Thursday, June 14, 2012

Do-it-yourself lampshade tutorial

I love garage sales. Even better is when I have a laundry list of improvements around the house, and find all I need in the $5 pile somewhere - like this lamp.
Loads of banana yellow goodness

I have dreams of making a corner of my bedroom into a little reading spot - a nice little slipper chair, maybe a small table and a lamp. I priced some at Target (not the best quality) and Lowe's (wayyy too expensive) and wondered how that would ever happen. Then I happened across this little baby hiding in a basement corner at an estate sale.

I used a number of tutorials to get started, and then ended up doing my own thing in the end. The basic instructions often use a spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the lampshade, but some have also used fabric glue to tack it down. I used Krylon Spray Adhesive, which was still tacky but repositionable, which always helps. LOL

I started by spray painting the lamp base in a nice nickel finish so it would match the other light fixtures in our bedroom. The spray paint was on sale at the local hardware for store for less than $4.

Then I made a template with the lampshade. I found a roll of brown paper wrapping at the Dollar Store, laid it out flat and rolled the lampshade along and traced the outline. Make sure to leave an extra amount (maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch) on the edges so you can wrap it around the top and bottom of the lampshade.

Once I had my template, I sprayed on the adhesive and attached the fabric. Like I said, it was repositionable, so smoothing wrinkles, etc. is easy peasy. I wanted a somewhat bold, geometric print and they didn't have quite what I wanted, but I picked a nice Waverly pattern (on sale!) called "Viewfinder" (which I thought was cool, being a photography buff) that matched my color scheme perfectly. Note: depending on the pattern you choose, if your lampshade is slightly wider at the bottom than the top, like mine was, it could make the pattern look a bit skewed. If you're okay with this, proceed as normal.) When you go to cut it out, you can probably fix this a bit by lining it up straight on the grain.

Here's where things get fun: normally you're supposed to fold your fabric over once, then once again, over the inside edge of the lampshade to make a nice, clean edge. Since I wasn't thinking straight, I cut the overlap a leeeetle too short, and well, that put an end to my nice inside edge. At first things were going smoothly - I glued it on and then held it with the clothespins as suggested in other nice tutorials - then I realized I could only find three clothespins. So we moved onto whatever we could find next: which happened to be curtain rod hooks. Nice. But at least you get the idea - if you have a zillion of these, it could hold down the double-folded fabric along the entire edge while the glue dries.

If you cut yours too short like I did mine, here's what you could potentially end up with: a slightly messy, unevenly cut and fraying edge. No worries, you just cover that up with a nice binding. More on that later. Here is where I got impatient with the idea of fabric glue and decided to step it up a notch: hot glue. It dries very quickly for us impatient types. And I only burned a little of my skin off once. Wait, twice. Excellent. 

Now comes the next part: normally some tutorials would have the Heat 'n Bond stuff on the outside for a decorative finish. I changed my mind halfway on this one and decided not to do an outside trim, but still had that messy inside edge to contend with. Then I thought how a nice funky ribbon, like the kind you can get on a $1 spool at Target or other craft stores, would look really cute - but I wasn't about to go out again just for that. So I figured, I spent money on that Heat 'n Bond stuff, so I wasn't going to not use it.

I chose the 5/8" width, although in hindsight I probably should have picked the half-inch. It all depends on how wide you want it, and you can of course trim the edges if you're that picky. (Which I contemplated.)

All you do is make a basic binding - cut a strip of fabric (mine was about two inches to account for the folded sides) and fold over the edges, with the Heat 'n Bond sandwiched in between - then press.
Measure the binding to the circumference of
your shade and glue into place.
Once I had all my hem tape made, I then hot glued it to the inside of the shade - it covered up all those rough edges and glue boogers nicely. You could easily do the same along the outside edge if you wanted, too.
Trim is in place. Hot glue is such a marvelous invention. 
Time to plug it in (hope it works!) and
enjoy. The nickel finish paint turned out
quite well, I think. 
A close-up. You can also add a layer of white fabric in
between if your fabric is especially light-colored or thin.
You may want to test it out first,  just in case!