How to Recover Chandelier Lamp Shades

Recovering Lamp Shades Tutorial

Recently, after selling my living room lamp shades, I received several requests for tutorials on how to recover lamp shades.

And since then I’ve had the opportunity to recover three different lamp shades with three different methods and I took pictures of all of them!

The first in this impromptu Recovering Lamp Shade Series is a set of 6 chandelier lampshades.

How to Recover Lamp Shades

Meghan had six simple white chandelier shades and wanted them recovered with a large gold buffalo check.


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The first step is to create a pattern of your shade. Here I taped several pieces of notebook paper together to create my pattern. I didn’t use newspaper because I didn’t want any of the ink transferring from the paper to my shade or fabric.

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To begin, place the seam side down on your pattern paper. This helps you determine your start and stop points.

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Carefully roll the shade along the paper tracing the upper and lower edges of your shade. You’ll know you’ve reached the end when your shades rolls back around to the seam.

Draw your pattern starting and stopping an inch or so before and after the seam.

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Your patter will look something like this.

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Your fabric will be cut 1/2″ larger all the way around your pattern. Details below.

*If you feel more comfortable making your pattern 1/2″ larger go ahead and enlarge your pattern by 1/2″ all the way around.

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Cut out your pattern and “try it on” your lampshade. If the pattern seems wonky…then try tracing your shade again. Your pattern needs to be pretty accurate though there is room for errors.


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This is where I allow for my 1/2″ extra allowance on the shade to wrap under along the upper and lower edges of the shade.

Pin your pattern to your fabric and cut your fabric 1/2″ larger all the way around.


Recovering Lamp ShadesAt this point pay close attention to the design of your fabric. If your fabric has a distinctive design like a flower, you may want to make sure it’s included in the center of each shade.

For this buffalo check I wanted the checks centered on the bias, or the diagonal shape, of the design. This is the most noticeable on the far right lamp shade. I made sure to place my pattern in the same direction with each chandelier shade.

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Cut out your fabric being sure to include the 1/2″ extra allowance.

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Try the fabric on your shade. Iron under 1/2″ for your seam.


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Tip #1 Do not use spray glue on the same surface on which you are working with your fabric.
I keep all my old cutting boards for painting or gluing projects. You can use a large piece of cardboard or a large shallow box. The trays that cans of cola come in would be a great size box for this project.

Tip #2 Spray the wrong side of your fabric. (It was not necessary to spray both the fabric and the shade.)

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Begin smoothing your fabric onto your shade beginning with the “seam” and working your way around keeping the fabric centered up and down as you wrap around and smoothing out bubbles as you go. The spray glue is very forgiving. It allows you to re-position your fabric if necessary.

As you can see above, my fabric didn’t quite meet up as planned but it still fit the shade with plenty of fabric to wrap under.

Trim any access fabric that won’t be needed as you turn under the allowance.


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You may be able to wrap under and secure your allowance with the spray glue you already applied to the back of your fabric. This worked for the upper edge of my shades but I used hot glue to secure the seam and the lower edge.

A slit was cut to allow the fabric to wrap around the arms of the metal clip.

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I used a plastic knife to press the fabric in place for a more secure fit.


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Unlike other lamp shades, there’s always the chance that you’ll look up during dinner and see some unsightly frayed edges.

To make sure everything looks pretty from below I glued a row of ribbon to cover the raw edges along the bottom edge.  You could use seam binding as well.

You can embellish your shades with flat braid trim or tassel trim.
If you plan to use trims you can skip the 1/2″ extra allowance and cut your fabric to fit your shade exactly. Your trims will cover up and secure your raw edges making this an even easier project.
You could use a tassel trim along the lower edge with a matching flat braid trim along the upper edge if desired.

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After a quick photo session in my kitchen these lovelies were boxed up and shipped out to grace Meghan’s Kitchen Chandelier!

Now you can tackle your own chandelier shades!

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Coming soon…Two more sessions in our How To Recover a Lamp Shade Series.
2) Recovering a full size lamp shade with one fabric plus two trims and 3) Recovering a shaped lamp shade using 6 fabrics!

Sharing With: Coastal Charm Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, DIY By Design Spring into Spring Party, A Stroll Thru Life Inspire Me Tuesday, Cedar Hill Farmhouse The Scoop, Savvy Southern Style Wow Us Wednesday, French Country Cottage Feathered Nest Friday, Common Ground Be Inspired, From My Front Porch to Yours Treasure Hunt Thursday, 

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9 Responses to How to Recover Chandelier Lamp Shades

  1. martina says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!

  2. The buffalo check looks great on the shades. I look forward to seeing how you use several different fabrics on one shade.

  3. I love them, the checks are perfect. Great tutorial. I would love for you to link up to my Inspire Me party this afternoon at 3:00 PM. Hope to see you there.

  4. Irene says:

    What a great idea!!! To recover the lamp shades. I have the same chandler and would love the buffalo check shades. Great job Sonya:) Do you make and sell them?

    • Sonya says:

      Thank you, Irene! Each of the lamp shades I’ve recovered have been a custom project for one of my clients. I’d be happy to talk to anyone interested in a custom lamp shade for their home. Just email me! Email listed on the side bar.

  5. AMAZING1 What a wonderful tutorial, Sonya! I’m sure I’ll use this. LOVE your new shades!

  6. Jon Anne Winstead says:

    You are so talented!!

  7. gilda crolla says:

    I love your tutorial on the lampshades. You make it look so simple to do!

  8. Cynthia says:

    Sorry I am very behind with my emails. These came out SO great Sonya. Thanks for the tutorial and I love the Buffalo check!