Last weekend, Jared and I skipped town and hopped over to Salt Lake City for a visit with our friends Daniel and Amber and their new baby boy. It was a great weekend trip. I brought home gobs of photos of the so-so-cute-you-can-hardly-believe-it little Levi, and poor Jared brought home a mean sunburn (courtesy of skiing sans sunscreen on a 60-degree day. Lesson learned.)
Amidst the general Salt Lake City-ing and baby-loving business, Amber and I took a day to do a little DIYing with a pair of white lampshades she had up in Levi’s room. The baby room is crazy adorable: lots of blues, browns, whites and elephants. But Amber was hoping to jazz up the plain lampshades with a fun new fabric, so we hit up Michael’s for a few supplies and then swung by Jo-Ann’s, where Amber spotted the perfect fabric for our project. After ooing and ahhing about it for a few minutes, we realized it was a Dwell Studio design. Go figure. Those folks know their stuff.
If you have the burning desire to recover a lampshade in your place (baby room or otherwise), this is really worth giving a try. The project took us about an hour a shade, but with a few minor adjustments, you could probably get the job done a bit speedier. Here’s how we did it:
The supply list is fairly minimal: plain white (or another super light color) cylindrical lampshades, hot glue gun, high-temp hot glue (so it doesn’t melt the shade or fabric), measuring tape, scissors and ribbon.
Important tip: This project would be a gazillion times simpler if you buy lampshades that are perfect cylinders (i.e. they are the same circumference on the top rim and bottom rim). The ones we used were slightly narrower on the top than the bottom, and though they turned out OK in the end, we did have to do a little tweaking and patchwork to make the final project presentable.
Start by measuring the lampshade’s height and circumference, then add 2 inches to each. Those will be the measurements for your fabric pieces. For example, our shades were 6 ½ inches tall with a circumference of 30 ½ inches, so we cut our fabric into two 8 ½-by-32 ½-inch pieces.
Using dots of hot glue, attach one end of the fabric along the seam of the lampshade. Again, this is much easier if the lampshade is a perfect cylinder; in that case you can run the fabric end straight along the seam. If your shade isn’t a perfect cylinder, you’ll have to start it at a wonkier angle. Do a few practice wraps before gluing to make sure the fabric will wrap properly.
Using dots of hot glue, slowly work your way around by gluing the fabric to the shade (to avoid lots of bumpy glue under the fabric, we kept most of the gluing to about an eighth of an inch from the shade’s top and bottom). Pull the fabric as tight as you can during this part of the process. If you have any visible wrinkles, it’s worth pulling it up and trying again. The tighter/smoother the fabric, the better (a.k.a. less homemade-y) your finished product will look.
If you are using a shade that’s slightly narrower on top, there’s a good chance you’ll be left with a less than perfect seam like us. We used a second fabric (a matching polka dot print) to make a vertical patch down the length of the shade. Just make sure you fold over the edges of the second fabric to make clean seams down the sides.
Once the fabric is all glued into place, you might be left with a rough-looking top. To fix this, we found matching green ribbon and lined the outside and inside of the top of the shade (we used hot glue again to attach it).
So what’s DIYing in your neck of the woods these days? Any new projects underway? Or ideas still in the planning stages? Any fellow lampshade coverers with tips to share? Let’s hear it!