Category Archives: Tutorials

Transforming Lampshades from Blah to Beautiful (AKA: How to Recover a Lampshade)

I feel like the title of this post belongs on the cover of some 1940′s Gibson Girls magazine right next to: “How to Achieve the Perfect Finger Wave.”

But regardless of any retro vibes, I dare any 1940′s woman to wield a glue gun with as much modern day panache as…someone besides me.

Me? I burn myself a lot.

ANYhoo, as a quick refresher, here’s what this corner of my living room looked like not too long ago (when I shared my tufted couch coup with you).

couches

Nothing wrong with it. Nothing at all. I see my dream couch, fun pillows, my favorite chalkboard that I refuse to erase because I do not think I will ever create a better one (not saying it’s that great…just good for my limited skills).

But, if you’ve been following along for any amount of time…you might be a little thrown off by one thing: there’s not much color.

I mean, yes. There’s lots of yellow in the pillows, but the couch, curtains, and lamps are all pretty monochromatic, which is quite unusual for me.

And which I was determined to remedy.

I’ve had those lamps for years now, and I still love them, but long periods of dust accumulation (in between their yearly dusting…ahem) plus some kidhandling (similar to “manhandling” but worse) had left the white shades a little worse for wear.

Plus, they were just a little…blah (hence my throwback post title).

So, what did I do? I dug into my trusty (read: likely to swallow you alive) fabric stash, selected a winner, got my craft on, and came up with this:

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I say that as if I cranked it out during one nap time session, while “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” blared in the background, but the honest-to-goodness truth is that I limped along with 15 minutes here or there until I finally managed to finish them off and grab some pictures last night while my kiddos watched the Aristocats for “family movie night” (Shaun’s traveling, so it was more like Kid’s Movie Night/Mom’s Craft Frenzy).

They were an easy project, but just in case you’ve never recovered lampshades yourself, I thought I’d share a blow-by-blow. Because I’m helpful like that.

First up, here’s what you’ll need.
  • Lampshades to recover (duh)
  • Fabric to recover them (double duh)lamps8
  • Scissors (I’d say duh again, but I’m guessing I’ve already worn that one out?)
  • Pencil
  • Large piece of tracing paper for making a pattern
  • Clothespins or some kind of clamps (maybe; I took a picture, but I didn’t actually end up using mine; theoretically, they’re for holding the fabric to the lampshade while the adhesive dries, but I didn’t find this necessary)
  • Spray adhesivelamps10
  • Hot glue gun/glue
::STEP 1::

Place your lampshade on its side on a large piece of white tracing paper. I happen to have a huge roll of this, but you might need to tape several printer sheets together if you don’t.

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Place your pencil on the bottom of the lampshade, right on the seam (so that you have a starting/stopping point), and roll the shade along the paper, following the edge of it with your pencil to trace its trajectory. When you’re done rolling it all the way back to the seam/starting point, you’ll have a long, gently curving line.

THEN, start back at the beginning pencil point (again on the seam), and do the same thing again, tracing fromTHE TOP of the shade this time.

Now, you’ll have TWO parallel, gently curving lines.

Confession: this part made me nervous. It all seemed so vague and inexact. Turns out, it doesn’t really matter. My traced shade ended up being much longer than it needed to be, but all I did was trim down the ends because the widths were good enough to work just fine.

::STEP 2::

Place your traced paper shade on top of your fabric of choice, and then cut out the shape, taking care to leave at least 1/2″ of extra (for folding under). I didn’t measure, just eyeballed. But if you’re a perfectionist, I say measure away!

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Okay, so this picture is deceptive. Because of my aforementioned dawdling through the first half of this whole shindig, I cut out my tracing paper and my first round of fabric, and then the tracing paper got ruined by a rather impressive water glass snag + dump maneuver on Theo’s part.

So! This picture is of my cutting around my original piece of already measured fabric (hence why I am NOT leaving a 1/2″ border for folding under).

Clear as mud? Feel free to leave exasperated comment/questions full of bared teeth emojis if this is not making sense.

::STEP 3::

Match your fabric shade cover to the shape of one of your lampshades and, spraying the back of six inch sections of fabric at a time, start to smooth it over the lampshade.

Honestly? I didn’t use very much spray adhesive. Both my shades and my fabric were grippy enough that I only needed it in sparing amounts to make everything stick.

THEE most important thing here is to take your time and carefully stretch and smooth the fabric as you (slowly) go to make sure there are no bubbles or wrinkles.

It takes some adjusting, but it can be done.

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See the 1/2″ border sticking up above the lampshade? That’s what you will fold over the edge to get a nice clean finish.

:: STEP 4::

Working as quickly as possible, run a bead of hot glue in the inside edge of the lampshade borders (top and bottom) in 6″ sections, and then fold down the excess fabric, smooshing/smoothing as you go and making every effort not to fricassee your fingers in the process (not that I would know anything about that).

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::STEP 5::

To get a nice clean edge where the two ends of your fabric meet at the back of the lampshade, glue down the first, and then fold under the second before gluing it down on top of the first.

Like so:

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::STEP 6::

Step back and admire your newly awesome lampshades!

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…Upside down pattern and all. Whomp, whomp. (Okay, honestly, it doesn’t bother me too much that the flowers are reaching down rather than up, but I would say that this is a pretty strong argument for why you shouldn’t craft while making lunch for 6).

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Also? Meet my new favorite print ever.

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I’ll tell you more about it…including how you can get your hands on it…soon.

Until then…

lampcollage

YIPPEE for pretty upside down lampshades!

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“Let your light so shine” Lampshade Makeover

A while back, Lamps.com contacted me to see if I might want to participate in their Lampshade Design Challenge, and I thought, “Eh, sounds like fun. Sure!”

I had something in mind for my office/craft room, which is majorly under construction at the moment, and I was intrigued by the possibility of making it a reality, starting with a blank canvas.

Speaking of said blank canvas:

white lampshade

Lamps.com sent me this pristine white lampshade, and it was my job to jazz it up any way I could think of.

Here’s what I had in mind.

lampshade supplies

Chalkboard spray paint, chalk paint pens, ribbon, hot glue. Check.

I had visions of a funky, embellished chalkboard lampshade with a meaningful message.

As you can see in the pic above, the first thing I did was to tape off the…uh…what are those metal arm thingies at the top of the shade? Anyhoo, whatever they’re called, I taped them off because I wanted them to stay silver.

Then I gave the exterior of the shade several good coats of chalkboard paint.

Once that was done, I decided that the white interior was just too stark and plain, so I covered the chalkboard painted portion with paper…

paper covered

…and coated the interior with gold spray paint.

At which point I had this:

black and gold

A little hot glue and several episodes of, “OW! Hot, hot hot!” later, I had given the top and bottom a nice ribbon border.

ribbon on

Now came the fun part. I knew I wanted to write something important that I would want to see every time I used this room. So, I grabbed my chalk paint pens and started scribbling. I would show you an in progress shot of this part, but I was honestly just trying to get. it. done and forgot all about any photographic evidence.

Also, at some point, I decided that the floral ribbon was a bit too there on its own and added another layer of ribbon—this time with a black and gold Greek key pattern.

After much tweaking (very different than twerking), I finally had everything how I had pictured it in my head.

This next few paragraphs are brough to you courtesy of: “Keepin’ it Real”—I don’t have a picture of it because, well, I didn’t want to have a picture of it, but my craft room is a total disaster. It has been the dumping ground for all unfinished projects, fabric scraps, clothes that need altering, insert-other-pile-of-randomness for months now.

So, if you see these next pristine pictures and think something like, “Gosh, with 5 small children, I don’t know how she manages to have such a clean, organized, dedicated space for her creating…”

I don’t.

Yet.

Although I am working on it. But if I had bothered to turn my camera around to show you the other side of the room, you probably would have literally gasped at the mountain of…junk (there are other words for this) that was piled on the daybed in there.

Okay, now that we’ve totally popped that unrealistic bubble of expectation, let’s look at the pretty, staged, someday-soon-the-whole-thing-will-look-like-this (for five whole minutes) reveal:

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I chose the phrase, “Let your light so shine” because, well, it’s a lamp, so it made sense.

lampshade makeover3 wm

But mostly, I chose it because it’s actually the first part of Matthew 5:16, which says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”lampshade makeover1 wm

Let my light so shine before my kids…before my friends…before my gym participants…before the random people at Wal-Mart who ooh and aah over the twins (and secretly wonder about my sanity)…

 lampshade makeover watermark

This is truly my heart’s desire.

lampshade makeover wm 

Of course, it’s not even my light to begin with. Any light I shine is simply a reflection of the Son.

Either way, I’m happy to have this oh-so-tangible reminder when I feel like hiding my light under a bushel of (remember “This Little Light of Mine” from VBS when you were, like, four?) of grumpiness or impatience or pride.

While I was in spray-painting mode, I snagged an elephant that Della got for Christmas and gave her a bit of a glam makeover. (Make sure you read this to find out how Della reacted when she discovered my theft. It’s pretty hilarious).elephant

I mentioned at the beginning of the post that this little project was part of a Lampshade Design Challenge.

Which means that, if my design receives the most votes, both you and I can win gift certificates to buy something pretty from Lamps.com. I’ll let you guys know when the voting starts and how to do it, but in the meantime, let me leave you with this encouragement:

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God has given you a unique and amazing light, and He’s done it so that you can reflect any glory it brings you back to Him because it is when we glorify God that we shine brightest.

Let your light shine, friends. I’ll be here doing the same. 

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