How to Upcycle a Thrift Store Lampshade

Maura White
by Maura White
3 Materials
30 Minutes

This post may contain an affiliate link. See my disclosure policy. Today I’m going to show you an amazing DIY upcycled lampshade project that shows you how to upcycle an old lampshade into a repurposed project that will be a unique decor item and conversation piece!

Can you guess what part of a lamp has been upcycled in the picture above?

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Make your own shelf with this highly recommended wood slab and glue that Amazon reviewers swear by!

What does upcycling mean?

If you are new to upcycling, then I’ll start out by telling you just what that word means. Basically, it means to breathe new life into old things but using parts and creating a whole new purpose for those parts to be used.

According to Wikipedia, upcycling, also known as a creative way to reuse an item, is the process of transforming waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality, such as artistic value or environmental value.

What is the difference between repurposing and upcycling?

I tend to use repurpose and upcycle interchangeably. Upcycled ideas and repurposed ideas to me mean the same thing.

The main point is to rescue something from the trash or the thrift store and give it new life. Its new job is different than what was originally intended to do.

What is an example of upcycling?

Today I’m going to show you an awesome example of upcycling by showing you how a $0.99 old lampshade from Goodwill will turn into a stand into an adorable decor shelf!

Materials Needed To Repurpose A Lampshade:

  • An old lampshade from a thrift store or Goodwill or one you have at home
  • A wood slab (I found mine at T.J.Maxx for just $6 – but since those stores are hit and miss in terms of inventory – you can look for one on Amazon.)
  • Aleene’s Clear Liquid Fusion Urethane Glue

I thought this was a really clever way to upcycle because you use a part of an old lampshade that no one really sees. Then when you expose that part and use it for a totally different purpose, it really surprises people! That’s half of the fun when you upcycle – is showing people how you made something so different from what its original purpose was for!

Before I show you step by step just want to do, I am curious about your own genius upcycling ideas. Be sure to leave those in the comments below!

A fun way to upcycle your old stuff:

My favorite places to find old lampshades are Goodwill or thrift stores. They are always $0.99 at Goodwill. You may be able to get one for even cheaper at a yard sale or local thrift store.

One of the fun parts of upcycling household items is that you can find something old and ugly and tear it apart to give it new life.

How to upcycle a lampshade:

  1. Once you have your lampshade, get a pair of scissors and just start cutting off the outside material. If it’s a really old lampshade, it will be dried out and may crack easily to help you get it off in no time.

2. When you upcycle a lampshade, the part you want is the metal frame that is on the inside of the shade. That turns into the base of your shelf decoration.

3. Once you have gotten all of the shade material off of the metal frame, it’s time to glue it on your wood slab.

4. Then you’ll need Aleene’s Clear Liquid Fusion Urethane Glue and put some on the bottom of the wood slab and put on the metal frame from the lampshade.

This picture was actually taken during this cheese platter project where I used a lampshade for a slightly different purpose than the project I’m showing you here. Let your imagination give you the inspiration to use these mini shelves in multiple ways!!!

5. After you attach the metal from the lampshade onto the wood slab, be sure to let it fully dry for 24 hours before using it.

I placed mine on my countertop and curated a simple presentation for the top of the shelf. I have a random small vase that I think my mother gave me and is super old. Then I purchased a fake succulent from Amazon. I would actually like a taller center plant and may switch that out with a real aloe plant.

The little ceramic bird was another gift from my mom (have no idea where she got it) but there are some really cute ones over here on Amazon!

Like I mentioned before, you don’t have to use this repurpose project just as a decor shelf. You can use it to display food! This could be a small charcuterie platter too! Write down all of your repurposed ideas and you’ll be amazed what you can do with items that would normally end up in a landfill!

If you are wondering about the salt and pepper shakers, they were hand made out of WebbWood. We know the owner of this company very well, and he specially made those for us. I really wish he sold these on his site. But if you know a wood worker, maybe you can just buy the wood and have a pair made. They are one of my favorite things in my kitchen!

Looing for more upcycling ideas? Check these out:

Resources for this project:
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Maura White
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 4 questions
  • Judith Judith on Jun 21, 2021

    Cute idea. For the photo, Just wondering why you chose to place it in front of a wall outlet?

  • Fran Fran on Nov 25, 2022

    It’s a cute idea. You could also use other type wood objects like small drawers, pallet wood, plates, etc… But it looks top heavy. Does it not tip over easily?

  • Monica Monica on Mar 14, 2023

    What did you do with the rest of the shade? .✌

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2 of 53 comments
  • Evy Blake Evy Blake on May 09, 2024

    Fantastic idea that leads to many alternatives to suit your fancy whether you have a creative bone in your body or NOT!

    Thank you!

  • You probably could find something for a stand at the Dollar Tree too