How to Cover a Lamp Shade

Added by on March 2nd, 2010 @ 9:08 am

I love the look of white ceramic lamp bases and I see them everywhere these days.  Naturally, I can never quite justify the price of these lamp bases, never mind the shades, for something that I just simply want.  Except, of course, when I am at Goodwill!

A few weeks ago I found this white ceramic lamp base and a random shade at my local Goodwill store in Ellsworth, Maine.  For a total of $5.00, the ugly ducklings came home with me for a re-vamping!


The lamp base itself was in pretty good shape.  I gave it a good cleaning and it was ready to go.  The shade, on the other hand, needed to be broken down.  The cashier at Goodwill commented on how pretty the lamp shade was and she seemed disappointed when I explained that I was going to rip the fabric off and recover it.  To each her own, right?

With a few tugs and tears the fabric on the shade came right off.


With some patterned white fabric and white bias tape in hand, I started to recover the shade.  There are probably a gazillion tutorials on the web that explain how to cover a lamp shade, but I was too impatient.


I dug right in, making my first mistake.  I cut a single strip of fabric a bit wider than the shade and tried to wrap it around.  With a cone-shaped shade, that just didn’t work.  So, I got smart and used a large piece of fabric, wrapping it around as I went.


Next I glued the edges and trimmed the fabric down right to the edge of the shade.  It was almost complete!




Then I glued the bias tape in place on both the top and bottom to give a nice, finished look.  I also used the bias tape to cover the glued seam of the fabric.


With a few swipes of my hot glue gun I was done.  I plugged in the lamp and admired my handiwork.  I couldn’t help but feel like I got a great lamp for a total steal.  Here is how the cost broke down:

Lamp base: $2.99

Lamp shade: $1.99

Fabric: $3.50 (for ½ yard)

Bias tape: $1.90

Total: $10.38


Not too shabby considering the lamps I admire elsewhere start at $30.  Plus, I ended up with a custom lamp shade that coordinates with my guest bedroom.

So, be sure to make the lighting section a regular stop when you are in your local Goodwill and you, too, will have creative, inexpensive lighting solutions for your home!

Erin is the author of the Domestic Adventure Blog, where she documents her adventures in homemaking while juggling life, love and her career.  By day Erin is a fundraising and PR professional for a Maine nonprofit.  Erin lives near Bar Harbor, Maine, with her husband Chris and their dog Frankie.
Ken Christian
Senior Director, Communications
Goodwill Administrative Office

Updated 2 months ago by Calvin Gilbert

DIY & Goodwill NNE

Giving new life to Goodwill finds extends the life of the item and makes for a sustainable choice. Not only will you be saving money, but you will be saving our planet by diverting products from landfills.

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Sustainability starts with a shirt. Goodwill calls it shirt economics. Shirt donations create jobs, and shirt sales sustain the working community.

Erin Fogg

Erin spends her free time blogging at Domestic Adventure from her home near Bar Harbor, Maine. She writes about finding fulfillment in the simple pleasures of domesticity while juggling motherhood, marriage and a full-time career in fundraising and public relations. She wants to make her cake and eat it too.