How to Restore Lampshades

Written by stephanie daniels
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Restoring a lampshade is a way to preserve an antique lampshade or repair an unusually shaped or sentimental lampshade that you do not want to replace. The process to restore a lampshade may be easy or difficult, depending upon the shape of the lampshade, and the materials you wish to use to restore your lampshade.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Fabric scissors
  • Rust remover sprays
  • Cleaning rags
  • Pliers
  • Tailor's measuring tape
  • Tracing paper
  • Fabric pens or markers
  • Heat resistant fabrics
  • Flame retardant sprays
  • Safety pins
  • Thread
  • Curved needle
  • Embroidery thread
  • Beads
  • Lace

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  1. 1

    Remove the existing lampshade fabric. You may need to cut the material to remove it, or it may easily slip off. Once the shade's frame is exposed, treat it with rust remover or another metal cleaner to restore the frame. Use pliers to reshape the frame if it is bent or misshaped.

  2. 2

    Measure the pieces of fabric you need to cut to restore your lampshade. For circular or cone-shaped lampshades, measure the height of the shade as well as the circumference at both the top and bottom of the old lampshade or the shade frame. For irregularly shaped pieces, trace each section onto a sheet of tracing paper. Add 1/2-inch around all edges of the tracing, to allow for seams.

  3. 3

    Pick a fabric for the lampshade that is resistant to heat. You may use certain types of paper, cotton, silks or velvet. The shade is designed to keep fabric off the light bulb and to prevent fires, but you will still want to pick a fabric that is not plastic based or prone to melting when exposed to heat. Treat the entire sheet of fabric with a flame-retardant spray to further prevent the fabric from becoming overheated and catching fire.

  4. 4

    Use the measurements and tracing paper to cut out the pieces for your new lampshade cover. Remember to leave an extra 1/2 inch around the edges of the fabric piece to allow for the seams to be sewn and for the material to be wrapped over the lampshade frame.

  5. 5

    Pin the fabric onto the lampshade frame. This will allow you to more easily sew the new lampshade fabric onto the lampshade frame. Sew a seam along the outside of the frame, then wrap the open ends of fabric over the frame pieces, and sew a second seam, to secure the fabric onto the lampshade frame.

  6. 6

    Use embroidery thread to create designs on the sections of lampshade. You can also make your own thread and bead tassels to decorate the bottom of the lampshade. You may also sew or use fabric glue to attach lace as an edging decoration on the bottom of the finished lampshade.

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