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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Farmhouse 1820
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 6 questions
  • Lois Lois on Oct 10, 2021

    I certainly will try this, but I have 1 question. Can I use regular spray paint in the can or must it be floral paint ? Regular spray paint is so much cheaper .

    thank you

  • Norma Norma on Feb 07, 2022

    I have a lamp with a vine twisting up the base. The original shade has "leaves" on it and some kind if paper texture. thru years of gently dusting its not so pretty. Can I use this technique to make a new one, maybe using real leaves as stencils?

  • Ang51120005 Ang51120005 on Oct 09, 2022

    Can the floral paint be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot?

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  • Debbie Debbie on Oct 17, 2021

    I tried this. As long as the light was not on, it was beautiful but when I turned the lamp on, it was obvious it was painted. I threw mine away after I saw it lite up.

  • Hope Hope on Oct 13, 2022

    Very Interesting...Thank you for sharing this. The shades almost look like velvet. : )