My boyfriend seems to bring home all kinds of discarded items from the clients he works for. This time he brought home 2 small lamps that still worked, but the lampshades were torn and looked horrible. I was thinking to just remove the shades and buy new ones. This was not possible and there was no way to remove them without breaking the bottles they sat on or destroying the lamps. In order to fix them up so they could be used again, I decided to cover the shade with a roll of fine jute to give them more of a local look and fit the décor of my home.
Total Time: 3 to 4 hours
Yield: 1 Small lampshade
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I have some old lamps shades I'd like to look clean and new. They are the paper type, but one is what I would call accordion or waffle, not smooth. What can I do with it? I live on a very small disabled budget and lamp shades are higher in cost than lamps. Any ideas will be welcome.
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By Terri from MO
Welcome to ThriftyFun. Glad to have you with us.
You can't put water or liquid cleaners on paper lampshades, so there is probably no other way to clean them than dusting or vacuuming. If you can't find a way to clean them, you could go to a craft store or WalMart and pick up a couple of small bottles of acrylic paint. I assume your lamp shades were originally white, and now look beige. I would purchase a light and also a little bit darker shade of beige. Cut a square out of a kitchen sponge, tear the corners and some of the edges off the sponge, and pull some hunks out of the middle of it. The idea is not to make it look like you used a square sponge to paint it. Lightly dip the sponge in the lighter color and dab it here and there on the shade, turning your hand a different direction each time. Don't cover the whole shade, just splotches here and there. Then do the same with the darker paint. You can practice on a sheet of paper first.
Another alternative is, you could go online and find instructions on how to make new covers for them, either in rice paper or cloth. Good luck with your project.
When my shades were looking bad, I measured the height and added a few inches on each end. I cut the fabric (I used a cotton with a pattern which was compatible to my living room) and left the length about twice as long as the shade was. Then I sewed it together along the short end. I then sewed the top and bottom to make a casing of about an inch. I threaded elastic in the top and bottom and it was like having a slipcover for the shade. It can be taken off and washed. Or different slipcovers can be made to change the look. I got compliments on the lamps. The casings fit inside the shade.
I have the same type of accordian type lampshade and a friend told me to put it in a sink (or bathtub) and sponge it off with soapy water. Don't saturate it, just sponge it lightly. The dirt just rolled off! Rinse and let dry. The shade looked like new. Hope it works for you.
Joan from Chesterfield, Michigan
A couple of months ago, I submitted a reupholstered chaise lounge to this website to put in the den. I had leftover fabric and so I added trim to this plain lampshade to coordinate it with the lounge. They look great together.