Tuesday, January 18, 2022

How to Update a Thrift Store Lampshade and Lamp

I always check the lamp shelves at the local thrift stores. There is typically a plethora of discarded lamps, all different shapes and styles. I recently refound this wood lamp that I purchased for $4 a few years ago at the thrift store (it got tucked away and forgotten). I decided I needed to find a shade for it. Because the lamp had a harp, which I like because it helps the lamp to stand a little taller without showing the bulb, I wanted to find a shade that would fit onto the harp. Often thrift store shades are the type that have the circle piece that fits on the socket part or the shade that clips onto the lightbulb. I found just what I needed for $4 at the thrift store last week. HINT: If your thrift store doesn't let you know something has been tested and works, you can usually find a plug in the store and many of the lamps have bulbs in them that you can use to the lamp before buying it.
thrift store lamp and lampshade before

I liked that wood on the lamp, but wanted a more organic, casual shade so I decided to dy some fabric to recover the thrift store lampshade.

How to Update a Thrift Store Lampshade and Lamp
This lamp is taller than what I had here which makes it better for reading, and it is warmer and more boho looking--more me.
How to Update a Thrift Store Lampshade and Lamp
I used a piece of unbleached, nubby muslin for the lampshade. I cut a rectangle about four inches wider than the lampshade height and 3 inches longer than the shade circumference. I ironed it before dying it.
use muslin to recover a lampshade
I wanted a dip-dyed look, something that looked irregular and organic. I didn't have any fabric dye at home so I used about a Tbsp. of acrylic craft paint, white vinegar, and water (equal parts water and vinegar). I mixed this up well. I could have used food coloring or blueberries as dye as well since this item isn't going to be washed at all like clothing would be. Stir it up well, protect your surface with an old towel.
homemade fabric dye
I dipped the fabric in the dye and let it sit, resting against the vinegar bottle, for about 15 minutes. If I wanted darker dye I would use more paint and would have soaked it longer. To keep your upper fabric portion free of color, be sure to keep your hands clean while touching the fabric.
partially soak fabric in dye
Ehen I took the fabric out of the dye I rinsed it in cold water and a splash of white vinegar. After drying the fabric, I ironed it again. Using spray adhesive sprayed onto the shade, I attached the fabric, leaving the vertical seam where the fabric meets unglued, as well as the top and bottom raw edges. The spray adhesive allows you to reposition the fabric and smooth out wrinkles. Make sure the seam will be over the existing seam on the lampshade.

Trim the top and bottom fabric edge about 1/2" from the wire ring shade edges using sharp fabric scissors.
recover a thrift store lampshade
Using a hot glue gun on low temperature (save those fingertips), glue the inside ring of the lamp shade and attach the fabric, working in 4-5" segments.
hot glue the fabric to the lampshade edge
Using a dull, but thin knife blade (I used the rounded back edge of this knife, not the cutting edge), gently press the raw fabric edge under the lampshade ring wire. You don't want to separate the metal ring from the original shade. Trim excess fabric as needed and strings so that when you turn the lamp on. the shade looks clean and neat on the inside too. I started with the top of the shade, but I would recommend you started with the end that you will see the least. i.e., if it is a table lamp and you will be looking down on the shade while standing, start with the bottom edge. This is just to let you get the hang of what you are doing, your second edge will probably be a little neater.
How to Update a Thrift Store Lampshade and Lamp
Because the harp was already an antique brassy color, I used Rub-n-Buff on the lampshade bracket to age the silver.
antique gold rub-n-buff
I also taped off the base of the wood lamp and used an old, small paintbrush to apply 
Rub-n-Buff to the edge of the lamp base.
antique gold rub-n-buff on a lamp
I set the lamp on an old dictionary. The book adds a little height and color.
set a lamp on an old book
Turn the lamp on to make sure all of the lampshade strings are trimmed and that the shade looks clean and neat.
How to Update a Thrift Store Lampshade and Lamp
I love the uneven dye edge on the lampshade and how the color is a little darker in the middle of the shade on the edge of the dye area.
How to Update a Thrift Store Lampshade and Lamp
And, I love having a taller lamp than what I had next to the couch.
How to Update a Thrift Store Lampshade and Lamp
Upcycled thrift store and garage sale finds help me to decorate my home not only on a budget, but they also make my home unique, warm, personal.
How to Update a Thrift Store Lampshade and Lamp

1 comment:

  1. The lamp turned out great! Dying the fabric was a great move. Really gave the lamp an updated & cool look!


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