Friday, October 19, 2012

DIY Burlap Covered Lamp Shades

Why yes, I have found yet another purpose for burlap.  I know you are all as excited as I am!  I had mentioned in a prior post that I had been thinking about covering my drum-shaped lamp shades in my bedroom with burlap.  Well, I finally got around to doing it.  It was a super easy project, and was able to complete it in a matter of 2-3 hours (dry time, and all).  Take a look at the photo I used for inspiration

Burlap Flared Drum Lamp Shade
Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn

So here's what you need:  1/2 yard of burlap (for two shades)
                                          glue gun and glue sticks
                                          clothes pins
                                          spray adhesive

I started by laying my burlap fabric out on the floor, and then traced around the top and bottom of my lamp shade with a highlighter.  I used a highlighter as I knew it wouldn't bleed through to the other side.  Once this was done, I cut about an inch above the traced lines so to allow for me to fold the fabric over the lamp shade and glue down.  I then used the cut piece of fabric as a template for making the second shade.  Here's what it looked like once it was all cut.

Next, I took the shades, cut fabric, and spray adhesive outside.  Do NOT attempt to spray the adhesive on the shades indoors, as it will leave a sticky residue everywhere.  I laid the fabric out, turning it over so that none of my highlighter markings showed, and made sure the shade lined up with the fabric. What I mean by this is, the top of my shade was smaller in diameter, then the bottom of the shade.  If I didn't make sure the fabric and shade where lined up accordingly, the fabric would not have covered the shade.  I then sprayed a thick layer of adhesive

on the shade itself.  I did this in sections and rolled the shade on its side with the fabric underneath it.  As I rolled the shade along the fabric, the fabric adhered to the shade.  This was the best method, as I could ensure that the shade remained on the fabric, and was lined up so that there was about an inch of fabric left on the top and bottom of the shade.  Until the spray adhesive dries, you do have some time to fix any bubbles or issues where the fabric might not have laid correctly on the shade.  I smoothed the fabric out with my hand, as I went along....though to be honest, the method of rolling the shade on the fabric (making sure the fabric is tout) made for very little issues like that. 

I let the adhesive dry a bit, and then began to trim off a lot of the excess fabric on top and bottom.  I also folded over the fabric to form the seam, which I kept in place by using a clothes pin.  I took my hot glue gun, keeping extra glue sticks handy, and began to run a line of hot glue along the very top of the inside of the shade.  BEWARE:  I initially put glue on the very top of the shade, but that actually, once dried, looks lumpy and bumpy.  So again the best method is to place the glue at the very top of the inside of the shade.  Fold the fabric over the top of the shade, pulling it tight and press down.  I did this in one foot sections, and placed clothes pins on the top of the shade, to hold the fabric against the glue and shade, forming a permanent bond. 

I choose to do the tops of both shades, and then went back and did the bottoms of both shades, again using clothes pins to secure the fabric to the glue and shade!  Please NOTE that you DO NOT want to adhere the area around the seam, until you have trimmed the fabric and made a somewhat level vertical seam.  Once you have done this, pull the fabric tight, glue between the folded fabric, and then glue again the entire fabric to the shade.  If you don't glue both layers of the fold to each other first, the top layer of fabric won't lie flat, and will actually pop out more.  Once the seam is glued down then fold the fabric at the ends over to then be glued to the inside of the top/bottom of the shade. 

It might sound a bit complicated, but it's really easy.  Here's a picture of the finished product.

Here's the before: 

Here's the after:

Now, I actually made trim for the shades, out of 1 inch wide pieces of burlap fabric.  With a little Heat and Bond, I folded both sides of the burlap in to meet each other and then used my iron to secure them together.  This is what they look like, front and back.  They ended up being 1/2" wide which would have been perfect to go around the top and bottom edges of the shade.  HOWEVER, I think I might not even use them as I really like the look of the shades without them.  You'll have to tell me what you think!  Here's the trim, front side: 

Here's the back side: 

This is an idea of what the shade would look like with the trim

The whole purpose of the trim, really, is to avoid seeing the folded over fabric, that was glued to the inside of the lamp, show through when the lamp is actually on.  I didn't notice that the edging showed through all that much, so I kind of like them just the way they are.  But, if I wanted to put the trim on, all I would do is get my nifty glue gun and glue the trim along the top and bottom of the shade. But, here are some from Pottery Barn ..they don't have trim, and they are just beautiful.
Burlap Tapered Drum Lamp Shade


  1. Your shades look beautiful! Thanks very much for sharing the DIY instructions.

  2. Oh, thank you so much! This project ended up being a lot easier than I had expected!

  3. Wonderful job! Thanks for the detailed directions.