Tuesday, August 18, 2009

About Covering Vintage Shades

If you want a great $20 handbook on covering vintage shades, look at Everything you'll want to know about recovering shades.

You can find vintage shades all over the place. Take off the old cover. Sand and spray the metal frame. Wrap the horizontal top and bottom circumferences.

Wrap opposing (2) vertical struts and pin fit double thickness material beginning at one vertically wrapped strut and pin to the opposing strut.

With a chalk mark the fabric along the strut to make your pattern. Note: the material stretches if you use the weft.

What is weft? (from salvage to salvage is weft). For more stretch use the bias of the fabric.

Its a bit of work, but I find the entire process a joy. You can find some real bargains in the $6-$12 range from antique shops, thrift stores, flea markets.

Above is a simple cover and liner for a barrel shade.

There are really great trims at the fabric shop. Be sure to pay attention when trims are on sale because the fancier the trim the higher the price per yard.
My dining room valances cost $7 worth of fabric, but the 3 yards of tasseled trim was $18.00 a yard. Yikes. But, the look is fabulous.
You can buy a tube turner and make big, medium, and really tiny fabric tubes--when pressed out they make economical trim.
Make tiny fabric tubes of different material and braid them together--make your own trim for pennies.

Sometimes pretty trim doesn't work out too well. The pearl braid for this shade was exasperating to keep it straight without a wobble. Oh well, I learn as I go.
Before I added the pearl braid, I made some trim from the shade fabric. I cut it on the bias and pieced the bias strips together. Bias trim has the most stretch and will smooth out better when gluing.
I use low temperature glue, the skinnest glue sticks I can find. That way, the glue doesn't get away from you. You really only need the thinnest bead of glue to hold the trim in place.

I make my own material wrap to cover the metal frames. The wrap is there so you have something to sew the material to.

Fancier multi-paneled frame must be stretched and hand-sewn a panel at a time. Above: I got such a deal on this one--I found a pair of them. Way cool. The first one is under construction but I left it at my Mom's house by accident when I visited her last June. Mom lives 400 miles from me. I'll see her again in October and pick it up. I'll have to post the "under construction photo" later.

Here's another multi-paneled lamp shade. Nice shape. Vintage frame. Blue and white cotton fabric, with eyelash fringe and crystals. Made my own trim from material to cover the multipaneled struts to hide the hand-sewing.

Here's the blue & white shade from the interior. A multi-paneled frame doesn't have a liner because of the complicated shape.

Another view of the blue and white vintage lamp shade finished.

Above: Blue & White lampshade. Pretty when lit at night.

My sister Pam made the fancy drapes when she visited in June 2008.

With the left over material from the drapes, I covered and lined a simple shape metal lamp frame I bought at Good Will for $3. I picked a silky polyester for the liner.

Above, another view of the interior of the lamp.

Above: the finished lamp that matches the drapes.


  1. WOW...your work is exquisite! Those shades are gorgeous! I am going to make a reference to your lamp shades on my blog. I think there are lots of people that would be interested in seeing your work.

    Thanks for sharing the "how tos"...I learned alot and I know others will too!

  2. Wow, I need to do two lamps and with your excellent tutorial, I know I can do it. I love my lamps and needed new shades but didn't want to give up the lamps. You are good.

  3. Hi Jacque and Queenmothermamaw,
    Great to hear from you both.

    I know you can make some stunning lamp shades. I don't want to come off sounding like an info-mercial here, but to tell you the truth even though I can sew, I would have made a mess of recovering my first shade if not for Maude Kiser-Golds handbook showing me step by step "how to". Her book has endless "how to" pictures to go along with each step. Piece of cake! Best $20 I ever spent. Have fun girls. I'll talk to you soon. Thanks for coming to see me. If you visit Wisconsin, come see me in person.

  4. Oh what a wonderful job you did on these shades. I have always wanted to do this.Maybe you have given me the nudge to do it. I might just have to order that book.
    Come visit me sometime !