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How To Cover A Lampshade With Fabric

There are several ways to cover a lampshade.  Ask ten DIYers how to cover a lampshade and you’ll probably get ten (slightly) different answers.  But let me show you the technique I use.

Note that this is the technique I use for covering plastic-lined lampshades.  If your lampshade is fabric on the inside, this won’t work.

How to cover a lampshade with fabric - tutorial

How To Cover A Lampshade With Fabric

Project Cost:

Approximately $10 (fabric costs vary greatly; cost does not include the lampshade)

Tools & Materials:

  1. Plastic-lined lampshade,
  2. Your choice of fabric,
  3. Two packages of double fold bias tape,
  4. One package 3/4″ Peel ‘N Stick Fabric Fuse (this is not iron-on tape!),
  5. Fabric glue,
  6. Scissors,
  7. Iron.


First, I remove any trim that is on the lampshade. Also, if there’s a printed fabric adhered to the plastic liner, I remove that as well. The lampshade I used just happened to be a white fabric, so I left it on, but I did remove the trim from the top and bottom.

How to cover a lampshade with fabric - getting started

To adhere the fabric to the lampshade, I use Peel ‘N Stick Fabric Fuse, which is a double-sided sticky adhesive (not iron-on). I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics. If you don’t have a JoAnn Fabrics, you can purchase this online.

 Peel 'N Stick Fabric Fuse

I start by placing a line of adhesive tape around the top and the bottom of the lampshade, about 1/8″ from the edge.

Applying the adhesive tape to the lampshade

Then I lay out my fabric with the right side down.

After removing the protective paper from the adhesive strips, I place the lampshade onto the fabric. I make sure that the existing seam on the lampshade (where the plastic liner meets) is facing up.

Then I roll the lampshade onto the fabric, first going one direction, and then the other direction, until the fabric is adhered to the adhesive strip all the way around. I leave about 1 inch on either side of the existing seam on the lampshade. I double check the fabric to be sure there are no wrinkles, and once the fabric is perfectly straight on the shade, I press the fabric firmly onto the adhesive strip all the way around, on the top and bottom edges of the lampshade.

Next, I place a strip of adhesive right next to the seam on the lampshade.

And then I press the fabric onto the adhesive strip and trim away the excess. (The dotted line on the photo shows where I trimmed the fabric.)

The I overlap the other side of the fabric and trim so that there’s about a 2-inch overlap.

I then fold the top layer back, fold the fabric under about 1 inch.

Fold back into place, and press to ensure that the top layer of fabric has a nice crease and will lay perfectly flat.

Then I fold that layer back once again, place an adhesive strip as close to the pressed crease as possible…

And then adhere to the bottom layer. Because it has a nicely ironed crease, the result looks really neat and straight.

Next I trim away all of the excess fabric. I always do a quick trim just to remove the abundance of fabric, and then go back to clean up the edges.

I’ve found that it’s preferable to have a bit of the edge of the lampshade showing. If the fabric goes right up to the edge of the lampshade, the trim might not cover it completely.

Next I place a line of adhesive along the top and the bottom edge of the lampshade, as close to the edge as possible.

Because my lampshade wasn’t a perfect barrel shade (meaning the top diameter was a little bit smaller than the bottom diameter), I used bias tape for the trim. Had I used ribbon or something else that has no “give” to it, I would have wound up with puckers.

So beginning with the accent color–green–I placed the trim right along the edge of the strip. Notice that the green doesn’t cover right up to the edge of the lampshade. I’ll use the primary color to cover that edge.

How to cover a lampshade with fabric - applying trim strips

Next, I used the main color bias tape that I selected to cover right up to the edge. Since the green bias tape didn’t cover all of the adhesive, there was still adhesive exposed for the black tape.

When I got all the way around the lampshade, I trimmed the green and black to the same length, folded the two colors under, together, about 1/2 inch…

And then used a piece of adhesive to adhere the ends of the bias tapes to the lampshade, covering the raw edges of the other ends of the bias tapes.

I then went back and added a bead of fabric glue to adhere the black bias tape to the green bias tape. I don’t really think this was necessary, but I just wanted to be sure it was on there really well.

And voila! A custom lampshade.

So, in a nutshell, that’s how to cover a lampshade with fabric.

Now that’s not so difficult, is it?  Just think of the possibilities!  Sometimes I find it impossible to find just the right ready-made lampshade for a room, but with a little bit of time and effort, the choices become almost limitless!



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  1. I love what you've done with the lampshade, have you ever thought of putting a kit together for designing lampshades? I know our customers would be interested.

  2. love the directions for recovering the lampshade, unfortunately I have a lampshade that has splines on the bias, and the old covering has rotted not able to get a pattern I would need instructions on both the lining and recovering the shade if possible. any suggestions would be appreciated.

  3. I love what you've done with the lampshade, have you ever thought of putting a kit together for designing lampshades? I know our customers would be interested.

  4. How do you remove fabric which is adhered to a plastic lamp shade? I want to recover a shade which has bright red on it and don't want it to show through. Your instructions are wonderful and your lampshade is great!

  5. DesignTree, I've always just tugged a little, and the fabric pulls right off. It's generally either glued at the top and the bottom, or it's been adhered with a spray adhesive which loses it's strength over time. I can't guarantee that it'll work perfectly for you, but I've never run into a problem just pulling the fabric off.

    1. how would you re-cover a lampshade that is quite a bit smaller at the top then the bottom? i can’t wat to try this! thanks

  6. i want cover a old trunk to put in my sewing room to put sewing stuff in, can you tell me what king of glue or paint i can use.thanks for the help on the lamp too.

  7. I’m your newest follower – you sure make things look easy (which I know aren’t!) Thanks for all the DIY instructions for the rest of us just beginning. You are quite talented!! Loved the tour of the bedroom, it turned out fabulous! Off to look at some more of your postings!

  8. Thanks for all your help with covering lampshades, I always wanted to do this but they never turn out so I really think this will help. The bedroom is beautiful, I am saving this may use some of your ideas to re-do my room!!

  9. You are FAB!! Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’ve looked at several and this one actually looks doable. Enjoy your blog (and aesthetic) so much. Keep going!

  10. Thanks for the advices! I’m obsessed to do lampshade makeovers. Now I know a new techique with fabrics. Fabric shade has been one of my the ideas to implement.

  11. As is always the case your tutorial is right on. I sure could use some help for a lamp and shade that I have loved for years. The lamp & shade are Stifle; from the days of good quality and expense (not like the junk put out today). The shade finally bit the dust after years of service and moving. Have hung on to it in hopes of recovering someday. It is large and somewhat of a bell or tulip shape. Not a straight line in sight. Some tears in the silk. Any hints you would share with me please. Thank you

    1. The bell and tulip shaped ones generally require sewing, and I’ve honestly never done it before. If I remember correctly, you have to sew an outer liner to fit over the wire frame in your decorative fabric, and you also have to sew an inner liner, and then sandwich the frame between the two fabrics. Definitely way more difficult that any lamp shade I’ve ever tackled. In fact, one reason I try to buy barrel shades is because they’re so easy to recover.

      1. Do you think that fabric spray paint would work on lamp shades like this? I too have some tulip shaped that no longer match my decor,,,,but I’ve never used fabric spray paint. I may give it a try. BUT the million dollar question is — is there a fabric spray paint that you can suggest? I’ve NEVER touched any of this before! But I’m willing to try just about anything once! LOL

  12. We’ve got some not-so-great-looking lamp shades from yard sales with very functional lamps so that would be a good option.