Recover a lampshade

As I showed off in my house tour, my dining room fixtures look like this now:

They started as the same drop pendants, but with a thin marigold colored glass shade. The shade was so small that the fixtures disappeared in the room, and once I painted everything, the marigold color was just awful.

I bought two plain jane lampshades at Home Depot on clearance. Because the shades needed to hang from the ceiling, I needed shades with hardware conducive to that. Then I found this great fabric at a quilt store that had nearly every color I was working with. With all my materials, the rest was just a case of reverse engineering.

Since mine was track lighting, I had to completely dismantle the fixture so I could thread the shade on. I just made a note to myself which wire went with which wire, and it was way easier than you’d think.

Here’s how the lampshades started:

Then I just started peeling it apart. I took off the bias tape around the top and bottom and took note of these little ribbons covering the hardware.

When I had gotten the entire shade off, I used it as my pattern and cut out the new fabric around it. Then I sewed the new fabric together in the same way the old one was. I stretched the new fabric around the outside, and then put the lining on the inside. I just started gluing as I went, bringing the edge of the lining around to the front and gluing in place. I made sure to use those little ribbons again so everything looked nice and tidy and covered up.

Now to cover up the last of the mess. I made bias tape out of the same fabric (although I didn’t bother cutting it on the bias. I know there’s a name for this tape, but I can’t think of it.) by cutting a long strip two inches wide, folding each edge to meet in the middle and ironing (so now it’s 1″ wide) and then ironing the strip in half. (to make a 1/2″ strip with all raw edges tucked away inside.) I just glued that into place with Fabric Glue and they were finished.

One tip: if you use these shades as drop pendants, I’d recommend using a large washer in between the bulb and the shade. The big washer will hold the weight of the shade level better than a lightbulb on it’s own would.

Also: you don’t need to be too concerned about fire safety as long as you use the right bulb. Just don’t try to use a huge lightbulb in a small space and your makeover should work out just fine.