How to cover a lampshade with fabric

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  • Follow our step-by-step guide on how to cover a lampshade with beautiful fabric

    What you’ll need:

    * Length of wool

    * Plain white or cream lampshade (we used a range of shades from Lighting works)

    * Newspaper for template

    * Main fabric (to cover our lampshades we used, clockwise from top left in the picture: Toile Carreaux, ref 6138-12, col Noir, £33 a metre, Marvic Textiles; Sea Urchin, ref GWF-2809, £61 a metre; Daisy Daisy, ref GWF-2746, £65 a metre, both Groundworks at GP & J Baker; Meander Granite, ref ED75009, £65 a metre, Threads at GP & J Baker; Nirvana, ref B6026-001, £109.40 a metre, Charles Burger at Turnell & Gigon)

    * Fabric spray adhesive (£4.99 for 500ml, Fabric UK)

    * Fire-retardant fabric spray (try MSL, £14.99 for 750ml, Fabric UK)

    How to cover a lampshade

    1) To make a template for your fabric you will need to create a marker on your existing shade. To do this, wrap a length of wool around the shade from top to bottom and tie in place. Make sure the loop of wool is sitting squarely in position.

    2) Take a sheet of newspaper and place the shade on its side at one end of the paper so that the wool is touching the paper. Mark this starting point on the newspaper with a pen. Gradually roll
    the shade along the newspaper, tracing its path top and bottom with the pen as you go, stopping when the shade has made one complete revolution and the wool is again touching the paper (see main illustration). Mark this stopping point. If you have a drum shade you will end up with a
    rectangle; if you have a tapering pendant shade, you will end up with a curved shape.

    3) Add 1cm all around your marked shape and cut out. Lay out your fabric face up and place the template on top, shifting it around until you are happy with the position of the fabric pattern underneath. Cut out the fabric.

    4) With the fabric face down, turn up 1cm along both long edges and one short edge and press – you will need to do this slowly and carefully if the long edges are curved. Place the pressed fabric over your shade, aligning what will be the vertical ‘seam’ of the fabric with the ‘seam’ of the shade underneath.

    5) Using a fabric spray adhesive and following the manufacturer’s instructions, carefully and lightly spray along the length of the unpressed vertical edge (you only need a tiny amount of adhesive). Smooth the pressed vertical edge into position over the sprayed edge for a neat and even finish.

    For more decorating inspiration, craft ideas and cleaning hacks don’t miss our dedicated DIY guide.

    Illustrations by Michael A. Hill

    6) Repeat to spray the top and bottom edges of the fabric, fold them over the frame of the shade and press into position (see illustration). Leave adhesive to dry completely.

    Take a scrap piece of fabric and spray lightly and evenly with a fire-retardant fabric spray, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Leave to dry. If you’re happy with the results, cover any adjacent surfaces and spray your newly covered shade. Leave to dry and fit the shade to your lamp base.

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