How to Repair a Lampshade

Updated April 17, 2017

Lampshades have a big impact on the appearance of a room, and when a lampshade falls into disrepair it can make the entire room look shabby. For a simple fix for trimming that has come loose, or lining that sags, simply tack the fabric back in place with a hot glue gun. This article discusses more significant repairs to a lampshade that require replacing the outside shade. The prospect seems daunting, but taken slowly and one step at a time, you will find it surprisingly simple.

Remove the outside layer of the lampshade. If the lampshade has a liner that is in good shape, it can stay in place. If the liner needs replacing as well as the outer, remove the liner completely as well. Be sure to remove any excess fabric that the original shade maker may have glued to the lampshade frame.

Replace the liner if necessary. The liner will need replacing if the old liner has damage that would show through the new outer cover. Some lampshades don't have liners, but you will need a liner if the new outer shade fabric is sheer or delicate. To replace the liner, hold the liner fabric diagonally so it drapes across the inside of the frame. Start at the bottom of the frame and pin the liner in place. Once it is pinned around the entire bottom, pull the fabric snug, not tight, and pin it in place around the top of the frame. With small stitches, sew the lining fabric in place and trim any excess fabric to a width of about a quarter-inch.

Replace the outer fabric. Drape the outer fabric over the lampshade frame and starting at the bottom of the frame, pin the fabric in place. Follow this by pinning the fabric in place at the top. Once pinned, you can stitch it to the frame following the same seam lines as the liner.

Cover the seams. To cover the sewn seams, cut a length of decorative binding ribbon that wraps all the way around the bottom of the shade with about 1 inch of overlap. Using either hot glue or fabric adhesive, glue the tape in place to cover the stitching. Repeat on the top of the shade.

Clean up. Any dangling threads or places where the adhesive failed to stick will show when light shines through the new shade, so go back and clean up any loose ends. You can also very lightly steam the shade to remove any hint of wrinkles and to help it set in its new position.


If the bottom of the shade is much larger than the top pleating the fabric by taking 3/4-inch stitches evenly spaced around the smaller side will allow you to gather the fabric evenly. Another way to handle different sizes at top and bottom of the frame is to cut panels the size and shape of the area between the struts that hold the top and bottom of the shade together. Sew each panel to the frame individually, and cover the seams with decorative tape. Put the binding tape around the top and bottom, after the panel tape has been placed, to keep neat edges. You can also add beads and other decorative items to personalise the freshly repaired lampshade.

Things You'll Need

  • Lampshade
  • Fabric for new outer covering
  • Fabric for new liner (optional)
  • Hot glue or textile glue
  • Needle
  • Thread that matches the new covering
  • Decorative trim ribbon
  • Dressmakers pins or straight pins
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Legal - I have 15+ years experience as a trial attorney handling criminal and civil cases. I taught classes at both the Anchorage Police Academy, at the Alaska State Crime Lab, and at Alaska Junior College. Motorcycles - I have a published book for beginning women riders, and own and operate a web forum with over 800 members from 10 countries. I am known in the motorcycling community as a distance rider and mentor for new riders.