Get Lit Up

For those of you waiting patiently (and those not so patiently, like myself) there is still no baby girl here yet but tomorrow is the drop dead date so she’ll be here before we know it!  In the meantime, here is a little how-to for recovering a lamp shade with fabric that I made for the nursery.

Recover a Lamp

We needed a low light lamp for late night baby hang outs. (I know, some people say to not have light because it wakes baby up too much but I will likely fall asleep myself if that’s the case).  When Eric and I were in Asheville last, we saw the cutest lamp in a little boutique that was covered with bicycle fabric and absolutely adorable and I thought to myself, I can do that for a whole lot cheaper.  So we got a cheap lamp from Target for $15, and my Momma had some leftover bicycle fabric from the backing of the quilt she made for Baby Girl which is PERFECT because now they match!

Recover Lamp Ingredients

This is most of what you need but I did forget the glue in this picture (see below).

  1. A quarter yard of fabric
  2. Scissors
  3. Rotary cutter/ruler/cutting mat (or scissors and a ruler that helps with perpendicular lines)
  4. Clothes Pins
  5. No Sew Fabric Glue
  6. A lamp with a shade
  7. A wet paper towel or wet piece of fabric

No Sew Fabric Glue

Here is the fabric glue that I used.  It says temporary but it only stops holding once you wash it… and I don’t plan on washing my lamp so I think we’re good to go.

Lamp Before

Here is the lamp that we started with from Target, plain white and just a bit blah.

Recovering a Lamp Getting Started

So first I took my fabric, without cutting it yet, and just kind of held it up with clothes pins.  At first I thought I was just going to fold it over and hold it with glue so I didn’t want too much of the fabric on the top or bottom but enough to get a good hold so I went with a little over a quarter of an inch.  Then I marked the bottom where I wanted to cut it.

Recovered Lamp Cut the Fabric

After I knew how much fabric I needed for the height, I used my rotary cutter to chop it off.

Lamp Cover Wrap

Next I wrapped the fabric all the way around the lampshade to see how much to cut off length-wise.  I left about an inch overlap but in hindsight you could easily make that smaller like 3/4 or 1/2 an inch.

Lamp Cover Start Gluing

Then it was time to really get started.  First, I used a clothes pin to hold the start of the fabric in place, then I moved down the lampshade 4-6 inches and clipped another clothes pin.  I picked a spot on the fabric that repeats to keep the pattern lined up around the whole lamp.  Next I laid down some glue along the top of the lampshade (you can kind of see it to the left there) and started folding it over.  I realized that it wrapped around that lip perfectly and looked pretty darn professional. I felt like giving myself a high-five for the luck of it.

Lamp Cover Glue

Here is a close up of where I glued.  It is kind of the inside lip of the lampshade and then I also put some on the edge of the fabric itself.  Then I just rolled it over the edge and tucked it up underneath with my fingernail.

Lamp Cover Tuck Inside

This is the bottom edge but you can kind of see how it worked.  Pin, Glue, Tuck.

Lamp Cover Pin It

On the top edge I kept the finished parts tightly pinned to keep it from unrolling and also because I knew I’d be pulling and tugging on the bottom and didn’t want the top to move.  And here you can also see how much distance I left to work with before moving on to the next section.  The glue dries pretty slowly so you have time to maneuver everything in place without worrying.

Lamp Cover Inside Edge

There it is all finished and pretty.  I had some straggler threads that I either tucked up into the seam or cut off.

Lamp Cover Bubbles

I ran into 2 snafus while working along the top.  The first – a wrinkle that I should have ironed out but was too excited to get started.  I fixed this pretty easily with a wet piece of fabric that I just ran down the wrinkle and smoothed it out and voila!  No more wrinkle.

The next was what always happens when you try to wrap a circle (at least for me), it starts to get all wonky and doesn’t line up.  As I moved around, I kept the top of that sissy bar of the bike – the bar on the back of that red bike there – at the top of the lampshade.  All of a sudden, it wanted to drop down lower than that.  I fixed this by making a couple of little slits from the top of the fabric to the top of the lampshade which overlapped when I rolled them over.  Then I used my wet fabric from the wrinkle and smoothed everything out flat.

Lamp Cover Seam

Alright, so you’ve made your way all the way around the top and its time to tackle the seam.  I clipped the top with a clothes pin and then played with the fold until it was straight.  Then I ran my fingernail down the line a few times to give it a good crease.  Next I just ran some glue right along that crease on the inside and held it down for a couple of seconds.  And it was that easy.  My hindsight tip to you is just to make sure that you either get a really good crease with water and then let it dry, or glue the fabric you’ve folded over together so that it doesn’t puff up and stays nice and flat and sharp-looking.

Lamp Cover Trim

Then it was time to do the bottom.  Since I didn’t realize that I wanted to tuck in the fabric, I ended up having too much at the bottom and needed to trim off just a bit so that it would tuck in nicely.

Lamp Cover Bottom Edge

Then the bottom is business as usual!

Lamp Cover Inside Bottom

So there is the inside of the bottom edge.  Looking pretty fancy!

lamp cover seam final

There is the final lamp!  Including the seam which isn’t my finest work.  Like I said, it would be better to try to get the glue closer to that edge or find another way to get that seam to be really flat.   But, put it in the back and you’re good to go!

Lamp Cover Nursery

So there it is!  Home Sweet Home and only about an hour later.  By the time I was finished gluing the bottom edge, I could remove the clothes pins from the top and voila!  It was time to plug it in.  This was seriously an easy project and really pretty fun, plus it makes that lamp so much cuter!  I kind of want to do it to my lamp at work, I just have to pick some fabric.

Author: Jamie Forbes

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