Give Your Lampshade New Life With a Custom Fabric Cover

Making a custom fabric lampshade

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Lighting is one of the most important parts of designing any room. From dramatic overhead chandeliers to tiny tea light candles, there are millions of different ways to bring light into a space. Lighting can also be a great opportunity to personalize the decor of the room. Finding accessories like lampshades that have a unique and interesting look can help add a refreshing touch of color and pattern into the space. But if you can't quite find the lampshade that you're looking for, you can always make one instead. Creating a custom lampshade can add a custom touch to a lamp using fabric that coordinates with your room's decor. Gather together the shade, paper for a pattern, fabric, scissors, glue, and trim, and you're halfway there. Follow our instructions for a one-of-a-kind lampshade for your home.

This project is of average difficulty and the time required to complete it varies depending on skill level.

What You Need

  • Plain white lamp shade
  • Large sheet of paper for the pattern
  • Decorative fabric
  • Large work surface
  • Good pair of scissors to cut paper and fabric
  • Spray adhesive, craft glue, or fabric glue
  • Braid or trim for the inside edge of the shade
  • Decorative trim, if desired, for the top and lower outside edge of the shade

Here's How

  1. Lay a large sheet of newspaper, butcher paper, or brown wrapping paper on a large table or the floor.
  2. Place the lampshade on its side with the seam on one edge of the paper, leaving enough room to roll the shade over the paper.
  3. Starting at the seam on the lampshade, trace the shape of the top and bottom edges of the shade onto the paper, being careful not to get pen or pencil marks on the lamp shade.
  4. Carefully roll the shade along the paper, marking the top and bottom edges on the paper until you get to the seam again.
  5. Remove the shade from the paper.
  6. Adding one inch at the top and bottom and at the seam line, cut the pattern of the shade from the paper.
  7. Place the fabric, face down, on a clean, flat surface. Place the paper pattern on the desired fabric. Pin the pattern in place on the fabric.
  8. Cut out the fabric, using your pattern as your guide.
  9. Test fit the fabric on the shade and trim as necessary.
  10. Cover your work surface with plastic or other protective covering. Spray the wrong side of the fabric with spray adhesive or apply diluted craft glue or fabric glue to the wrong side of the fabric with a soft brush, being careful not to get glue on the right side of the fabric.
  11. Beginning at the seam area of the shade, lay the shade on one edge of the fabric and carefully roll it onto the fabric a few inches.
  12. Carefully pick up the shade and continue smoothing the fabric on the shade, lightly stretching and smoothing the fabric until the whole shade is covered.
  13. In order to allow the fabric to curl over the top and bottom of the shade to the inside of the shade, you might want to carefully clip the edges of the fabric every half inch.
  14. Smooth down all areas of the fabric, clip in place with wooden clothes pins if necessary, and allow the adhesive to dry.
  15. Decorate the top and bottom edges, to achieve a finished look, with a band of braid, ribbon, lace, beads, or fringe.


  • Test-roll the shade on a tabletop to see how much paper and fabric you'll need.
  • Measure the lower edge length and upper edge length to determine how much trim you'll need to buy.
  • Before applying the glue to your fabric, test it on a small piece of fabric. Be sure the glue does not soak through the fabric and discolor it or leave spots. If it does, try another adhesive.
  • Use wooden clothespins to clip the fabric in place at the top and bottom edges as the adhesive dries.