The Secret To Painting Fabric Lampshades

2 Materials
2 Hours

If you've been reading my blog for even a hot minute, you know that I have a thing for lamps. Light fixtures, too. Anything that lights and includes a shade is what I gravitate to. Well, I can't say everything because I am choosy when it comes to lamp bases, and light fixtures, however I don't feel that you need to spend a lot of Do Re Mi on either one. Details are important and you can upscale any lamp shade with ribbons or trims, and even some paint.

Yes, you can paint a fabric lampshade!

I Have The Secret!

Where It All Started

Let me back up for just a minute and come to the defense of the current shades. Their shape is perfect, and they're fabric, albeit some type of manmade kind, which is totally cool, but I just grew tired of the white with black cording concept. Meh. Over it.

But then my wheels started turning. What if I could just paint these fabric shades? I mean, what's the harm. I got them for a song a long time ago at Christmas Tree Shop, of all places, so even if I messed up, the mistake wouldn't cost me a fortune.

Then I started mulling over types of paint. Brushing it on was ruled out immediately. Even coverage would be impossible with that method. And, would run the risk of the paint looking caked on. Kindof like a gal in the '80's with a bad makeup job.

Spray paint was a must, but what type?

I needed the paint to look soft, as if the fabric was that color to begin with. Then I started thinking about flowers and how they're painted. I consulted a friend of mine who is an amazing floral designer, and he agreed. Give it a shot, he said.

How To Spray Fabric Lamp Shades

Always spray in a well ventilated area.

First, you want to make sure the fabric is free of dust and lint. To do this, simply use a lint roller or tape to remove all the fuzz.

Shake the spray can vigorously for two minutes, which is what the directions on the can state. Pays to follow this step.

Spray From Side To Side For Even Coats

In even strokes, spray the shades, making sure you spray the underside as well. This will take several coats; don't try to coat thoroughly on first spray because it just won't look even. You can certainly correct the error if you do, but it will take a lot more time and thoroughness. Trust me on this because I rushed on one shade and paid the time-price. Spray from side to side, moving your arm kinda quickly. Turn shade and spray from side to side again. Repeat. Make sense?

Let dry completely between coats.

Floral Spray Paint Tip

Another tip I want to give you when spraying: make sure the finger you're using to hold down the spray lever is not anywhere near the nozzle. I say this because if your finger does interfere, big drops of paint will spray out and you'll then need to correct that mishap. Trust me on this too, I learned this for you.

Again, let the paint dry completely before hanging the lampshade.

Didn't they turn out great! Who knew floral spray paint would hold the secret to spraying fabrics. It's like I have new shades - like, the ones I was looking at online for a bazillion dollars. Although my new shades cost me a couple cans of floral spray paint.

I have eight 9-inch lamp shades on my dining room light fixture, and I used two cans of floral spray paint. I'm telling you this to help you gage how much you'll need(ish) for your project.

Another easy and budget friendly DIY project in the books.


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Brooke Fedigan

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Camilla
    on Oct 11, 2020

    The inside of the shades looks like a lighter blue. Is it because the bulbs are lit, or did the spray paint bleed through and tint the inner lining, or did you use 2 shades of paint?

    Beautiful results, and a great idea you've shared.

    • Brooke Fedigan
      Brooke Fedigan
      on Oct 11, 2020

      Hi Camilla,

      Thank you so much!!

      I lightly sprayed the inside of the lampshades with the same navy as the outside. I didn't want the inside to be as dark as the outside, that is why I sprayed lightly. I hope this helps!



  • Pamela Coutee Coleman
    Pamela Coutee Coleman
    on Oct 11, 2020

    Does the dark color affect the amount of light given off by the lamps?

    • Brooke Fedigan
      Brooke Fedigan
      on Oct 11, 2020

      Hi Pamela,

      It does affect it slightly. It gives a nice romantic, soft light to the room.

      I hope this helps!



  • Pat
    on Oct 11, 2020

    I would also like to know if color on inside is just bleed through from outer side of what?

    • Brooke Fedigan
      Brooke Fedigan
      on Oct 11, 2020

      Hi Pat,

      I lightly sprayed the inside of the lampshades with the same navy as the outside. I was careful to keep the inside lighter than the outside, as I wanted to add dimensioin.



Join the conversation

4 of 7 comments
  • Vicki Hopkins Adkins
    Vicki Hopkins Adkins
    on Oct 11, 2020

    Can't wait to get some floral spray paint! I have two really awful shades that need this treatment. Thanks for the inspiration! Great job!

    • Brooke Fedigan
      Brooke Fedigan
      on Oct 11, 2020

      Hi Vicki, I'm so happy to help! I have a link to the exact floral spray paint I used and recommend on my website. Good luck with your shades, I know they'll come out beautifully!



  • Rebecca Hoffmann
    Rebecca Hoffmann
    on Oct 11, 2020

    Your shades look beautiful!! I had an old hanging lamp lying around that I bought from the local Habitat Restore and converted from hard wire to plug-in. My aunt and uncle recently purchased a vacation property that has an old house needing a lot of work doing be to it.

    Sooo... my DIY brain went to work and the first thing I did was grabbed that lamp and went to work!

    Wanting to keep the original porcelain bottom section as is, I merely had to paint the shade and also give it somewhat of a rustic look.

    Not considering the option of spray painting 🤷‍♀️ I took a few random cans of paint, poured them into a cup (not mixing the colors together) and went to town with my brush!

    After the paint dried, I hot glued large jute rope around the edges and seams!

    Realizing the liner on the inside of the shade had a few rips in it, I decided to simply remove the liner!


    Rest assured, the next lamp shade that I refurbish I plan to try spray painting it 👍🏻

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