lampshade upcycling

Here’s a light bulb moment that often eludes us: We may grow tired of looking at the same old décor items feathering our nests, but they are still entirely functional. Rather than heading out to the store in search of shinier, trendier replacements, save your cash. Instead, get inspired to take matters into your own hands. Take lampshades, for instance. They are nothing more than thin panels of material designed to filter light with a decorative flair. You can be a mechanical engineer naturally inclined toward entirely left-brained pursuits and still rock a mean DIY lampshade refab in just a few quick and (yes!) painless steps. It is as easy as selecting your material, wrapping it around a lampshade frame, and looky there — you have just beat Martha Stewart at her own game! Covering an old lampshade with a solid layer of fabric, tightly wrapped yarn, leftover wallpaper, decoupaged images or a simple coat of paint is guaranteed to shake things up in the revamped décor department, however, there are countless additional techniques to consider:
  1. Cut assorted fabric remnants into long strips and then tie them in alternating layers around the perimeter of a metal lampshade frame.
  2. Denim scraps can be sewn together for a weathered lampshade “fashion statement.”
  3. Rolled-up or coiled magazine pages make a surprisingly attractive lampshade.
  4. Ceramic bowls can become instant shades with a little power drill action.
  5. Venture down the road less traveled with a handmade map lampshade.
  6. Lace doilies can be shaped into a durable, pendant-style shade or you can simply spray-paint directly over flat fabric lace for an illusion effect. You might also try gluing various types of lace directly onto an old lampshade and then accenting the design with colored rhinestones.
  7. Cover the metal framework of an old shade with earthy burlap.
  8. Every DIYer knows that paint swatches are good for every conceivable crafty application, including the creation of an ombre rainbow chandelier.
  9. Any way you slice, fan or fold them, old books make great new lampshades.
  10. Interior designer TOBYhouse has dared to transform beach balls and even balloons into dynamic pendant lights.
  11. Fans of thrift-store hunting will love the retro-lampshade look that draped hankies can create.
  12. Create a dazzling lampshade with recycled melted Mardi Gras beads — instant fiesta!
  13. Fitting metal soda can tabs together like puzzle pieces will yield a slick-looking shade with a slightly industrial edge, or you can go the extra mile by dressing each row with a ROYGBIV paint scheme.
  14. Add some bubbly spirit to your décor with a cocktail umbrella-studded lightshade.
  15. Pastel- and neon-coated ping-pong balls will shine new light on your design possibilities.
  16. As wacky as it may seem, dry lasagna pasta sheets can be artfully altered into a luminous lightshade option.
  17. Vintage liquor decanters are ripe for repurposing, particularly when they are transformed into a light-refracting, cut-glass chandelier.
  18. Create a pseudo strobe-light effect by covering a rectangular shade with old cassette tapes.
  19. Carb freaks will salivate over this home-baked bread shade drilled with decorative, light-streaming holes.
  20. How about a vintage metal fruit bowl?
  21. By exposing the metal framework of a lightshade and mounting a potted plant inside, you can create a makeshift grow light that will bestow botanical beauty to your surroundings.
  22. Old picture slides, photo negatives and X-rays can bestow a lampshade with colorful character.
  23. An otherwise run-of-the-mill lampshade can be transformed into eye candy when it’s adorned with uniquely cut PET beverage containers. This flowery, frilly version is sliced and spray-painted just right.
  24. Trim your shade with an undulating array of wooden toothpicks, but be sure to hang it up high so eyeballs are completely out of harm’s way!
  25. Wooden clothespins are another curiously quirky, tree-based lampshade option, as are vintage rulers, paint stir sticks and actual repurposed bark sheets.
  26. Cardboard Chiquita banana cartons can become a dramatic overhead chandelier that is perfectly suited for the design-smitten and frugal DIYer alike.
  27. A plastic flowerpot drilled with holes does the trick without the frills.
  28. You will change your mind about chucking coffee-stained filters into the trash when you see how outstanding they can look framing a light source.
  29. Transform old Christmas lights by turning them into a year-round fixture adorned with cupcake liner “shades.”
  30. Carve several wooden wine crates with a whimsical design and stack them one on top of the other for a fantastic light show.
  31. Addicted to paper scraps? Cut out random shapes and hang them in a fanciful mobile-style display that will accent your light source with color and whimsy.
  32. Does your sewing kit runneth over with scads of mismatched buttons? You can finally put them on parade in a design-worthy manner!