How Can I Clean or Renew Paper Lamp Shades?

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.


I just found this site today and am looking forward to many hours of reading and enjoying and the newsletters to come, especially in gardening, as I do have a good size planting area and am having some problems with preen landscape cloth.
Thanks so much.

By Terri from MO

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July 23, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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July 28, 20101 found this helpful

Take the shades outside and clean them off using a sweeping motion with a clean, dry paint brush.

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July 28, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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August 2, 20101 found this helpful

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

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May 19, 20180 found this helpful

have a shell lamp with a paper shade laser or knife cut seascape. that portion ok but smooth paper shade 20 years old with dimples & depressions...


plastic interior lining --what next to remove surface problems??? Thanks i have no facebook old fhart

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