MAKES | Cheap Lampshade Recover

One of the first things I noticed about being an adult is that lamps are expensive. Because of this the entire year I lived in Spain I never bought a shade for my night stand light. I just let a bulb light my room & told myself it was an “industrial” look.

When we needed lamps for our bed side tables (two lamps guys!) I went to ReStore & bought some brass beauties for $5 each. A little silver spray paint later & they look like big kid fancy lamps. But lamp shades are harder to spray paint & call “good,” trust me, I’ve tried & it doesn’t end well.

So I thrifted some cheap drum shades & covered them in matching fabric.

On one of these thrifting trips I also bought a cute, bubbly, little lamp for my desk. It’s boring white shade has sat on it for months now as I’ve avoided recovering it. But now that I’m starting school again soon I’m trying to clean & refresh my desk space (a monumental task). The first project on my list was my little lamp & on one of my many trips to Goodwill recently I found the perfect fabric for the job… an old bed sheet. It only cost me $2.99!

Cheap Lampshade Recover

Cheap Lampshade Recover | Eats & Makes

Supplies:Cheap Lampshade Recover | Eats & Makes

  • Fabric to fit your lamp shade (I’m using a thrifted bed sheet for this project)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Tacky glue
  • Clothes pins
  • Scissors
  • Washable fabric pen (or a pencil)


  1. Iron your fabric & inspect it for any blemishes (especially if you’re using thrifted goods like I am).
  2. Lay your fabric right side down on a large, flat surface & begin to trace your lamp shade on the wrong side of the fabric. Be sure to mark both the top & bottom circles as you go along (see pictures #1 & #2). Keep in mind that the more angular your shade the more your tracing will arch.
  3. Leaving 1/2″ to an 1″ allowance cut around your outline. Cheap Lampshade Recover | Eats & Makes
  4. Begin at the seam & place a small dab of tacky glue or hot glue along both the top & bottom seams. Press your fabric into place & use clothes pins to to “set” your starting point.
  5. Then, working in small patches spray a thin layer of adhesive onto the shade & carefully press the fabric into the glue. Keep the lampshade centered in the fabric as you work your way along. If you notice any bubbles along the way simply peel the fabric up & redo that section.
  6. When you get back to the seam fold over the edge to make a clean line & glue the seam down with tacky glue. Again, use clothes pins to hold the fabric while it sets.
  7. Clean up your edges & trim excess fabric to leave about 1/2″ on both sides.
  8. Apply a thin bead of tacky glue along the inside ridge of the shade (see picture #3). Adhere the fabric in small sections using clothes pins to hold the fabric along the way. At some points, particularly along the top of the shade where the circumference of the shade is significantly smaller, you may need to cut slits in the fabric to help encourage the circular shape (see picture #4).
  9. Keep the clothes pins on the shade long enough to set all the glue but don’t let your project fully dry this way — unless a clothes pin lampshade is the look you’re going for.
  10. To finish, remove the clothes pins & clean up your inside fabric edges with a circular cutter if desired.

Cheap Lampshade Recover | Eats & Makes


If you don’t have any spray adhesive on hand you can use tacky glue diluted in water. Simply paint the glue onto the shade & adhere the fabric.


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