How To Decorate A Lampshade [Best 4 Suggestions]

Have you ever considered adding a personal touch to your plain lampshade? A DIY (do-it-yourself) lampshade decoration offers you the option of expressing your highest form of creativity without compromising your lampshade functionality. Not sure how to go about the entire decoration process? Keep reading for some of the best, well-researched tips and ideas to add some oomph to your lampshade!

Here are some of the best ways to decorate your lampshade:

  1. Wrap a roll of sisal rope around it.
  2. Add ribbon stripes.
  3. Use buttons of various shapes and colors.
  4. Recover it with fabric.

Surely you must need more information on how to pull off these stunning ideas on your lampshade, right? In this post, we’ll take you through each point in a clear, step-by-step format to ensure you get it right. Follow every step carefully to achieve that perfect decorative finish!

Lamp on a night table with light switched on, How To Decorate A Lampshade [Best 4 Suggestions]

How To Decorate A Lampshade

1. Wrap A Roll Of Sisal Rope Around It

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What you’ll need:

  • An old or new lampshade
  • Two rolls of quarter-inch sisal rope
  • Hair clips
  • Hot glue sticks and a glue gun

Step 1: Dismount your lampshade from the base of the lamp. If your lampshade is covered in any way, remove the top layer to expose the underlying surface.

Step 2: Grab your hot glue gun and apply approximately three inches along the top seam in an even manner. That will serve as the first row. 

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Step 3: Take one end of the sisal rope and wrap it all around the seam as you press it into the glue. Align the rope evenly around the glued surface and cut it, so it meets with the starting point. Hold the rope in place with the hair clips until it dries completely. This is a critical step because the straightness of the first row will determine how straight the rest of the rows will be.

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Step 4: Repeat the same process for the second row and the rows after that until you get to the bottom. 

Please watch the video below if you need more details on this: 

2. Add Ribbon Stripes

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What you’ll need:

  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Grosgrain ribbon
  • Lampshade

Step 1: Measure your lampshade's circumference to find out just how much ribbon you’ll require. Multiply the result by how many stripes you want to add on your lampshade. For a start, cut two ribbon lengths to cover the top and the bottom of the lampshade.

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Step 2: Grab your fabric glue and apply a limited amount along the edges of each ribbon. Leave it for five to ten minutes for it to dry completely. This will prevent any instances of fraying.

Step 3: For the top part of the lampshade, grab the first ribbon and apply some glue in the middle evenly. 

Step 4: Cover the ribbon around the top part of the shade. As you do this, ensure the ends of the ribbon are neatly overlapped. For an excellent finish, wrap your ribbon from the lampshade’s seam.

Step 5: Repeat step 4, but wrap the ribbon on the bottom part. Now you have some space between the top ribbon and the lower one. You can opt to either add one more to make them three or three to make them five. 

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Step 6: Allow it to dry completely, and then mount it on your lamp.

3. Use Buttons Of Various Shapes and Colors

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What you’ll need:

  • Glue gun
  • Assorted buttons
  • Lampshade

Step 1: Spread some glue at the back of one button using the glue gun. Paste it anywhere on the top side of the shade. You can start at any location on the shade, but it would bring some order to your work if you started at the top.

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Step 2: Spread the glue on another button then paste it near the first. 

Step 3: Keep spreading and pasting until the whole shade is neatly covered in buttons. If you like, you can arrange the buttons into different shapes or art forms; you’re not limited to only one option!

It also helps if you pick out buttons that fit in perfectly with your bedroom or living room décor. 

Watch this video for more information: 

4. Re-cover It In Fabric

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What you’ll need:

  • Paper 
  • Glue
  • Brushes
  • Clothespins
  • Scissors
  • Lampshade
  • Fabric
  • Pins

Step 1: Spread out the paper on your work area and place your lampshade on it. 

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Step 2: Roll the lampshade on the paper as you mark the top and bottom edges with a pencil. Do so until you achieve a full rotation.

Step 3: Put away the lampshade, take your scissors and cut out the marked paper template. Wrap it around the shade to ensure it fits perfectly. 

Step 4: Next, spread out your fabric on the work area and attach your template onto it. Take a few pins and attach the paper to the fabric along the edges. Use the pencil to trace the shape on the fabric.

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Step 5: Cut out the tracing on the fabric. As you do this, leave a two-centimeter margin in the large and small sides of your fabric.

Step 6: Add some water in a bowl, then mix it with the white glue until it forms a paste. 

Step 7: Using your brush, apply some glue along one side of the shade and carefully place one end of the fabric on that area. Keep pasting the fabric to the lampshade until the whole lampshade is fully covered. 

Step 8: Fold the other end and seal it with glue. Seal the top and bottom fabrics as well, then mount it on your lamp, and voila!

Watch this video for a more practical explanation: 

Can I Paint My Fabric Lampshade?

Of course, you can! As far as fabric lampshades go, you’re better off if you use spray paint. Spray paint adds an extra layer to existing patterns, works great on almost all fabrics, and can be used to lighten or darken the shade’s color. 

If you don’t want any metal fixtures covered in paint, simply cover them with painter’s tape. Spray everywhere around your shade to make sure you don’t miss a spot and allow it to dry. 

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Can I Paint A Lampshade With Wall Paint?

The typical wall paint is very similar to acrylic, so it wouldn’t hurt to try it out on your lampshade.

Would it work similarly to artist primer, though? Unfortunately, no - and for a number of reasons too. Wall paint lacks the right amount of opaqueness, absorbency, and durability to make it ideal for a DIY lampshade project.

Don’t take our word for it, though. There’s probably a specific brand of wall paint out there that can double as lampshade paint. Try it out and share your results with us!

Can I Use Chalk Paint On A Lampshade? 

Chalk paints are great for practically any surface out there, so you can definitely use them on your lampshade. Like any other paint out there, chalk paint comes in a variety of colors that are sure to transform your entire living space for the better. 

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The Annie Sloan paintbrush is a handy tool that goes hand in hand with chalk paint. Once the paint dries up, you can decide to add a personal touch to the shade by pairing it with a matching embellishment.

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If you’d like to know how to use chalk paint on your lampshade, follow the instructions on the video below:

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Lampshade?

We recommend a high-quality coat(s) of latex paint. Use a foam brush to apply the paint all around the lampshade evenly. Latex paint is excellent because of its lasting durability and ease of clean up. It is also resistant to fading and breathes a lot better than oil, leading to less blistering. 

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There are tons of latex paint options out there, but Behr paint does the finest job.

Aside from latex, though, you can use acrylic, fabric, or spray paint as well. Whichever paint option you choose, ensure the color complements overall wall décor. For a few ideas on wall décor designs, please read our blog, "21 Wall Décor Ideas for your Living Room."

How Do You Cover An Old Lampshade With Fabric?

If you have an old lampshade, you can use the method provided above to restore its former beauty. Here’s a quick recap of the steps you need to follow:

  • Step 1: Place your lampshade on paper. 
  • Step 2: Roll the lampshade and mark the top and bottom edges with a pencil. 
  • Step 3: Cut out the marked paper template. 
  • Step 4: Spread out your fabric and attach your template onto it with a few pins.
  • Step 5: Cut out the tracing on the fabric. 
  • Step 6: Mix water with glue until it forms a paste. 
  • Step 7: Apply some glue, and paste the fabric to the lampshade until the whole lampshade is fully covered. 
  • Step 8: Fold the end of the fabric and seal it with glue. Seal the top and bottom fabric, then mount it on your lamp. 

Is It Safe To Cover A Lampshade With Wallpaper?

It’s totally safe to cover your lampshade with wallpaper! As a matter of fact, it’s one of the best ways to give your lampshade a personalized look. It also helps to cover up any tears or stains. 

Another wallpaper perk, it is way stiffer than fabric. That means that wallpaper can stay in place longer than fabric. Using wallpaper on your lampshade is very straightforward. It’s pretty much like covering with fabric, but you’re using paper instead. 

If you want to add some visual interest into your room using wallpapers, here are 75+ Modern Wallpaper Designs You Should Check Out (Pictures, Inspiration And Shopping Links).  

What Glue Is Safe To Use On A Lampshade?

Before we answer this, we must put this out there: Hot glue doesn’t always work for all applications. It has a strong hold, but it tends to melt gradually in the presence of heat (in this case, your lamp).

Your choice of glue should have three primary features:  a good hold, heat resistance, and  a good level of transparency. Gorilla Glue or Super Glue may be likely contenders, but none of them can withstand hot temperatures.  

That’s why we recommend Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue for all your lampshade projects. It’s one hundred percent safe for any ribbon or fabric, and maintains hold for the longest time!

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And there you go! A comprehensive and fact-filled guide to decorating your lampshade. We hope this post helps you and anyone around you who needs a new, personalized look for a shade. 

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