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How to Make a Shabby Lamp

One of my favorite local stores has some truly creative pieces within its walls, and one such piece was a very cute, shabby lampshade made with strips of fabric. I really wanted it … but it was $55. I gave it a good once-over and decided, “yep, I can make that myself.” And so I did.

It was a pretty easy project, just time consuming because it takes a lot of fabric strips.
Grab yourself an old wire lampshade frame. Or even a new one would do.
I found this one at our local flea market.
Cut long strips from a variety of fabrics. I used 3 different types of fabric – stuff I had on hand.
A combination of drop cloth, muslin, and an old Lill curtain from Ikea.
Then just tie the strips onto the top of the lampshade.
I didn’t measure the width of the strips when cutting, I just eyeballed it.
You just keep tying them on making it fairly full. You don’t want to see the frame underneath.
Once you have enough fabric tied on, you simply give the lampshade a  haircut to the desired length.
Again, I just eyed this part and left some strips slightly longer than others to keep it shabby.
The lampshade in the store had butterflies stapled on haphazardly, so I did the same.
I found these paper butterflies on Etsy. There are several styles, or you could make your own.
If you make your own, be sure to use a heavy card stock.

Here she is lit up. I found an old metal lampstand at the flea market for $10.
I painted it in ASCP Old White and gave it a coat of both clear and dark wax.
The dark wax was applied very sparingly to give it an antique finish.
I think the shade would be cute as a fixture hanging from the ceiling. 
So for about $25 I not only got the lamp shade but a lampstand, as well.
You could use any fabric to make the shade match any room in your house.

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  1. Very cute, Jennifer! I love the different fabrics you used to do the strips. I have an old lamp in my sewing/craft room that I’d like to redo the shade on. I was thinking about doing a fabric strip shade {I certainly have enough fabric!}. I might just tie mine off at the bottom as well as the top.

  2. lol! Somehow I always find you at these linky parties, Jennifer. 🙂 I recognize your beautiful creativity! This lampshade is just adorable!! I’ve got a small bare bones lamp shade at my booth that hasn’t sold, so I’m going to add your idea to it. Maybe it’ll sell then. lol!

    xoxo laurie

  3. PS…so I pinned this lamp shade because I want to make them for my bedroom. Thanks for commenting on my porch – Please put your house numbers on your front door like mine – how cute for you. Do you want me to print them for you on my Cricut?

  4. Adorable! I’ve got 2 lampshades that have been awaiting makeovers, but I still need to find lamps for both of them. Your lamp looks perfect with that chair and the pillows on the chair.

  5. This is too lovely Jennifer!!!! I love foofing up lampshades too,but I have never seen one done this way before.
    You have such a beautiful blog and I LOVED your previous post!

  6. Wow Jennifer, this looks like such an easy project, but yet gives a big effect at the end. It looks great next to your chair, I bet it would look neat hanging 🙂

  7. OMGoodness!!! This is the perfect solution to my free standing antique lamps that have no shades! And I have been hunting for years for the perfect shape, size, color etc…Waaalaaa here it is!!! Thank you so much!!!

  8. I was doing this to a smaller lampshade and my husband questioned me about flammability? Suggestions?