DIY lamp makeover

Something from nothing / Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

With thanks to my sister-in-law Renita, who did this several years ago and gave me the idea!

1. Take an old lamp, any lamp.

I had two in storage… not that I ever remember to take before pictures!

2. Remove the lampshade and spray paint the lamp base some color you like. Textured paint is best. Goodbye, rusting gilt.

3. Cut the fabric off the old shade, leaving the empty metal hoops.

4. {Bonus points: If you find your metal frame falls apart without theย fabric, as in the case of my floor lamp, which surprised me by having no uprights, only separate hoops โ€“ create a new one with a tomato cage, a wire snips, and a strong husband. The strong husband is particularly crucial. I’ve never seen one like that; I’m assuming they’re rare. The lampshade, I mean.}

5. Buy a white bed sheet from the Salvation Army.

6. Wash and dry the sheet, and tear it into long strips, roughly two inches wide. Do not cut! or stress about exact measurements. This is fun. Tearing is faster and neater than cutting, and creates a lovely frayed look.

7. Optional โ€“ Soak the strips in tea to antique them. Renita did, and they turned out beautifully aged and darkened. I intended to, but loved the clean white too much in the end.

8. Knot the strips around the hoops of the lamp shade.

9. Enjoy a new lamp at minimal cost. This is a good way to get matching lamps out of non-matching. I refurbished two, a floor lamp and a table lamp, using less than one can of spray paint and one sheet.

11 Replies to “DIY lamp makeover”

  1. Lovely.

    Although I am not sure if I’m sleek or modern enough to fit in your living room anymore.


    Beautiful make-over!!!

    1. Thank you! Haha… You will fit just fine, my classy friend – I know exactly where, with a cup of coffee in one hand and a baby in the other. I’m actually upset with myself that you saw it first online instead of in person. Let’s fix that soon.

  2. I’m learning new things as I see your pictures…
    I totally missed the one crucial point of having a strong husband with the wire clippers and tomato cage. My lamp shade fell apart as well when I cut off the old shade, but I just hung the bottom hoop from the top hoop with 4 evenly-spaced strips. So my shade is now totally collapse-able. I’m sure the tomato-cage-rigged one is more sturdy!
    Also, did you loop the strips around the bottom or the top every-other? That was smart. That would’ve saved me half the work. I tied every strip at the top and the bottom!
    They look gorgeous and your whole living room looks so inviting. I’d love to sit in it sometime– it seems like every time we’re together, we are dashing after children or cleaning dishes. I enjoy doing that with you also. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes! I did loop the strips every-other. As I worked I realized you must have done two knots per strip, because I remembered your unbroken rows of knots. The knotting takes time! And my strips were long enough to wrap… and that way, they hid the wires nicely. So I alternated them as you guessed. It’s complicated to describe, unless you’ve done it and can visualize, or look closely at the picture. There would be many ways to make it look nice.

      I tried the collapsible hoops with 3 or 4 evenly-spaced strips too! But knew there was no way I’d achieve it… because I was wrapping the strips from top to bottom and vice versa – meaning the tighter I knotted, the more it pulled up the bottom hoop. Even trickier, my floor lamp shade is meant to hang at an angle. I like how the tomato cage turned out; it’s very sturdy. But I never even knew yours didn’t have uprights – it hangs beautifully.

      Please come see me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am doing less dashing (and dishes) than ever. Love you, sister.

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