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Text Box: FREE Instructions For Customizing Table Lamps and Lamp Shades
by Gloria Hander Lyons
The Crafty Cottage

After painting the base, you can add even more details by using stencils, decals or decoupage. You can also drape your lamp base with an elegant tassel or glue on beads, buttons or faux jewels.


If you don’t want to paint the base, cover it with fabric. Simply measure the lamp base from the neck, down one side, across the bottom and back up the opposite side to the neck. Add about 4 or 5 inches to this measurement to allow for tucking under the raw edges at the top. Cut a square piece of fabric this size. 


Lay the piece of fabric on a flat surface, wrong-side up. Place the lamp base in the center of the fabric, cut a tiny hole for the electrical cord to go through, and gather up the fabric around the neck of the lamp, tucking under the raw edges of the fabric. Secure the fabric by tying a piece of ribbon or jute around the neck of the lamp, as shown at right. You can also change the fabric on the lamp to match your décor for different seasons or holidays.

Not only are table lamps functional for providing task lighting, they can make a significant impact on your decorating scheme. A lamp on an entry table can provide a cozy welcome for you or your guests. A small lamp can also light up a dark corner on your kitchen countertop. Even if a lamp is not lit, it adds to the overall décor, especially if it is customized to match your design.


Giving new life to old lamps and lampshades is easy. It’s also a good way to save a few decorating dollars. Use the following ideas to refurbish or customize old lamps and shades that you already have or ones that you find at garage sales or even new ones that are on sale but don’t quite match your current style. For older lamps, make sure the wiring is in good condition. If not, have them rewired or get a wiring kit from a home improvement store and follow the instructions to rewire them yourself.

Refinishing a Lamp Base:


Just about any lamp base can be painted. There are hundreds of spray paint products on the market today for covering any material from porcelain to plastic to metal. There is a wide selection of paint finishes, including stone, pewter, bronze and terracotta.


To paint your lamp base, cover the light bulb socket (and any other parts of the base that you don’t want painted) with tape and newspaper. Following the directions on the can, spray paint the lamp base and let dry.

Customizing a Lampshade:


Lampshades come in hundreds of different shapes and sizes. You can buy inexpensive, plain shades at home improvement stores or discount stores and customize them for your décor. You can also refurbish shades you already own or have purchased second-hand.


The following is a list of ideas for customizing your shades:


 Smooth lampshades can be painted with a sponge brush and acrylic paints or spray painted.

 Glue fabric appliqué designs onto smooth shades.

 Use stencils or rubber stamps and acrylic paint to decorate a smooth shade.

 Glue on colorful buttons, crocheted doilies or ribbon roses for a feminine touch.

 Cover the entire shade by gluing on silk flowers.

 Glue ribbon, rickrack, braided trims, tassel trim or beaded trim to the top and/or bottom edges, as shown in the photo above.

 Decoupage paper print cutouts or copies of photos onto the shade using a decoupage medium found at craft stores.

 Using a corsage pin, punch holes through a dark, opaque shade in a simple design such as a heart or star, so the light will shine through the holes. Simply draw your shape on a piece of paper and tape it in position on the shade. Punch holes through the shade, about 1/4” apart, along the lines of the drawn shape. Repeat several times on the shade.

 Add a gathered skirt of fabric or lace over a shade, as shown in the photo at right. This shade cover was made using two Battenburg lace table runners, with 1/4” wide satin ribbon threaded through the holes of the lace at the top edge of the runners and gathered to fit the top edge of the lampshade. Tie ribbon ends into a bow at the front of the shade. Glue artificial flowers over bow if desired.


These are just a few ideas for adding a customized look to your décor. Have fun experimenting with these techniques, so you can add your own personal touch to any room.

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