The Upcycled Coffee Can Lampshade

6 Materials
3 Hours

As thrift shops are stuffed with funky second hand treasures just waiting to be given a new life I knew I’d have no problem finding a few lamps to bring some much needed light into my new-to-me vintage home. There were loads of lamps to choose from but the shade selection was practically non-existent so I put on my refashionista thinking cap and hit the recycling bin:

Can you believe that pretty lampshade was once a coffee can?

Here’s how I easily created my upcycled coffee can lampshade from bits I already had lurking around the house:

That $2 thrifted lamp was a fab shape but definitely needed a makeover.

Giving it a good clean and then painting it bright white improved the look immensely!

Now let’s get making that awesome lampshade:

Grab a clean coffee can, a length of semi-sheer scrap fabric that wraps easily around the can and some coordinating border or trim.

This is a Maxwell House coffee can (from Canada). The top and bottom are aluminum & the cylinder is thick cardboard.

Remove the lid and the label from the can.

Create the lamp screw hole in the top of your shade by simply marking an X on the bottom of the can and hammering a large nail through the middle cross-point of the X – remove the nail and you have perfectly centered hole.

Snag a measuring tape and marker, decide how many openings you’d like the sides of the lampshade to have and measure accordingly. (use the lid to hold the measuring tape in place)

Mark the areas where you’d like the open panels to be.

Carefully cut out the panels.

Grab your glue gun and, starting at the top end of the shade, affix the fabric around the outside of the can making sure to stretch it as you stick for a nice smooth finish.

Trim off the excess fabric and stick the loose end around the inside of the bottom of the shade.

Add some vintage border around the bottom.

And a bit of pretty trim around the top. (I also painted the top of the shade white to match the lamp)

Pop it on your lamp and enjoy your lovely new lampshade!

It’s amazing what can be created when a bit of imagination meets the recycling bin!

What have you upcycled recently?

Take a peek at all of my tutorials for the nest then transform your entire wardrobe for pennies with all of my groovy refashionista tutorial collections right here.

Suggested materials:

  • Thrifted lamp
  • Coffee can
  • Scrap fabric
See all materials

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

Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Shelby☮️ Shelby☮️ on Aug 15, 2021

    Very cute lamp/shade. I noticed you wrote that you kept the top on the lampshade. I haven't bought any coffee in cans in years so I don't remember what they're made of other than cardboard. Is the lid also cardboard and does it get hot when the light is on for a little while?

    Again, very cute lamp shade and lamp. Thanks!


Join the conversation

2 of 19 comments
  • TK TK on Aug 22, 2021

    A #10 vegetable can would work 😊

    friend with a big family may have one. I’m going to try this👍

  • Jamie Tyler Smith Jamie Tyler Smith on Aug 31, 2021

    I love it! I miss the day when coffee came in cans. I plan to get a can from my local school and try this! Thank you for sharing