

5. Leaving the template in place, fold the raw edges of the top and bottom inward and pin.

6. Remove the template. Hem the top and bottom edges using a sewing machine. Hem only one of the short sides, using the same method.

7. Iron your fabric to ensure that all wrinkles are removed before adhering it to the shade.

8. Lay the shade on the fabric, seam side up. In a well-ventilated area, apply spray adhesive to the shade in small sections and smooth the fabric over as you go.

9. Attach the raw end of the fabric to the shade first, then overlap it with the finished end. Secure the finished end to the shade with fabric glue.

10. Apply fabric glue to the inside edges of the fabric at the top and bottom. Fold them into the shade, pressing firmly.


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  • I love the lamp shade but I have the same sewing machine cabinet it belonged to my grandmother and my husband put my electric Singer sewing machine in,now days I don’t sew and then I think I will sell it but so far I haven’t, you did a great job on the lamp shade.

  • I loved your instructions but I need to be able to print instructions out so if you can put on site printing button I would love to use your instructions. Thank-you in advance…Carmen

  • what is the name of that fabric?!? I have been hunting for a floral like that!!
    No fabric land stores in the US i called and they also do not do orders over the phone bummer =( If you Have the name of the fabric that would be most helpful maybe i can track it down that way??

  • So, need to create a template that is 1.5″ beyond the edge of the lamp, but hem 1/2 ” or 3/4″ or 1″ in order to have overlap 1/2″ and glue inside the shade?

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