DIY custom lamp shade

We finally bought our daughter a night-side table, which, of course, needed a lamp. I wanted the lampshade to have a print that coordinated with the rest of the room, and decided to make my own lampshade cover.

I tried covering a lamp shade I already had, but it was slightly tapered, and it ended up a mess because it did not roll smoothly and needed to be tucked at the top to work.

So, I went to Ikea of Houston and bought Roxmo, a beautiful lamp with a perfectly round, smooth lampshade.

I gathered the following supplies:

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  • Non-tapered lamp shade for covering (the one that came with Roxmo)
  • 3/4 yard of 45″ home decorating fabric (I got mine 50% off at my local Joann store)
  • iron
  • spray adhesive
  • mini glue gun with glue sticks
  • tape measure
  • rotary cutter

First, measure the width of the lamp shade.

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Roxmo measures 8.5″.  You will need a piece of fabric that is 3″ wider than your shade.  For me, I needed a piece of fabric that is 11.5″ wide (8.5″ + 3″).  I also need to consider the extra fabric I might need for squaring up my fabric.  For that reason, I suggest purchasing a cut of fabric that is at least 6″ wider than the shade.  When choosing your fabric, be sure  to think about the end result.  If you get something with color, that color will be the filter for your light and the lamp will appear to give off that color.  A dark fabric will really dampen the light.  I chose this:

Folded and selvedges together

Because I purchased my fabric before measuring, I purchased .75 yards, which left quite a bit of scrap fabric for me.

After squaring up the fabric and cutting off the selvedges, iron it really well.

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Using your rotary cutter, trim the width of the fabric (from cut edge to cut edge) to the width of your lamp + 3″.  Then, fold each long end (the edges you just cut) of the fabric by about .5″ on either side and crease it.

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Once both sides are creased, test the placement of the shade so that it is in the middle.  Spray about 5″ of one end of the fabric with spray adhesive or glue.  Make sure that the fabric is taut and free of wrinkles.  Working a in about 4-6″ at a time, continue to spray the adhesive and roll.  Continue to smooth and check for wrinkles.  At about 4-5″ before the end, measure the length.  You’ll need to fold the edge in 1″ to overlap the start of the fabric.   If there is excess fabric (there was quite a bit on mine), cut it off with a rotary cutter before folding.

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Time to fire up the hot glue gun!  Place a long stream of glue to secure the fold of the fabric to the lampshade, overlapping the place where you started.  Make sure to start the roll on the seam of the original lampshade.  Otherwise, you will end up with two seams showing when the lamp is on.

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Now, we’re going to complete the edges of the lamp.  Begin folding the creased edge of the fabric toward the inside of the shade.  I found it was better to apply the hot glue on the shade, then fold the fabric on top of it, but I learned that the hard way (you can see in the picture I’m applying it to the fabric instead.

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Work only a little portion at a time because the hot glue cools quickly and will not be as sticky.  (Ask me how I know this!)

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Now, the tricky side of the shade – the side with the bars!  On this end, we’ll need to CAREFULLY clip the folded fabric almost down to the edge of the inside of the fold, but NOT TO THE SHADE!  If you accidentally clip too deeply,  you can help stop fraying with fray check or with clear fingernail polish.

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Once you have clipped any place where there is a bar, hot glue the fabric to the edge like you did before.  At the end, remove any stray hot glue visible from inside the shade.  It comes off easily.

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In less than 30 minutes, you have a boutique decorator’s lamp shade in the exact fabric you wanted!

Completed Lamp Shade

I love my daughter’s room!  I made the curtains, the quilt, the pillow cases, and now the lamp shade!  You might also see that she loves Darth Vader, and has an alarm clock to show it.  Show me your custom lamp shades and let us know if you have devised any improvements and what they are.  We want to hear from you.

I was inspired by the Caldwell Project’s “Cover A Lampshade in 5 Easy Steps,” but I modified her process a bit.  I folding the edges and pressing them before rolling the fabric on the shade.  I did not want to have to trim the edges of the fabric after I’d already put it on the shade – I find that cutting fabric (or wrapping paper for that matter), once it’s in a tube is awkward.  Also, my lamp shade had bars on the edges that I had to work around.

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