How to Create a Lampshade With Wallpaper or Fabric

A woman making a custom lampshade

Robert Niedring/Getty Images

Covering a drum shade with wallpaper or fabric can give it a custom look. You can cover the shade of a flea market lamp to hide stains or tears. Or, cover an inexpensive new shade if your lamp came without one.

Because drum shades are the same size at the top and the bottom, you don't have to worry about making a pattern. Give your shade some flea market chic 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 you can 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 for Covering Your Lampshade

  1. Remove the trim or tape from the top and bottom of your drum shade. Peel it away carefully, so you don't tear the fabric or paper covering the shade.
  2. Measure the height of your drum shade. Wrap a cloth measuring tape around the shade to measure the circumference.
  3. Cut your wallpaper or fabric to the shade height by 1 inch wider than the shade circumference. Make sure directional patterns will point toward the top of the shade.
  4. Lay your wallpaper or fabric right side down. Brush a 2:1 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 tapes to hold the wallpaper or fabric in place at the seam while the adhesive dries
  1. Roll the rest of the wallpaper or fabric slowly onto the shade. Keep the edges aligned, and smooth any wrinkles as you go.
  2. Once you reach your starting point, brush the craft glue mixture onto 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.
  3. Make double-fold bias tape in the fabric of your choice. 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.
  4. Brush glue around the top of your lampshade. Starting at the seam, apply the bias tape all around the top of the lampshade, with the top edge inside the fold. When you reach your starting point, fold the bias tape under. Apply glue to the folded edge, and overlap your 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 and the bottom of the shade.
  1. Remove the painter's masking tape once the glue dries. Place your new covered drum shade on your lamp.