DIY Fabric Wrapped Vintage Lampshade
Hello everyone! How was your long, lovely weekend? I feel like I’ve been basking in vacation bliss for days… plus we’ve had a few weeks of mid 70s, perfectly sunny weather so it’s hard to find much to complain about — and it love it! Just in four days I’ve been to the biergarten, dined outdoors, went on hikes, acted like a kid at a carnival, did some shopping, made crafty things at home, so I’m feeling quite inspired. In fact, I wanted to share a few of those crafts projects this week on decor8, the first is the fabric wrapped lampshade that many of you loved from the Liberty launch party that Sania Pell, Leslie Shewring and I added as part of the tabletop styling demonstration in-store.
Funny (and flattering to us!) but some guests thought the shade was a Liberty product but it actually wasn’t – we had spent a lot of time together and on the phone/through emails putting together many ideas as to what to hang above the table and in the end, we decided to make a lampshade using Liberty fabrics, ribbons, flowers and all sorts of fun stuff including a disco ball. We originally thought to use more than one (three to be exact) but with such limited time, we decided to go with a single shade and that is exactly what we did! The idea, as most ideas, were a result of putting our heads together to think of what would make an impact (for a store like Liberty) while looking somewhat “part” of their dining room section of the store. Since Sania and I both love wire frames from old lampshades, it was decided that we’d hunt one down and wrap the frame with fabric.
I bought one on eBay in Germany but it was easier for Sania to just buy one at a car boot sale in London and wrap the frame herself so that is what she did – and it came out beautifully as you can see above – I love how hers came out and can’t thank her enough for making it.
When I shared the Decorate launch party at Liberty last Friday, many of you loved the things that we showed during our demonstration — particularly the handmade elements. That is why I thought today I’d show you how to make the lampshade and then Sania will join us in the weeks to come to show how a few other things were made, including the flower brooches and the wire houses that hung above my signing table. But first, the lampshades. I’m not sure exactly how Sania made the one at Liberty, but I went with my gut and here is how I made mine shown below.
DIY Fabric Wrapped Vintage Lampshade:
1. First, I laid out my supplies: permanent quick drying fabric glue, scissors, 3/4 meter of Liberty fabric, vintage lampshade won on eBay for under $5!
2. Then I stripped the lampshade removing the ugly brown polyester cover with that sexy dark brown fringe (not!). That went into the rubbish bin where it belonged!
3. Next, I wiped the frame with a rag to remove dust — important to use a dry rag as you’ll have to wait for it to dry before wrapping it with fabric otherwise.
4. Then, I laid out the fabric that I wanted to use, in this case a Liberty print that I’ve had for a few months now, and snipped into it about one inch in from the edge. After the snippet was made, I tore the fabric to the very end to create a long strip. Don’t worry about the frayed edges, they add to the charm once the frame is wrapped plus you don’t really see them in the end anyway. I cut about 6 strips to begin with, each about 46″ long, to get started. In the end, I used about 3/4 of a meter of fabric for the entire lamp.
5. I started wrapping! This was quite easy. To start, I worked from the top of the frame down. I found that easiest because if you work from the top up you risk unraveling it before it has time to “set”. When you wrap, you can either tie in a tiny knot and wrap from them, carefully concealing the knot when you wrap OR you can opt to not tie it and simply use strong instant-dry fabric glue and then fold and glue the fabric onto itself, hold in place as you wrap, and then you can eventually let go and it stays in place. You can also iron heat bond to the opposite side of fabric, iron it on, and then cut strips of fabric and wrap that way as I imagine that would be a good option as well.
6. Save the top circular part of the frame for last (as shown) so you can wrap it and give it a nice finished look.
7. Now, you can embellish. You may want to keep it simple and add nothing at all, or you can add a simple small metal garland as I did from designer Tord Boontje that I’ve had laying around my house for a few years in different arrangements of things. I think the garland is a nice touch and once a bulb is in the lamp, it could look nice wrapped around that part of the lamp. I also want to note that I intentionally did not spray paint the interior of the frame where the lightbulb will go simply because I liked the “oldness” of it and find that it adds charm to not look 100% brand new. But if you want something more polished, just spray paint it as that is the only part of the lamp that you cannot wrap due to that being a total fire hazard! If neither of these looks are for you, add some flowers (faux of handmade from fabric). Sania made some beautiful flowers that I pinned to my shade at home and I think they look pretty.
TIPS: My goal is to buy a wooden lampbase that has a great silhouette and spray paint it high gloss gray or white and top it with my new “old” lampshade. If you really want to deck out your shade, add birds, ribbons, frayed bits of fabrics tied, a disco ball if you do not plan to use it as a light but as a quirky display, etc. You can even remove the center of the frame and with a ceiling mount kit (from IKEA for instance) you can turn this shade into a pendant light. Another idea is that you can hang it and wrap fairy lights in the inside to illuminate it at night. The goal is to have fun and personalize this frame – do what makes you happy!
Warning: Please be careful that you don’t use anything close to the bulb that is flammable if you plan to use the shade on a lamp base – so avoid tissue paper flowers and anything else that could start to slowly cook, and then burn, from the heat.
I hope that you enjoyed this lampshade DIY and that it makes you look at ugly lampshades a little differently now! Wire frames are a big trend, lots of designers are using them in some of the best rooms out there — but they usually spray paint them in bold primary colors like red and green. If you want to try wrapping them in your favorite fabric for a fresh take on this trend, go for it – I hope that you love this lampshade idea and that you give it a try at home — decorating should be fun, personal and most of all, should reflect your own style and taste so try something like this one at home and see what you come up with, right?!
(images: holly becker for decor8 with the exception of Liberty shots taken by Tiffany Kirschner-Dixon)