Easy DIY Lampshade Makeover Ideas Using Scrap Fabric

​Make this DIY lampshade makeover project to add light to your back patio and front porch using thrift store lampshades and scrap fabric!

​Turn a plain lampshade with a little bit of excess fabric into an adorable hanging pendant lamp for a budget-friendly lighting project!

If you love to find an old lampshade at the thrift stores then you will enjoy these two DIY projects! New lampshades can be so expensive! Look for lampshades at the thrift store and give them a makeover to go with your color scheme!

In this post, you will learn where to shop for a used lampshade, how to change the lampshade into a unique hanging light fixture, and an alternative to a regular lightbulb! I’ve also created a YouTube video tutorial just for you! Let’s get started!

The following post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and then buy something, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you! Thank you for supporting my blog. full disclosure here.

Shop the Thrift Stores

The first step is to go shopping at your local thrift stores. You can find old lampshades for under $5 at most of the popular shops like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and your local thrift stores. Check out your local flea market and when yard sales are in season, shop from your neighbors!

Look for lampshades that have a wire ribbed frame. Drum shades that do not have vertical ribbing will not work for this particular DIY light project.

Don’t worry if the fabric on the lampshade is dirty or stained. If the frame is in nice shape, that’s all you need to be concerned about. Check the bottom of the shade to see if the shade will collapse once the fabric is removed. Look for hinges near the bottom rim of the lampshade. If you don’t want to deal with reassembling the lampshade once the fabric has been removed, avoid purchasing that style of lampshade.

I am making two different hanging lampshade lights in this post. One project includes one large lampshade while the other project includes three lampshades of varying sizes with a similar shape.

an old fabric lampshade with the dirty lampshade liner fabric removed

Remove the Old Lampshade Fabric

​Removing the old lampshade fabric can be tricky! The fabric glue that is used to secure the fabric edge to the wire rings of the lampshade frame is strong! You will need to use sharp fabric scissors and some muscle power to pull the fabric off!

Start by cutting the fabric near the wire lampshade frame. Then pull at the fabric until it is all removed.

You can leave at little extra fabric attached to the wire frame. This creates a vintage look that I love! If you remove all of the fabric, we will be adding more to the frame.

​You will see that I used three lampshades with a similar shape in graduating sizes. This creates such a unique look in the end!

a lady showing scrap fabrics cut into strips for a lampshade makeover project

Prepare the Fabric

You can use any kind of fabric that goes with your decor style. It’s best to avoid some fabrics that are printed on one side like a floral print. A linen fabric, canvas, muslin, reproduction grain sack fabric or even a dropcloth would work well for this great project. It won’t take much fabric so you could even use scraps from sewing and upholstery projects.

I chose to use a variety of canvas fabrics that one of my blogging friends sent me. Karen from The Slipcover Maker sent me heavy canvas scraps in various colors that also match my colors and style. Thanks, Karen!

Cut lengths of the fabric about 1/2″ wide by the length of the lampshade frame. I cut my fabric strips in long sections and then cut them to fit as I attached the strips of fabric to the lampshade frame. 

wire lampshade frame with fabric removed and new canvas fabric being tied on to create a diy lampshade makeover project

Attach the Fabric to the Lampshade

There are several ways to attach the fabric to the lampshade.

  • Spray the wire lampshade frame with spray adhesive. Do this step outside to avoid overspray on your good floor!
  • Use a piece of double-sided tape on the wireframe to attach the fabric. Get a heavy-duty brand to make sure it has sticking power!
  • Apply Mod Podge to the wire frame and use it to glue the fabric onto the wire frame.

In my opinion, the easy way to attach the fabric is with a good ole’ hot glue gun. The glue dries quickly so it helps to move this project along. I used Gorilla glue sticks because they seem to have the best holding power.

Simply apply the hot glue to one section of the wire frame then stick the fabric strips to the glue. Pat it down carefully with your fingers and it will be set in a minute!

You can attach the fabric strips the way you like. But if you want a uniform look, apply the strips of fabric to the vertical wire ribs first. Then glue down the fabric on the top of the shade and then on the bottom of the lampshade.

I followed the same steps for each of the three lampshades. I used a different method for the other lampshade makeover project. More on that later!

thanks for being here!

I hope you are enjoying this project! Let me know if you have any questions. Or leave me a comment to tell me about your project and ideas!

thanks, Cindy 😀

Add Lighting to Your Fabulous Lampshade

Let’s add some cool lights to this lampshade! I wasn’t sure how I was going to light this hanging lampshade but as I worked on it the idea popped into my head. I made a similar hanging drum lampshade for our front porch a couple of years ago. I decided to use the same method to add lights to this hanging lampshade pendant light.

I used a jute twine woven basket that I had in my workshop and put a bundle of tiny Christmas lights inside. I also pulled the end plug through the bottom of the basket so that I could plug the lights in when I hung the lampshade as a pendant light.

Handy tip: Shop Often!

Visit your local thrift store and keep your eye out for lampshades! It might take more than one trip to find the lampshades!

Then I used some jute twine across the top to hold this string of lights in when I turned the basket upside down. The basket I was using to hold the lights had to be turned upside down so that the lights would be able to light the surface below the hanging light. 

If you have a wire basket that isn’t so closed off as my woven basket was, you won’t need to secure the string of lights in. The other hanging lampshade project includes an open wire basket so it didn’t need to be turned upside down. You’ll see that DIY lampshade project later in this post.

Once the lights are in the basket, the next step is to secure the basket to the wire lampshade. I used a length of jute twine through the basket handles then through the inside of the shade and up to the wireframe of the lampshade. I knotted it a couple of times and cut off the excess jute twine.

Hang the Lampshade Pendant Light

​Fortunately, I had some leftover black chain and silver chain to hang the pendant light. I used the chain along with an outdoor extension cord to hang the light over the table on our back patio.

​I used a black outdoor extension cord to bring power to this hanging pendant light. The light hangs from the pergola on our back patio so the black extension cord can be secured along the boards on the top of the pergola using hooks. I ran the extension cord to the power source on the back patio.

The back patio hanging light is connected to an outdoor rated timer and the light comes on for about 9 hours each night!

a lampshade makeover project transformed from three old lampshades that is now a pendant light over an outdoor patio table

More DIY Lampshade Ideas

I had enough fabric to make another hanging lampshade light for our front porch. This time, I used the long strips of fabric and tied them to the top and bottom of the wire lampshade frame. I used another basket and added string lights inside.

Then I used an outdoor extension cord in the string light plug, up the chain, and back towards the channel that frames our windows. The cord is tucked into the channel and down towards the power source for the front porch. The hanging lampshade pendant light is on a timer so it comes on from dusk to dawn every evening!

Can you think of other ways to use this style of repurposed lampshades? I would love to hear your ideas! If you make one of these hanging lampshade projects, or any other lampshade project for that matter, share it with my Facebook Group, Recreate and Decorate with Reinvented Delaware. We would love for you to join us for inspiration!

YouTube Video Tutorial

Vintage Inspired Thrift Flip

Hanging Lampshade Makeover + More Projects!

hanging lampshade pendant light made from old lampshades and scrap fabric hanging over an outdoor table on a patio
Pinterest pin with text overlay DIY Lamshade Makeover with ReinventedDelaware.com

Supplies

Scroll through the supplies below. Tap to purchase!

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Cindy Rust

Cindy has been decorating her home with thrift store finds for 40 years. She is an avid thrift store shopper who loves to makeover the items she finds into vintage-inspired home decor and furniture. When she isn’t thrift shopping or painting a piece of furniture, you can find her making homemade butter, working in her garden, or painting with watercolors.

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DIY Lampshade Makeover Using Scrap Fabric

Make this DIY lampshade makeover project to add light to your back patio and front porch using thrift store lampshades and scrap fabric!
Prep Time1 hour

Instructions

  • Purchase used lampshade with a ribbed wire frame from thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales.
  • Remove the old lampshade fabric using scissors to cut and you hadns to pull it off of the wire frame.
  • Cut 1/2" strips of scrap fabric like reproduction grainsack, canvas, linen or dropcloth.
  • Using a hot glue gun, attach the strips of fabric to the wire frame of the lampshade.
  • Add string lights to a thrift store wire basket and secure the basket to the lampshade with jute twine.
  • Connect the string lights to an outdoor extension cord and hang on your front porch or patio.

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4 Comments

  1. Michele - vintage home designs says:

    This is such a cute and clever idea Cindy!!

    1. Cindy Rust says:

      Thanks Michele! So gladd you enjoyed it!

  2. Rebecca Sweet says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledgeable content with us. Impressed with the precision and creativity of the garden looks stunning.

    1. Cindy Rust says:

      Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the project!