DIY Lamp Shade & Base Makeover

2 Days
I've been wanting to make my own lamps for quite a while now, but have never figured out the whole wiring/electrical part. One day perusing I found these!
They are outdated, no doubt. Nevertheless, inspiration struck! I decided to try and tackle a shade & base by making over the existing lamps.

First I removed the shades in order to spray paint the base. I used painters tape to protect the socket and cord. In the end, I did actually spray paint the cord because I read online it would work fine. However, I would not recommend this. The cord is now permanently sticky.
Next I began the painting process (in 25 degrees!). If you follow my blog, you know that I recently wrote an article about how to spray paint in winter. Go check it out!
When the lamp bases were done, I began to make the lamp shades. I started with two 14″ wooden embroidery hoops I purchased at Crafts Direct. I realized I could use both the inner and outer circle of hoop if I just took apart the metal tightening hardware and bent it flat.
Next I cut a piece of poster board to the height I wanted the lamp shade (I think I did 11 inches?).
Then I cut and bent wire coat hangers into a shape like this to hang the shade with. The hole in the (exact) middle will go over the lamp base where the top finial screws into.
The bent arms get wrapped around the wooden hoop using a pliers. I used my hot glue gun to glue the poster board to the wood hoop, securing it with money clips along the way before the glue dried. I glued both the top and bottom embroidery hoops on at the same time, ensuring the poster board stayed parallel.
When I ran out of poster board, I just started another sheet, lined up as close as I could. I used clear packaging tape across the seem between the two pieces of poster board.
Now it came time to wrap my shades in fabric! First I ironed my silky white fabric I found on clearance at Walmart so that it was super flat. Since I cannot sew, I used more hot glue to “hem” all the edges of the fabric so it wouldn’t fray.
Then I began covering the lamp shade with fabric by folding it over and gluing it to the exposed wood of the hoop on the inside part of the shade.
Does that make sense? This is a picture from when I had the top done.
The bottom I was sure to glue down completely covering the wood embroidery hoop because when you look into the shade as it sits on the lamp, you wouldn’t want to see the hoop. Be sure you’re only gluing to the hoop, not the poster board. Anything on the poster board will show through the shade when you turn the light on. This is what the shade attached to the lamp base looks like.
Now that you know EXACTLY how these lamps were made, this is my DIY lamp shade & base!
You might wonder if it’s safe to use wood and poster board around a light bulb that heats up. Since I made shades that are 14″ in diameter, there’s tons of space between the flammable materials and the heat from the bulbs. I have not foreseen any issues with the design from the last month of use.
Here’s the amazing before and after. A new DIY lamp shade & base that’s way more modern and colorful and stylish.
Here’s the quick breakdown of costs:

$20 Large lamps from Craigslist

$2.00 Two yards of clearance fabric

$3.79 Teal blue spray paint

$3.27 Spray primer

$6.00 Two 14″ wooden embroidery hoops

$0.66 Two poster boards

Items I already had:

Painters tape

Wire clothes hangers

Packaging tape

Hot glue gun & (a lot of) glue

Total for this project =


If you’ve shopped around for large table lamps lately, you’ll know I got myself a steal. It’s hard to find ONE lamp base this size in the stores for $35.

THANKS FOR READING! Come on over to my blog to see more fun, DIY tutorials and decor ideas!
Welcome to the Woods
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation
2 of 5 comments
  • Becky Partain Becky Partain on Jun 15, 2017
    Great transformation. Good job.

  • Barbara A. Hallowell Barbara A. Hallowell on Oct 27, 2019

    Brilliant redo! Inspired by your work, and just, oh beck give it a try mentality. Someone's we get so hung up on perfection and process that we forget the fun of experiments, and just going for it! Obviously, your going for it turned out incredible, and I've saved it for my next thrift store lamp attack! Kudos!!!