How to Create a Beautiful Custom Lampshade With Wallpaper or Fabric

Simple and Elegant

A woman making a custom lampshade

Robert Niedring / Getty Images

Covering a drum shade with wallpaper or fabric can give it a custom look. Covering the shade of a flea market lamp can hide stains or tears. You can give any drum shade a chic look by covering it with vintage wallpaper, or add designer style by using patterned fabric samples or scraps.

This is a simple project that's ideal for beginners. In fact, it's one of the easiest DIY lampshades possible to make. Expect it to take one to two hours to make your fabric or wallpaper lampshade. Using wallpaper tends to go faster because it's stiffer and stays in place better than fabric.

Supplies You'll Need

  • Drum shade
  • Cloth measuring tape
  • Wallpaper or fabric
  • Scissors
  • White craft glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Painter’s masking tape
  • Bias tape fabric

Instructions

  1. Remove the trim or tape from the top and bottom of the drum shade. Peel it away carefully to avoid tearing the fabric or paper covering the shade.
  2. Measure the height of the drum shade. Wrap a cloth measuring tape around the shade to measure the circumference.
  3. Cut the wallpaper or fabric to the shade height by one inch wider than the shade circumference. Make sure directional patterns will point toward the top of the shade.
  4. Lay the wallpaper or fabric right side down. Brush a two to one mixture of white craft glue and water all over the wrong side of the fabric or wallpaper in one thin layer.
  5. Turn one of the ends representing the shade height over 1/2 inch. Make sure the wrong side of the wallpaper or fabric is inside the fold.
  6. Lay the drum shade on its side, and align the shade's seam with the unfolded height end of the wallpaper or fabric. Roll the wallpaper or fabric a few inches onto the shade. Use a few small strips of painter's masking tape to hold the wallpaper or fabric in place at the seam while the adhesive dries.
  7. Roll the rest of the wallpaper or fabric slowly onto the shade. Keep the edges aligned, and progressively smooth any wrinkles.
  8. Once the starting point has been reached, brush the craft glue mixture onto the folded edge of the wallpaper or fabric. Remove the masking tape holding the unfolded edge to the shade. Wrap the folded edge over the starting point, overlapping the seam. Apply a few new strips of painter's masking tape to hold the folded edge in place while the glue dries.
  9. Cut two pieces of bias tape, each 1/2 inch longer than the circumference of the lampshade. For wallpaper covered drum shades, choose a complementary fabric. For fabric covered shades, make the bias tape from the same fabric, or choose one that contrasts.
  10. Brush glue around the top of the lampshade. Starting at the seam, apply the bias tape all around the top of the lampshade with the top edge inside the fold. When the starting point has been reached, fold the bias tape under. Apply glue to the folded edge, and overlap the starting end. Brush glue around the inside of the top of the lampshade, and affix the other half of the bias tape to the inside of the shade. Until the glue dries, hold the bias tape in place with a strip of painter's masking tape. Repeat with the second strip of bias tape at the bottom of the shade.
  11. Remove the painter's masking tape once the glue dries, and place the newly covered drum shade on the lamp.