Custom Fabric Lampshades
As part of a mantel makeover in my living room, I updated a pair of drum shade sconces with leftover fabric from a reupholstery project to create custom fabric lampshades.
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The original sconces on the mantel (which I swapped out last year) were brass builder specials from a big box store. And the new sconces here that looked black online actually had an “antique bronze” finish that read brown in person. A quick spray of matte black paint remedied that.
I loved the drum shade on the new sconces; it was one of the main reasons I picked them. But, the bright white shade clashed with my ivory curtains and off-white trim and mantel. They stuck out like a sore thumb and needed to change. I had some extra fabric from two chairs I had reupholstered and decided I would cover the shades with it. I took a swatch from each of the two fabrics in question and used painter’s tape to temporarily attach it to the shades. Then I put the shades up and made my choice – I went with this tweed (from Calico) that I had purchased to recover the lumbar pillows on my slipper chairs.
I’ve covered lampshades in fabric before where I have tucked the fabric over the top and under the bottom of the shade to create the “finished edge”. But in this case, I opted not to do that because the lampshade frame sat right at the bottom of the shade and I would have had to make cuts in the fabric to work around it. So I cut the fabric to size – just to cover the face of the shade – and ironed a quarter inch hem on the top, bottom and one side to create a finished edge.
Using Elmer’s Craft Bond spray adhesive, I secured the hems on three sides. After gluing, I had a long rectangle with one unfinished edge, ready to be attached to the shade.
Next, I attached the fabric to the shade. For the first shade, I sprayed both the back of the fabric as well as the shade and found that this was unnecessary and even made it harder to attach the fabric. The second time around, I only sprayed the fabric and found this much easier.
Starting with the unfinished edge, I rolled the fabric onto the shade covering the unfinished edge with the finished one at the end. It was easy to attach when I went slowly to make sure my fabric lined up with the shade edges. The fabric adhered quickly and smoothly.
Here’s a shot of both shades on the sconces.
I considered adding some ribbon or other notion to the top and bottom edges of the shades, but I liked just the fabric so much I decided not to use it. In the past, I’ve embellished the shades of table lamps in our boys’ nursery with rick rack and grosgrain ribbon and love the effect it has on a solid color shade. I think you can get really creative with fabric and embellishments to customize the lamps in your house to your taste and decor.