This tutorial is authored by contributor Dorey Kronick.
When I first moved to Chicago from San Francisco in 2012, I had absolutely no furniture whatsoever, nor much money to invest in any. So naturally, being the thrift store and scavenging queen that I am - I hit up Craigslist and just about every garage sale I could possibly find in search of stuff to fill my new apartment with. One of the things I happened to stumble upon, was a cute little old lamp!
As cute as it was though, the lamp’s shade had a few dents in it, the fabric was worn and faded in some spots, and the whole thing was ultimately just in need of a makeover. For years, it sat on my nightstand next to my bed, and every once in a while I’d try to remind myself to find a way to spruce it up or just buy a new lamp altogether… Then along came the day that I was introduced to I Like That Lamp in a private Facebook group for creatives!
They sent me one of their handy kits to make a custom lamp shade of my own out of the pre-existing metal hoops from my lamp’s current shade, document the process, and write about it! Check it out…
1. Kit from I Like That Lamp (mine included a small roll of styrene to fit my pre-existing lamp shade’s metal hoops, a little bottle of glue, binder clips, and a wooden molding stick). All are available in the shop too.
2. An old lampshade (that you’re going to tear apart so you can reuse the pre-existing metal hoops).
3. A fabric of your choice (I chose to stick with my recycle-reduce-reuse lifestyle philosophy and cut up one of my old duvet covers that I’d been hoping to turn into a new project someday - hooray!) and fabric scissors.
4. Measuring tape (or a ruler/cutting mat), scissors, and a fabric pencil.
Take apart your old lamp shade, clean and save the metal hoops. (Thanks to the help of some scissors, patience, and strength, I was able to do this step quite quickly.)
Measure and cut your fabric down to size to fit your new lamp shade, leaving a couple of inches of room on every side, (which will later be cut down again and glued onto the metal hoops).
Iron your fabric to get all of the wrinkles and creases out of it.
Starting with one of the corners of your styrene, peel off the paper backing and stick it onto an end of your fabric (image 1). Try to have everything on a flat, smooth surface in order to avoid bubbles or creases in the fabric (I was working on the wood floor in my living room to have the maximum amount of free space possible). Use your hand and forearm to smooth and adhere the rest of the styrene to the fabric, a few inches at a time (image 2). Once all of the styrene is stuck to the fabric, use your hands to firmly press and smooth over the whole thing, ensuring the corners and the edges of the styrene are fully attached to the fabric (image 3).
Cut off the excess fabric from the styrene, leaving about a half an inch of extra fabric all the way around, with the exception of one of the short ends, which you’ll cut entirely to the edge of the styrene.
On the short end of the styrene where you left a half an inch of excess fabric, apply glue, and use your hands to fold the fabric over the edge of the styrene - smoothing it out liberally with your fingers.
Set one of the metal hoops on your flat surface (whether on a table or on the floor), and gently use the hoop to guide the styrene around it in a cylindrical shape. Use the binder clips to fasten the metal hoops to the top and the bottom of the cylinder/future lamp shade. (I had to adjust things a few times in this phase to make sure that the top and bottom hoops were secured properly to the styrene.)
Add glue to the excess half inch of fabric all the way around the styrene a few inches at a time, and then use the wooden molding stick to tuck the fabric under the metal hoops, as shown.
Once you’ve tucked all of the excess fabric under the hoops, add a little glue to the flap where the styrene overlaps, and let the whole thing dry for a few hours.
When the lamp shade is dry, put it back together with the rest of your lamp and give yourself a big pat on the back!
After having done this whole project once, I would definitely do it again! I’m SO happy with my new lamp shade - it fits the colors and vibe of my bedroom so much better than the old one did. I’m also stoked that I was able to reuse the fabric from my old duvet cover! I loved the yellow and gray patterned fabric when it was on my bed previously, but after having and using it for so long, the poor duvet cover was starting to get a few holes, and I sadly had to replace it. I’d been hanging onto it in my box of sewing and fabric supplies for quite some time, hoping to find a good time and place to bring it back to life, and this was literally the perfect opportunity!
Just goes to show that there are countless ways to recycle, reduce, and reuse household items with a little imagination, TLC, and creativity ;). I hope you’re inspired to find ways to do the same in your home!
About the author of this tutorial: Dorey Kronick is a multi-media artist who loves to turn dreamy ideas into visual realities combining graphic design, photography, and mixed media art. You can see more of her work at www.doreykronick.com.
If you're planning to restore more old items and convert them into beautiful new lamps, read our E-book, Old Lamps, New Life: The DIY Guide to Repurposing and Rewiring Vintage lamps. Part instructional handbook and part DIY project tutorials, it will give you the confidence to identify the various parts of any type of lamp, wire a new lamp in less than ten minutes, and determine which thrift store lamps make the best candidates for makeovers!
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