Emily Henderson Header Image Emily Henderson

DIY lamp

1 Lamp, 3 Different Ways

DAVID TSAY PHOTOGRAPHY © 2015 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED NO REPRODUCTION WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT

For the most recent Redbook DIY we were tasked with taking one simple lamp, and doing it up three different ways. We used Target’s Double Gourd Lamp in Shell because it is a super classic, simple shape, and a Threshold large white shade for all three of these lamp DIY’s. The rest of the supplies can be found below for each lamp. Let’s get into it:

While I like all three ideas this one is probably my favorite finished product and the one that I would have in my house. We used some Nate Berkus fabric (that you can get at JoAnn’s) and covered the shade. There is something about ‘decorative lampshades’ that typically scare me. I think often the patterns of the readymade ones are too GRAPHIC!! CONTEMPORARY!!! IN YOUR FACE!!!! But I still really like the idea of upgrading a lamp by doing something simple and pretty to the shade. So just make sure you choose a good, modern pattern OR get vintage and do something totally unique. Even a solid fabric in a pretty linen texture would be a nice upgrade without grabbing too much attention.

Fun -ish fact about me: as you probably know I did a lot of 4-H growing up (and I can’t wait to torture my own children with such activities). Not the animal/farm 4-H but the home 4-H (cooking and crafts) and I recovered A LOT of lampshades. Like crazy victorian shades with fringe that still hold a pretty intense place in my heart. I did it the really intense way using fringe and bias tape and different fabric for each of the panels. So, this is the easier way to go about it that I sure wish I had done when I was 11.

Redbook_DIY_1 Lamp 3 Ways_handmade_emily henderson_fabric covered lampshade_steps

Fabric Covered Shade

Items Needed:

Scissors/Rotary Cutter: You will need these to cut out the fabric, we found that the rotary cutter was able to get a much cleaner cut.

Pencil

Spray Adhesive: We just used all purpose spray adhesive

Fabric: Depending on the size of lampshade you use, one yard should be plenty of fabric

How To:

1. Start by laying your fabric out with the pattern side facing the table. Then Lay your lampshade down on the fabric and slowly trace the outline of the lampshade as you move it along the fabric. Leave 1″ extra around the lampshade

2. Remove the excess fabric and spray a layer of adhesive on the backside of the fabric. Starting at the seam of the lampshade slowly roll the lampshade across the fabric and press firmly to adhere the fabric to the shade. Once you loop back around, fold 1/4″ of fabric under itself and glue down for the finished seam. Once Your fabric is glued to the shade, trim the excess using the rotary cutter.

Now this one I personally think is better in theory. Its not that I don’t like it, but there is something about that pattern that just might have played better on a simpler lamp shape – like a cylinder or rectangle. BUT ready for the easiest/best/smartest and most useful DIY ever? You can paint a fabric lampshades any color you want. We do this a lot with vintage lamps/shades where the shade is the perfect size/scale but its yellowed and instead of buying a new $50 shade we just water down some house paint and paint it out. We did that here, in the weekend makeover and it turned out beautifully.

Redbook_DIY_1 Lamp 3 Ways_handmade_emily henderson_painted lamp_steps

Painted Shade and Lamp

Items Needed:

Paintbrush: you will need both a small paintbrush for the details, and a large paintbrush for the lampshade

Paint: we used water based house paint (Benjamin Moore’s Lafayette Green)

Cup/Water: we water downed our paint to 2/3 water to 1/3 paint for the lampshade

How To:

1. Using a small paintbrush begin at the base of the lamp and make small organic circles. Ours were all a little bit different in shape and size, this is where you get to be creative and just enjoy what you end up with. Keep a wet rag handy in case you make a mistake or need to wipe up any paint

2. To paint the shade we used 1 part paint to 3 parts water. You can mix this in a small plastic cup and then using a 1-2″ paintbrush generously apply the water downed paint to the shade. Just make sure that you work in long strokes vertically and keep a wet edge as you move along so that you don’t get any streaking.

This one takes a bit of patience and there are some options already out there, sold pre-wrapped so I would go a little more nuts with the rope (think marine rope or colored rope) to make sure that you aren’t making something that is already on the market.

Redbook_DIY_1 Lamp 3 Ways_handmade_emily henderson_rope lamp_steps

Rope Wrapped Base

Items Needed:

Hot Glue Gun

Sisal Rope: We sourced ours from JoAnn’s Fabric, but you can also find it online through Amazon.

Scissors

How To:

1. Starting on the backside of the lamp, begin at the base and working in 4-5″ sections begin gluing your rope around the lamp base. As you work your way up, be sure to keep the rows of rope tight against each other and step back every so often to make sure that you are still wrapping it straight.

2. When you reach the top of the lamp finish it off by cutting the extra off and gluing down the rope.

1 Lamp 3 Ways_Redbook_PDF

Just because we love to show you slight differences between the way it is printed and our in studio versions above is what it looked like in the printed magazine. They changed the background color to blue, saturated the colors, lightened the whites and brightened the golds.

Which one is your favorite?

*Photography by David Tsay, styled by Scott Horne, DIY projects produced by Brady Tolbert for EHD (art directed by me).

Want more DIYs? Check out our other recent Redbook projects: DIY Upholstered HeadboardDIY Wooden Dowel Coat Rack | DIY Mod Podge Chair | DIY Side Table Ikea Hack

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  1. I’m super interested how you got the pattern on the Berkus fabric to look so even in the finished shade?! Unless you have a perfect barrel shade the pattern should go all wonky from the slight angle of the shade you’re using. In the in process shot you can see the pattern going way off course. Did you dart it?

    1. I also would like to know how you got the pattern is so perfect? I’ve tried this before and it is very hard, if not impossible. I honestly can’t figure out how you did it except photoshop?

    2. Thirded! I’ve tried this before with no luck. Can you be more specific on how you got this pattern to work?

  2. Is it safe to use acrylic paint on lamp shades?

  3. I typically like a solid white or black lampshade but the first one covered with Nate fabric is really nice. Also, I think the green circles lamp would look amazing in black! The rope is a bit too nautical for my taste and I think dusting it would be a bear.

  4. Emily!! Your website is having issues with your caching server or similar because I haven’t been seeing your new posts for like two weeks. I was seeing like 1-2 posts a week. Finally, today, I deleted all my browser activity and emptied my cache and did a hard refresh on your webpage and I was able to see your new post finally. Before I did this, your website was only showing me Orlando’s home polish post. I don’t have to do this for any other website so something must be happening on your web server/backend. Have them check it? I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’m a web professional so I know a little bit about these things. But I only know about the frontend of things so I don’t know what exactly has to be changed on the backend…but your web team will know 🙂

    Not all bad… because now I have a ton of EH posts to catch up on.

    1. VERY good to know. Thank you. I think we have to switch servers because the site is too big and too much traffic (we’ve upgraded, but still having issues). Thank you so much for letting me know. xx

      1. Related to the new design: Do other people see the replies to the comments in-line with all the other comments? I have to really make an effort to see which are replies and which are new comments. I see the line that I think might denote a new thread but that is way too subtle for easy scanning!

        1. I agree it is harder now to spot the replies. I think the old format had the replies indented some, or maybe even shaded a different color? I can’t remember anymore, which is terrible.

          On a related note, I’m also not sure how to tell when you, Emily Henderson, are replying to a comment, or just some other person named Emily. I think it would be helpful if your comments/replies also stood out a little more.

          Thanks for taking our feedback, I can’t even imagine how much work it was/is to update everything! 🙂

          1. I second the idea of showing Emily’s comments highlighted! Lots of blogs do this now and it’s brilliant. Checkout artofdoingstuff.com or smittenkitchen.com if you want to see it done subtly but effectively.

          2. Hey all. We have this request into our IT team – not sure when they are fixing but i know, it bugs me too. We are either going to have the comments be indented or in a color block when they are replied to. So stay tuned. At first every reply was indented so that it got smaller and smaller and smaller, so we just had to fix that and they haven’t updated it yet. Stay tuned!

      2. Yes, high traffic and large websites have their own set of challenges.
        I worked on Oprah’s website for 5 years and high traffic days (think Tom Cruise on the couch) would crash the site from time to time. A good problem to have…but a problem nonetheless. 🙂

        1. Yep. We are on it!

  5. YASSSSSS I was just whining about how I couldn’t find any acceptable lamps lately. Thank you!

  6. I love all 3 of them, but I think #1 would have to be my favorite! I just love the subtle pattern and the colors!
    xo, Scarlett
    The Trendy Chick

  7. I absolutely adore the one with the base wrapped in rope!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

    1. Totally.

  8. Awesome! These look great. I can’t quite tell what you did with the fabric shade – did you fold a little extra over the top and bottom sides? Or is it just a cut edge? It looks really clean, but I was wondering if fraying is an issue.

  9. Love love love this – especially that rope-wrapped lamp!

  10. I’ve been looking for a reasonably-priced and good-sized lamp for my master bedroom. Thanks to you, I just found the perfect one!

  11. Hello! Do you have any tips on replacing the lamp’s fabric instead of covering it? I’m a little lost on how to “easily” get the sturdiness of store bought lamps. Is starch enough?

    Thanks, homegirl!

  12. Hi Emily! I have a couple questions about the painted lampshade. Did you get that nice, even look just using one coat? Also, I don’t mean to be picky, I really do mean this next one as a legitimate question…in the magazine directions, it says to paint the lampshade in long, vertical brushstrokes. To me though, it looks like the strokes are horizontal…which seems like it would definitely be easier? I would really like to try this DIY on a lampshade I have and I want to make sure I do it right!

    1. HI! Brady used one coat and he did do it vertical (he’s sitting right next to me). Honestly painting old vintage lampshades is my newest way to save so much money and it look so high end. do it. 🙂

  13. I love that artwork behind the blue lamp! Knowing your thrifty self, it’s something vintage – but I’m hoping its one of the artists from the family shelter??

  14. Having made my own lampshades upon occasion, I really found this post interesting. How about using different shaped shades with the same base? Just a thought. Also, look into feng shui; having a picture/painting of water in your bedroom is apparently not good fs, as is having pics of anyone other than the one you share your room with. Really makes a difference. I say, take the waves down to the flea! Hope you’re feeling fine and what a celebration with the ‘shelter’ opening; such a gift you’ve given to everyone who will reside there, Emily!!!

  15. Love this! I have to agree, I think I like the first one is my favorite — but all three are so clever! It’s so fun to see how different the same object can look with a little creativity. My friend and I recently came across two identical lamps in a thrift store and did the same exact thing, competition-style — it was so cool to see the totally different ideas we both came up with for the same exact lamp (photos here, if you’re curious! http://www.plasteranddisaster.com/oh-hello-thrift-store-lamp-makeover/). Cheers to the truly wonderful world of DIY!

  16. I love the painted lamp, but think a cleaner, simpler pattern would fare well. My immediate thought is recreating the amazing (but expensive) Jana Bek lamps and doing a brushstroke pattern: http://janabek.com/the-shop/brushstroke-lamps

    -Victoria
    dailydresscode.com

  17. I really love the one with the rope. I have a similar lamp so will try that!

    bazaarliving.com

  18. Oh my gosh, I’ve had my eye on that lamp for SO long! I love all the options, but I really equally love the lamp as is!
    -Lauren Dahl
    (@DahlHouseInteriors)

  19. I love these three different styles! They each give off such a different feel, but are all unique and interesting. Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. I know this should be about the lamps….but that inlaid wood credenza is amazing! Is it a vintage piece? Do you know the designer?

    1. YES! THIS!! I actually have a pin of a credenza exactly like this but don’t know anything about it. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it in the pic with the lamps! Can you give us any info about it?

  21. I’ll be honest, when I first saw that lamp I was NOT a fan of it (too chunky for my taste). But seeing how a simple DIY can transform something blah (well, to me anyway) to something so cool and personalised is really neat! That Nate Berkus fabric is gorgeous, too!

  22. It would be great if you had a credit for the artwork. I see clouds by Kai Samuels-Davis and a beach scene by Lisa Golightly 🙂

  23. Hi! Love that lamps. Personal fave being the painted lamp and shade. I have a pressing lamp question: I have 2 rather large rectangle shades…no lamps. The originals I bought just did. not. work. What shape would you suggest?

  24. The organically painted lamp… To me it’s a near miss. What I might try to elevate it is to take a gold or silver paint pen and draw lines across the painted rings (think segments) maybe every 1/4 or 1/3 inch or so — on some rings to start with, possibly on all of them…

    Just a thought!

  25. Love the one with Nate Berkus fabric design!… I’m currently working on my baby boys room and that is exactly what I’ve been looking for!… I’ve seen his fabrics at the store, and it never ocurred to me that I could make a lamp shade with on them!….

  26. I love the sisal rope! Great ideas, you are so creative! x

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  33. Cool ideas Emily! Second one is my favorite, how did you come up with it?

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