How to recover a lamp shade


Last October I found these brand new lamps from Target over at my favorite Goodwill.

I’ve been using them as-is, but the reason Target donated them to the GW in the first place is because their shades are all dented and dinged up.


Plus, let’s just be honest here. This teal is not cutting it in my family room.

I’ve been using the lamp on the {ugly} desk in my family room, and the teal is making my favorite art look bad (as is the desk and chair, but I digress).

However, I have no intention in purchasing a new shade for a lamp I bought at GW in the first place, so I just decided to make one myself.

I removed the shade from the lamp.


Then I took some thin white poster board and cut it the width and length of the shade. I used poster board because I already had it on hand.


Once the new poster board was cut to size, I took apart the original shade. All that was left of it were two rings; one for the top of the shade, and one for the bottom.

I glued the rings onto the edges of the poster board.


It was so easy (and free!) and made a perfect new shade base for me to attach fabric to.


Now it’s time for the fabric. I chose to use burlap mainly because I already had it on hand (aka free). Plus I like that it’s such a neutral color.

I cut the fabric the same way I cut the poster board. However, this time I left about a half an inch extra fabric on either side (one inch total). I also cut the fabric about an inch longer than the shade base.


Burlap is a great hearty fabric that can be used for all sorts of crafts. Be forewarned though, this stuff is MESSY. When you cut it you will end up with massive amounts of fibers all over the place.


Attaching the fabric was so easy my 7 year old pretty much did it for me. Just add a line of hot glue along the edge and stick it to the shade.


Then wrap it around and add a line of glue to the other end. Finally, add glue around the top and bottom edges and tuck the extra into the inside of the shade for a finished seam.

I would have given you a few more photos to show the entire process, but this is where my battery died and I cursed at the camera.

And there ya go. I brand new shade for your lamp.


Before and After:

burlap_lamp_shade_hoh_01  burlap_lamp_shade_hoh_11

For now I’ve been using the lamp next to my reading chair, but it will be going back to the desk once I get a proper tall lamp to go behind the chair.


It’s amazing how a lack of funds will bring out the creativity in a person. I wanted a new shade, and before I knew it I had a pile of fabric and a plan. All for free!

Happy crafting, my friends!

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  1. You are so smart, I would have never thought of that!

  2. Nice job! I always thought there must be a way to make a new shade with the parts of a lampshade. Thanks for showing how easy it is!


  3. Way to go! I am a firm believer that thrift inspires creativity. I guess that’s the new take on necessity is the mother of invention.

    The best part about this process is that you can easily add ribbon around the edge when you want a new look. Or heck, just do it all again with new fabric. You wouldn’t even need a whole yard!

  4. It’s so funny that you mentioned your favorite goodwill, I was just wondering which goodwill you prefer in Austin. I live right outside of Austin and have been wanting to go to one of the many Austin thrift stores but want to make sure I visit one that is known to be good.

  5. Allison – this is so simple and SO awesome!

  6. I just refurbished a lamp and I am trying to decide what to do with the OLD (very old) lampshade. I saw one at target, but it might not be the right side… AND it costs money. Looks like I might need to suck it up and make own… thanks for the idea:)

  7. Oh, Allison! I never would have thought to use poster board…you little smartie pants…so awesome!

  8. It looks great! I like the contrast of materials- the texture of the burlap looks great against the metal!

  9. Love, love, love it! It looks a million times better than the cheap-o dented teal one!

  10. Have you been stalking my Pinterest? Seriously, did you know I was just looking to make a cute one for my daughter’s room?? I totally LOVE that you redid this and it looks so easy! Thank you for the great inspiration – AGAIN – Allison! You’re my hero 🙂

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  11. perfect…good job…smiles

  12. Heather Anderson says:

    Lurve your new shade, friend! The burlap is the shizzle! Little word of warning – poster board is flammable as a lamp shade! Ask me how I know! 😀 (That being said, it was 20 years ago, we were in college so there may have been booze involved, and the light bulbs may have been made differently – but it still resulted in the fire department showing up.)

    Before you go ripping it apart though, maybe the low watt bulbs – you know the ones that are suppose to last like 57829275 years – would be okay to use with poster board. I just don’t want you burning down your new luv-er-ly house!

  13. I love it!! Burlap is always the right answer I think, Ha!!

  14. I’ve seen lots of lamp shade cover ups but this is the first complete do-over. Nice!

  15. Thanks, I needed this…so many dented lampshades around here! 🙂

  16. wow! I love it. What a great idea.. I’m trying to fix up my place a little bit at a time.. I might do the same thing thanks to your tutorial!

  17. Hey Allison! Great job on that lamp! I love burlap..need to buy some to cover something in my house! I saw that you are on Pinterest. I love that site. I always click on it for a request to join by putting in my email yet they wont let me join. :0( Can you help me become a member? There are some fab pic on that site and I would love to bookmark them all! Thanks Allison!

  18. You know, you are so creative and so thoughtful– just looking at the fun you had while doing this makes my whole damn day. And in creating this wonderful blog you take the time to photograph and document each step while still infusing the whole thing with a “don’t take this too seriously- just have fun!” attitude. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with strangers! I appreciate this blog so much as an inspiration to innovate with everyday items! have a GREAT wednesday. xo

  19. WOW!! You are a GENIUS!! I would of never thought of this. It looks fantastic! 🙂

  20. Barbara Mars says:

    ACH! I feel like a “V-8” commercial! Just knocked myself on the head! I just KNEW there had to be a way to do this – THANK YOU!!! You have absolutely made my day!
    Barbara in TN

  21. CUTE!! I love how some of the simplest projects give me the biggest smiles! 🙂

  22. My living room shades are all cracked and stained. Maybe if I take everything off and the metal is still good I can make that. It’s a good thought. I got three tall lamps at IKEA on clearance and they have already gone thru 2 sets of shades. Now one of the lamps is the tower of Pisa. lol On the ONE that is till good I’m thinking of using rub and buff to update the gold metal. Maybe I can restore the whole thing…… I’ll share my success if I get motivated. lol

  23. who would have thought to use poster board?!? what a great idea, i will definitely be trying this!!

  24. Wow! It turned out really nice and elegant 🙂 You super inspired me. Time to make some lamp makeover!

  25. That is so cool. I was just looking at a site that sells that plastic styrene stuff to fix one of my dented shades. POSTER BOARD! Duh! So much cheaper. Does the light diffuse through it nicely? How does it look when it’s on?

  26. Hi! I just read your post and have been trying to find a way to diy a drum pendant lamp shade. Lots of people have mentioned using poster board, but I must say…it freaks me out because I’m worried its a fire hazard. Do any of you know…is it safe to use poster board as a lamp shade?

    Thanks! Melody

    • I wondered the same thing, but so far so good. The posterboard doesn’t even get warm, so I think it’s fine. If I were you I’d use a lower wattage bulb so it doesn’t get too hot and just keep an eye on it the first few times you use the lamp to make sure the shade isn’t getting warm or charred or anything.

  27. Hey,
    I re-did a lampshade following your directions… and it worked perfectly! I did spray glue on the poster board after it was on the rims, but before applying the fabric. I don’t know if you did yours’ without help, but I needed two extra pairs of hands for a few of the steps 😛 Thanks so much for a well-written tutorial 😀

  28. Not only are you awesome. You are the bravest lay I know. You just got in there and tore that old shade off knowing the replacement would be a minimum of twenty dollars. You go girl! You are what Pinterest is all about!!!!!

  29. Thanks for this helpful tutorial. I will be linking to it in a couple of weeks. It’s just the sort of “making do” that I like. 🙂

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