Can You Spray Paint A Lampshade? [And How To]

Have you ever looked at your lampshade and thought if you can re-imagine its look? One of the solutions you must have in mind must be to use spray paint. But is it okay to do that? We researched the answer to this question for you and here is what we found out:

Yes, you can spray paint a lampshade. However, make sure to use the right kind of paint and apply it evenly on the surface to achieve the best finish. 

But how can you do this? How are you supposed to know what kind of paint you will buy? This is what we will talk about in a few moments, including the other things you might have to know to make this project of yours successful. Let’s start!

Retro style wooden desk lamps with many lampshade colors decorated in bedroom, Can You Spray Paint A Lampshade? [And How To]

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Spray Painting A Lampshade

Using spray paint in upgrading or renovating a lampshade’s appearance is one of the tricks that homeowners do. This practical idea can save you money from buying a new model and can give the space where it is situated a new look. However, you must be aware of some things before we proceed on discussing how to do it. 

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Small lamp glowing in bedroom night stand, dim room

Choosing The Right Kind Of Spray Paint 

To make sure that the spray paint will effectively stick on your lampshade, you must first figure out what kind of material it is made out of. This factor will determine the type of spray paint you should use. Below are some of the materials that are commonly used in lamp shades. 

  • Fabric – the most used fabrics are made out of natural fibers like cotton and linen (suitable for casual places), as well as silk (best for formal settings). They’re non-flammable and are much lighter in weight compared to other materials. 
  • Metal – metal is often categorized as a modern design of lampshade. Due to its mirror-like surface, the light reflects powerfully downwards in one direction. This is perfect for task lighting. 
  • Glass – this kind of lampshade can defuse colors and can imitate stained-glass windows in churches. This material is often designed in sophisticated patterns and colors which makes it capable of being a focal point in a room once it is nicely presented. 

Now, here are the kinds of paint you should use according to the lampshade material above:

  • Fabric – Fabric spray paint

Check out this fabric spray paint on Amazon.

  • Metal – Enamel spray paints.

Try this enamel spray paint on Amazon.

  • Glass – An acrylic spray that specifically works for glasses. 

Check out this spray paint on Amazon. 

How To Spray Paint A Lampshade

Books on wooden shelf between two vintage house lights with classic style lamp shades

Now that you have an idea of what kind of spray paint you need to buy, let us now proceed in learning how to do this. But first, choose the color that you want. You can decide on the shade or design that will complement the theme or interior of your home.

Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated or open area. If you can take the spraying outside your home, the better. However, if not, open the windows or any openings and put a fan to let the air circulate or help it go out.

Also, wear a face mask and protective eyeglasses. This can prevent you from inhaling the chemicals from the spray paint as it’s dangerous for you. 

Step 1

Detach the shade from the lamp. Unplug the electronics first before unscrewing any screw that holds them together. 

Step 2

Clean the shade by brushing off the dust. If there are stubborn stains, you can wash them off with water and mild detergent. Leave it in a clean area and wait for it to completely dry.

If you want to learn more on how to clean lamp shades, read this:

How To Clean Lamp Shades

Step 3

While waiting for it to dry, lay down multiple layers of newspaper or plastic on the surface of the area where you will work. This will protect the space from the paint that might spill out and leak. Also, remove or move away from any material that you do not want to be affected or sprayed by accidentally. 

Same thing with the clothes and shoes that you will wear. One more thing, avoid working on a spot near the walls because this may be too risky. Getting paint on them can be a hassle and will require you to do more work.

Step 4

Cover the parts of the lampshade that you do not want to paint with a plastic bag or wrap them with a painter’s paint. 

Check out this painter’s paint on Amazon. 

Step 5

Shake the can well to make sure that all the paint inside is mixed up. Start spraying the first layer on the lampshade. Do not point it too close, put a 6-inch distance between the spray and the surface and begin stroking a consistent layer on it. Avoid going in different spraying directions and do not make the coat too thick.

If you are doing a design, you can use stick a stencil on it and carefully fill in the patterns with the corresponding color that you want. Make sure to peel the stencil before the paint completely dries. 

Step 6

Wait for the first layer to dry. To assure that you have an even coat, put the shade back to the lamp and turn on the light to see if there are any patches due to uneven coverage. If there’s, get it back out and apply more paint to the areas that need it. 

Remove any dust or particles that may stick to the shade before spraying another layer or two for best results.

Step 7

Leave it for a couple of hours to make sure that it’s not wet anymore before attaching it back to the lamp.

Lampshade Design Ideas

Retro style desk lamps with many lampshade colors decorated in bedroom

Lampshades come in thousands of designs to meet the owner’s interior needs. It comes in different sizes, colors, shapes, and lengths. However, painting your lampshade in the pattern or color that you want gives a new level of personalization to accurately match the finish that you want.

If you are still planning for what look you want to achieve, you might get an idea from the motifs below. 

Creative Lines

Before spraying paint, you can use painter’s tape to make creative line patterns around the shade. Using tape (even the regular type) on the surface gives you clean straight edges rather than painting them manually.

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Go For Ombre

If you do not want your lampshade to have a solid color, you can opt for fading effect of color. This can give you unusual and dual-tone to match a youthful and playful look. If you can’t pick a color, you can always combine different tones that compliment each other. 

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Simple Nature Patterns

People who love to give a hint of their love for plants can do this look. There are available self-adhesive stencil patterns in art stores if you do not want to print and cut them yourself. 

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Make The Colors Burst

Sometimes, a simple pattern and color can look boring. You can spray-paint your lampshade with rainbow colors that will give an energy boost in the area where it stands. 

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Plain Color

There’s unexplainable confidence and power in having a single color surround your lampshade. You can go after this upgrade if your eyesight is tired of all the patterns and wants to have a minimalist approach. 

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Want to know the perfect color for your lampshade? Read this: 

What Color Should My Lampshades Be? [with Illustrated Examples]

Universal Light

Many people love the vastness of the universe and the stars that lit it up. If you are one of them, you can put tiny holes on your lampshade to create a constellation pattern around it before are after spraying a midnight sky or black color on it. 

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If you want more ideas on designing your lampshade, read this: 

15 Bear-Themed Lamps and Lampshades For Any Rustic Style Room

How To Clean A Lampshade

floor lamp standing near white gray wall with big lamp shade modern design, symmetrical light background texture

After upgrading your lampshade and giving it a new life, you should still be taking extra care of it since technically, they’re still an aged electronic. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Using a duster, a lint roller, a vacuum, or a damp clean cloth, remove the dust on the inner and outer side of the lampshade, as well as the metal body and the bulb.
  • For shade stains, fill the bathtub with warm water mixed with a mild detergent. Soak the shade in the water until it is fully wet. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe down the stained spot until it’s gone. Rinse well before letting it dry. 

Be extra careful in handling it. Especially if your lampshade is made of fragile material that can break when dropped. 


Retro style wooden desk lamps with many lampshade colors decorated in bedroom

Lampshades can be upgraded with a praying paint but you should be cautious on the type of it that you will use and make sure that they are compatible. This project can be done in a short period, but do not forget to wear protection for your face, hands, and clothes. 

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out these great posts:

25 Types of Lampshades

How to Decorate a Lampshade









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