How to recover your lampshade using ribbon

Updated February 21, 2017

Bring new life to an old lampshade with colourful strands of ribbon. You can find old lampshades at thrift stores and yard sales; as long as you like the shape and size, ignore the fabric condition and the colour. You can recover the shade easily with decorative ribbon to completely change its appearance. Mix and mingle ribbon widths and styles to give your lampshade design interest. Designer lampshades can be costly; make your own to suit your home's decor

Unroll a spool of ribbon. You can use any width of ribbon, wired or unwired, to recover your lampshade.

Cut the unspooled ribbon in half. This step is not vital, but smaller lengths of ribbon are more manageable as you recover the lampshade.

Roll or fold one of the ribbon halves into a 2- to 3-inch long compact spool. Make sure that you are folding/rolling the ribbon so that the decorative side is facing out.

Fold 1/2 inch of the end of the rolled ribbon over the top of the lampshade, from the outside to the inside. Glue the folded end of ribbon to the lampshade with hot glue and a glue gun.

Unfold the ribbon straight down along the height of the outside of the lampshade. When you reach the bottom of the shade, fold the ribbon under the shade rim and stretch it up along the height of the lampshade interior.

Fold the ribbon over the top rim of the lampshade so that it overlaps the first ribbon strand.

Continue to wrap the ribbon around the lampshade, overlapping the edges slightly on each pass. If the ribbon ends before the lampshade is covered, clip the ribbon to the lampshade at the last bottom fold-under with a clothes pin or something similar. Cut the ribbon 1/2 inch from the bottom rim of the lampshade and glue it to the shade with hot glue.

Repeat Steps 3 through 7 to completely recover the lampshade with ribbon.


Recover the lampshade with smaller strips of ribbon that fit the length of the outside of the shade. Cut the ribbons 1 inch longer than the height of the shade, and then fold and glue 1/2 inch of each end to the inside of the top and bottom rim of the shade. The gluing process is more tedious, but you will not use as much ribbon. Make horizontal stripes around the shade by cutting strips of ribbon the exact dimension of the lampshade circumference. Glue the ribbon ends to the shade with hot glue.

Things You'll Need

  • Lampshade
  • Ribbon
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Glue gun
  • Clothes pin
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About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.