How to Refinish Lamp Shades

Lampshades can fade and discolor over time.

Buying a new shade can often cost more than you might think. Refinishing or re-covering a worn lampshade is a cost-effective approach that can make it look like new. Most lampshades are cloth and can be easily re-covered. Some fabric and spray adhesive is a no-sew method to turning a dated lamp into a stylish accent in any room.

Make a pattern for your new lampshade. Lay a large sheet of paper on a flat surface, such as a table. Place the old lampshade on its side with the seam facing down. Place a pencil on the top edge and roll the lampshade while drawing a line. Stop drawing the line when you have made a complete circle with the lampshade.

Lay the lamp back down on its side, seam down, where you started drawing the first line. Place a pencil on the bottom edge and draw another line while making a complete circle with the lampshade.

Connect the two lines on either side using a ruler or other straight edge and the pencil. Leave ¼ to ½ inch around the edge of the fabric to allow for the seam.

Cut out the pattern with scissors.

Roll out the fabric to use for the new lampshade and place it face down. Place the pattern on top of the fabric. Pin the pattern to your fabric using straight pins.

Cut the fabric to the pattern.

Spray the inside of the fabric with spray adhesive.

Lay the fabric over the lampshade and make sure the seam is used as the starting point.

Roll the shade over the fabric and smooth it out over the lampshade as you go.

Trim any excess fabric from the top and bottom of the lampshade using the scissors.

Add ribbon, rope or other material as trim to the top and bottom of the lampshade.

Let the glue dry and place the lampshade back on the lamp.

Things You Will Need

  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Spray adhesive
  • Fabric glue


  • The lampshade will naturally curve when rolling it on the paper to trace the lines. Fabric glue can be used instead of spray adhesive to adhere the fabric to the lampshade.


  • If you do not leave excess fabric when cutting the pattern, the fabric will not fit on the lampshade correctly.

About the Author

Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.