DIY: How to Print Photos Onto a Lamp Shade

Updated February 21, 2017

Printing photos onto a lamp shade can bring new life into a room without having to spend a lot on redecorating. It can showcase vacation photos, tie together a room's themed decor, or bring a touch of whimsy to an otherwise plain living space. Photo lampshades also make thoughtful gifts, as each one is individual and personalised. Creating such a shade takes only an afternoon's worth of work, and can be completed on a small budget.

Choose and organise the photographs you would like to print onto your lampshade. Make a colour photocopy of every photo you will use. If a photo is black and white, still use the colour setting on the photocopier, as this will produce a more detailed image than a black-and-white copy.

Cover each photocopy with a gloss gel medium. Allow to dry. Repeat this process three more times, allowing each coat to dry before reapplying more gel. When the gel is completely dry, you should have a transparent-looking, glossy finish on the front side of each photocopy.

Hold each glossed photocopy under a light stream of water and rub the paper on the back of the gloss finish with your fingers. Remove as much paper as possible and let the picture air dry. Check the back of the picture for any stray paper fibres. Wipe away as many as possible.

Take a lampshade (white or ivory is best) and paint some of the gel onto the inside. Stick the gelled pictures onto the inside of the lampshade, so the pictures will shine through and appear on the outside of the shade when illuminated. Adjust the pictures' positions on the shade until you get the exact look you want. Work somewhat quickly, as you want to have the pictures in their final positions before the gel applied to the lampshade dries.

After your lampshade has completely air dried, attach it to a lamp. Turn on the lamp to see your result.

Things You'll Need

  • Photographs
  • Photocopier
  • Medium gloss gel
  • Lampshade
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