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Sunday, September 30, 2012

For the Love of Lampshades

Antique shade
Good bones, don't you think?
Remember the floor lamp with the  base light? This was the shade on it when it was in the sewing room. It is clean, just old and stained. But, for my sewing room old did not matter. There is also a sort of cone-shaped globe that is attached to the lamp with the shade sitting on the open globe. I can remove the fabric and trim from the lamp shade and recover the wire frame. I paid $1 for this old lampshade. Don't you love the trim on the top? Okay, maybe not.

When I find my pictures (35mm) pictures, I will scan and show you the ones I made in the past. Someday, I hope to resume my lampshade ventures.

When I went to the Southern Women's Show in Birmingham, I saw lampshades that were $800, just my style and far out of my price range. So, I bought two videos and a book and formulated a better way to cover lampshades. No one covers new or old frames with the same technique I do.

An antique dealer gave me an old lampshade with a rotten cover and instructed me not to remove the silk fringe! she gave me a piece of black satin and an orange-y/peachy piece of silk. I had to line the lampshade and cover the outside, all without removing the fringe. She was thrilled and gasped when she saw the finished product. Since I had not been able to get the black or peach taut, the shade looked very old. That added a cool $100 for a weekend that gave me a very pleasurable task.

Silly me has fun ripping things apart and making them anew or repairing those things.

Are there any other lampshade lovers out there? Do you ever cover your own shades, refurbish old shades, buy shades at yard sales or thrift stores? I do and often tear down the shade to get to bare wire so I can start over. I made quite a bit of money from this before an injury to my hand. Sometimes, I buy a lamp, use the bulb and the shade, and donate the lamp.  When I was having yard sales, I would sell the lamp. That made the bulb and good shade free!

Once on The X Files I saw an identically-shaped lampshade. I was just so excited! The one on TV had fringe. (I think it was that series.)

Your turn
Raise your hand if you make, repair, or modify lampshades? Tell me all about your love of lampshades.


  1. Sorry, I'm drawing a blank except for a pierced paper lampshade class I took a hundred years ago. Does that count?

  2. Sue,
    Sure it counts even though fabric was what I had in mind. Thinking back, a couple of friends had paper lampshades and no money, so they painted the shades with paint. It made like-new lampshades within their budget.

    1. I painted a paper shade just after my divorce. It looked pretty good!

      I have a few old glass shades on some antique lamps around here. I wouldn't begin to know how to repair a fabric lampshade. That is truly a lost art. Many many years ago I knew someone who was like you, she could do everything! She sewed/created shades professionally! Heck she even tried to teach me to decorate cakes. I think you have to be free and artistic to do a good job on cakes. I'm too up tight to enjoy it.

    2. Janet,
      Once I painted a tshirt. People were stunned with the beauty just like I was. I did not know I could paint. I just refused to make another one, ever, for any amount of money. The reason?

      When I sew, I can touch the fabric. When I paint, I have the tendency to place an open hand on te fabric and lean. I have paint all over me and ruin my own art. Now, painting a wall is different. I can deal with the demands of wet paint on fabric.

      I would love to decorate cakes, but I do not need to handle sweets all day long. Look in the cake decorating dept in Walmart. There are sheets of sugar to cut in shapes to place on a cake...amazing!

      I can do anything I have ever tried, sometimes very well. But, if I don't enjoy it, I will not do it enough to get to be expert in it.

    3. I meant--"I canNOT deal with the demands of wet paint on fabric."

  3. Linda - Thanks for dropping by my blog and kindly trying to assist with our internet connectivity problem.
    All that I know about lampshades is that my late mother made hundreds of them and even taught lampshade making at night school. I grew up with lampshades and marvelled at her craftswomanship. We live in a different world now.

  4. YP,
    I hope you get the internet problem solved. It's a pain, especially when that one key on the computer is baffling people all over the world!

    Oh my, how wonderful that your mother could cover/make lampshades. Teaching the art is what I have wanted to do for a long time. I may pursue that after Christmas.

    Thanks for stopping by and for the comment about your mother. I just knew there had to be others covering/making lampshades. If I had my way, I would sit and make things all day and let someone else take care of the small stuff--cleaning, putting gas in car, making my I feel like I am playing when I make lampshades.

  5. I make lampshades. Love it! A friend and I decided to take a class from a famous local shade maker and we have both been hooked ever since. That was about 25 years ago. We dye our own trims, fringes and some fabrics. My current project involves lots of beading and crystals. I have all kinds of projects lined up. We are always on the look out for things to use for our shades. How wonderful to find others who enjoy the craft.

  6. Kathy,
    I am so glad I asked. Yes, it is wonderful to find someone who shares a love. I have only on fringe with tea or coffee. Then, a had injury stopped me cold in my tracks. I need to take it up again.

    I have a stash of lampshade supplies! I bought trim on sale since it is the most expensive part.
    Where can I see some pictures of your handiwork?

    Thank you for sharing with me.

  7. I'm a Jill of all trades and NEVER refuse to try anything. My craft room is full of all crafting tools imaginable. BUT, I don't (can't) stay with one thing too long. I rotate. Your shade in the photo made me think of my hips in a I LOVE rolling a shade across the floor and marking fabric or paper to make a shade.

    I'm up until 1am EVERY morning, pouring through looking for ideas.

    1. Have you always gone from one thing to another? And, I don't mean that in a bad way. LOL...yes, my hips in a girdle would look like that. These shades cannot be rolled to get a pattern, unfortunately. That is a lot of pinterest. I have ideas oozing out. Finding more that I cannot do right now would just frustrate me and be a waste of good reading time. I deliberately won't go on pinterest. I am currently weeding out projects that I am no longer capable of doing. I sold my table saw, so some saw projects are going.

  8. I've only recovered one lampshade. I sometimes add fringe or trim to an existing shade still in good condition.

    I do buy used shades from a vintage district near us. I find the older shades to have much more character than what you find at places like Target.

    1. You are so right about more character! And, to that you can add being unique and of better quality. If a shade suited me, I would just add trim or fringe. I like to get shades from estate sales. At one time I was just ordering new frames in many different shapes with scallops and interesting details.


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