Creative Ways to Upcycle an Old Lampshade

Are you tired of seeing your old lampshade collecting dust in the corner of your room? Before you decide to throw it out, consider upcycling it.

I invite you to get your creative juices flowing and turn your neglected lampshade into a stunning masterpiece that might just breathe new life into your space. Here are some creative ways to upcycle your old lampshades.


Repurposing Old Lampshades

With a little imagination and a touch of DIY magic, you can revitalize these forgotten treasures and put your previously loved table lamps to good use by turning them into remarkable works of art, practical home decor, or even functional pieces. *Note: Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. More details are at the bottom of this post.

DIY Mobile 

Does your baby need a mobile for her crib? If you’re up to the challenge, you can make an old lampshade frame into a pretty DIY mobile.

Whether you’re looking to sell, use it for your crib, or create it as a gift, I’m sure any little one will stay entertained for hours. You can use a variety of colorful ribbons, twines, feathers and any other material you like for this easy DIY craft project.  Just be sure to hang it out of the baby’s reach.

Here’s a sweet DIY mobile from Rosalind Grace Designs.
I love the bright colors and sweet butterflies and birds she chose.

Tools You’ll Need for DIY Mobile

If you’d like to make your own, here’s what you’ll need:

  • old lampshade frame
  • scissors
  • colorful material strips
  • pliers
  • die-cut butterflies
  • thread and needle
  • Remove fabric from lampshade and clean frame thoroughly
  • Cut strips of colorful material 12-15” long by 1″ wide
  • Tie or sew the first strip onto the top of the frame, then start wrapping the frame by overlapping the strips and working down the frame. Be sure to cover up the area where you started so the knot won’t be seen. Cover all parts of the frame tucking in the ends of the strips. If you want the strips to be more stable you can secure  them with a needle and thread.
  • Use thread or fishing wire to hang die cut butterflies to the frame
  • Hang and enjoy! 

Plant Stand 

You can repurpose an old lampshade frame turning it into an elegant planter. All you need is spray paint, scissors, measuring tape, and glue. 

Take your old lampshade, remove the fabric from the frame with scissors. Next, spray the frame with 2 coats of paint, leaving a little time between coats.

Glue a wood slice to the top of the shade frame and voila -you have yourself a planter.

Here’s a more in Depth Video of How to Make an Easy Plant Stand:

DIY Birdbath

This DIY option actually requires an old lamp but I thought you’d want me to throw this one in the mix too in case you had a vintage lamp lying around that may be of sentimental value but no monetary value.

Lamp Stand to
Bird Bath:

Candlestick Holders 

If you’re over that old lampshade and don’t want it anymore but you still like your old lamp base, I have a quick solution for you.

Turn your lamp into a candle holder. Simply detach the cord and pull it out. Give the lamp stand a fresh coat of paint. Surprisingly, you don’t even have to bother with removing the bulb part since the candle can seamlessly fit into the slots where the bulbs are meant to be. Pop your candle into the socket and you’re done.

Repurposing vintage lamps into charming candleholders is a cost-effective and hassle-free way of revamping old lamps.

Note: If you’d like to make one of these projects but don’t have an old lamp, look around at yard sales, flea markets, antique stores or thrift stores. Sometimes you can snag great deals on a really cool lamps.

Redesigning Old Lampshades

Redesign with Extra Fabric 

Another cute idea is to cover your lampshade with fabric. Visit nearby craft stores and pick a yard of fabric that matches your color scheme. Or, if you’re ballin’ on a budget (as my daughter would say), you can scour your own craft supplies for excess fabric scraps to decorate your lampshade. 

Click to see the

Be sure to pick up spray adhesive, mod podge or fabric glue and some tracing paper for this project since it will be necessary for attaching the strips of cloth to the shade.

Redesign with Extra Wallpaper

Don’t let leftover wallpaper go to waste! Rather than tossing it aside, why not repurpose it to give a pop of color and breathe new life to an old, dingy lampshade? It’s a great way to add a touch of style and match your bedroom or living room’s decor. 

Watch How to Cover Your Lampshade with Wallpaper:

Simply choose a piece of wallpaper that complements your space, and attach it to the plain lampshade using spray adhesive or craft glue. You could even use temporary wall decals or peel-and-stick wallpaper for the project. Make sure to let the adhesive or glue thoroughly dry before reattaching the shade to the lamp, ensuring a clean and mess-free transformation. 

Say goodbye to wasted wallpaper and hello to a creatively revamped lampshade!

Apply Gold or Silver Leaf Inside or Outside

Unleash the glam factor by creating a dazzling lampshade using gold or silver leaf, or opt for the convenience of gold or silver spray paint. Don’t limit your creativity to just the outside of the shade – explore the possibilities of the interior as well. For a sleek look, paint the inside of the shade with a cool gold or silver, then, paint the exterior with a matte or glossy black finish. So pretty.

Click to see
The Gold Leaf Lampshade Transformation:

This technique works exceptionally well with drum or bell lampshades. If you’re working with knife-pleated paper or fabric shades, spray paint can be a great choice (use a foam brush to touch up any areas that need it). 

Embroider a Design 

Unleash your embroidery skills and turn a lampshade into your artistic canvas. If the lampshade has a plain white shade, consider stitching a simple design directly onto it. Adventurous cross-stitch enthusiasts have been known to transfer patterns onto paper shades and embroider directly on the surface. 

Another option is to enhance a cut-to-fit fabric with needlework and then glue the finished piece onto the lampshade. Let your imagination guide you as you explore the world of embroidery and create a unique lamp shade.

How To Video:

Make a Mosaic Design

Harness the power of hot glue to create a stunning beaded design on your lampshade. If you have an abundance of tiny beads, lightly sketch a mosaic-inspired design with a pencil and then fill it in with the beads. For added flair, attach larger, chunky, or elongated beads along the rim. 

Don’t underestimate the potential of old earrings, pins, or costume jewelry that you no longer wear – they can bring unexpected visual and textural interest to your design.

Add Fringe

Want to jazz up that tired old lampshade and give it a glamorous makeover? Add some fringe along the frame for an extra touch of wow.

See How:

Final Thoughts

Don’t let your old lampshades gather dust in a corner when they have so much untapped potential. Hopefully this blog post has unlocked your creativity and will help you transform these pieces. From painting to repurposing lampshade frames for DIY mobiles, plant stands, and birdbaths, the possibilities are endless.

Discover the joy of embroidery, beading, and fringe to add a personal and glamorous touch to your lampshades. Embrace the beauty of gold and silver leaf or spray paint to create dazzling effects both inside and outside the shades. And don’t forget the charm of repurposing wallpaper or adding a mosaic design to breathe new life into your lampshades. 

I bet at least one of these upcycle ideas works for you – go ahead, give it a try!  Say goodbye to the ugly lamp and say hello to a gorgeous custom-made creation.

Disclosure: Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links. At NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I will earn a small commission on any purchases made. LightLady Studio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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