Craft a Unique Lampshade and Matching Pillow Covers

Learn how to re-cover an inexpensive drum shade lampshade and make matching envelope pillow covers with a few easy tools.

| Summer 2019

Not long ago, we turned some open space in the Capper’s Farmer offices into a lounge area, complete with an area rug, a couple of chairs and end tables, a sofa and throw pillows, and a floor lamp from the 1950s. The lamp had character, but the shade was torn and yellowed, and the pillows were just boring.

Not wanting to purchase a new lamp or pillows, we decided to re-cover both of them, and we made them office redecoration projects. They were both easy projects, and they were easy to tailor to our rural lifestyle décor.

Re-Covering a Lampshade

Our lamp had a drum shade — a smooth, circular shape that flares slightly from top to bottom. We assumed there was a one-piece frame underneath the fabric and liner, but soon discovered there were two separate rings instead. That meant we had to use a polystyrene sheet for our shade liner, because the stiff polystyrene provides the structure to support the rings. Polystyrene is sold in sheets by online retailers. You’ll want to purchase the pressure-sensitive type so you’ll be able to peel off the cover sheet and press the new fabric against the adhesive. Be sure to measure the circumference and height of your existing shade before buying the polystyrene, because it’s sold in different sizes.

Some lampshades have panels and fabric linings. If this is the case, be sure to save a panel for a pattern.

Our finished lampshade measures about 11 inches tall by 19 inches in diameter at the bottom ring. We saved money by reusing the rings from our old shade. A set of new rings would’ve cost about $20. We bought 3 yards of rooster-themed fabric and used about half of it — we’d have found it difficult to get by on less fabric, though, because of the shade’s shape. We used the remaining fabric to make matching pillow covers. The pressure-sensitive polystyrene cost about $23.

Our total expense for this project was about $50. For what we spent, we could’ve purchased a plain white replacement shade at a big-box store. Instead, we got a colorful shade that’s customized to Capper’s Farmer.

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