I can never wrap my head around just how expensive lamps are – especially glass lamps. I love the look, but not the price. Lucky for me I spotted this ol’ girl at the thrift store for $9.99 and I immediately snagged her before anyone else could. This was one of those pieces that I kinda stood there and thought: “How could someone actually throw that away?” I mean…oh, the potential! She looks like something similar I’ve seen at Pottery Barn for 10 times the cost. Okay, well maybe with all the dust and brass she doesn’t, but that’s nothing a little glass cleaner and spray paint can’t fix.
As soon as I got home I started working on giving a new life to this light. It may look a little intimidating, but there are really only a few nuts and bolts that keep lamps together. I loosened everything and pulled it all apart. Then I taped off the light socket and the part of the cord that was closest to the base.
Then she met the black spray paint. I did several light coats – it’s always better to do a few more light coats than one heavy coat to prevent dripping. Once the paint was dry I cleaned the inside of the glass and put her all back together. She’s already looking so much better, right?!
Now for the shade. Since the lamp didn’t come with a shade I had a few options: buy a new shade, use an old shade in its current condition, or recover an old shade. I went with what was behind door No. 3.
I like drum shades so I picked this old burlap-covered shade and it proved to be the bain of my existence! The burlap was a nightmare to remove with some parts coming off in large pieces, but most just coming off string by string if it came off at all. Much of the adhesive refused to be removed from the shade and I was left with a big mess. I decided to try to save her by recovering with a lined fabric.
To cover a shade you can’t just wrap the fabric around it. If the top opening is smaller than the bottom opening the fabric will never lay flat and it will just be a big mess. To prevent this, it’s best to make a pattern.
Lie the fabric out flat. Put the shade down with the seam at the very bottom so it marks your starting point. Using a piece of chalk or colored pencil slowly roll the shade tracing the path of the bottom part of the shade at the same time. Don’t stop until the seam goes all the way around and is back down on the fabric. Before you pick up the shade, roll the shade back using the pencil or fabric to trace this time along the top of the shade. You will end up with some type of curved pattern depending on the shape of your shade.
Now you can cut out along the line you traced. TIP: Cut about half an inch outside the pattern line if you want to turn the bottom and top part of the fabric over into the inside of the shade instead of using a piece of trim along the top and bottom.
If you are lining the shade, repeat with that fabric as well.
Now it’s time to cover the shade. With the lining side up and the seam of the shade at the edge of the fabric, use spray adhesive to slowly spray and roll the fabric onto the shade. Smooth and adjust the fabric as you go.
If you left extra fabric at the top and bottom, use a hot glue gun and clips to neatly fold the material onto the inside of the shade. If there is not enough fabric to fold over, cut a strip of the fabric the length of the circumference of the shade and use hot glue to finish off the top and bottom edge. Use some clips to keep everything in place while it dries.
Put your lamp all back together…put your feet up and admire your hard work!
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