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Lampshade Slipcovers

Update an old lamp with a custom-pleated paper shade that fits right over the old one.
Martha Stewart Living, May 2002

1. Cut out a strip of slightly transparent lightweight paper as tall as the existing shade plus 1/2 inch and as wide as the shade's base plus about 7 inches or so, depending on size of shade. On the wrong side, measure and mark lines 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch apart, depending on desired size of pleat. Score lines across the paper strips with the point of a bone scorer (a flat tool made of bone, available in crafts stores). Use these lines as guides to accordion-fold the paper, pressing with the bone scorer to make crisp creases. With white craft glue, attach the two ends to make a cylinder. If you need additional paper to fit around an extra-large shade, cut and pleat another strip, and attach to both ends.

2. At the top of the shade, use a 1/8-inch hole punch to cut holes through four pleats at a time; use the first holes as your guide for the second set, and so on.

3. Thread 1/8-inch-wide ribbon or thin cord through the holes with a darning needle; tie off. This will draw the top of the shade inward. Place on top of the existing shade. Note: For safety's sake, do not use on lamps with high-wattage or halogen bulbs.

Comments (8)

  • Rorie_D_Lion 24 Sep, 2010

    I've also done this with thinner scrapbooking paper at Easter. The light still shines through nicely =]

  • Rorie_D_Lion 24 Sep, 2010

    I used my computer and printed spider webs onto white legal size printer paper. I traced around the shades and taped the paper shades "on". I trimmed the new shades with black grosgain ribbon an now i'm set for halloween. I have 9 lights in my dining room. It ditn take too long.

  • marbargarbo 16 Jul, 2009

    I'm going to try this with the leftover pieces of my pleated paper window blinds. :)

  • speckle 16 Jul, 2009

    I have been wondering if I should buy new shades. Now I know how to save some money., Wish I had thought of it sooner.

  • zdsmith 16 Jul, 2009

    I did this years ago. I used wallpaper and it worked great!

  • writeword 16 Jul, 2009

    I'm going to try it with heavily starched fabric. Spray starch doesn't stain when ironed, so maybe it will work even when the light gets warm/hot.

  • oshasgirl 7 Jul, 2008

    I really like this idea! I think I will try this soon.

  • kayzie2 2 Jul, 2008

    Any further suggestions as to the make/type of paper? It would be helpful.