The Lazy Lady’s Guide to DIY: Lamp Shade Magazine Makeover

This week I set my DIY-sights on an unoffensive but extremely boring lamp shade that resides in my living room.

I was at a loss for what to do with it for all of five seconds, until my eye landed on the pile of catalogs and magazines that has been growing on my coffee table for months. Like many other piles of  junk in my house, I had been saving them for some future “something”. That “something” had arrived!


lamp shade before


What you’ll need: A lamp shade, 10-15 pages from a magazine or catalog, scissors, clear tape, and a hot glue gun.

How to do it: The first thing you’ll need to do is remove any existing fabric on the shade. Most lamp shades have an inner plastic sleeve underneath the fabric, which you’ll want to leave on the frame. Unless you’re me, and then you punch a big hole in it.


Done tore it.


I ended up having to make three wire supporters out of coat hangers and it was a pain in the ever-loving butt. So, be gentle with your plastic shade. Learn from my mistakes!


Plan B.


After you’ve removed the old fabric from your shade (or destroyed it completely), get out your magazine pages. Pull them out and trim off any rough edges. Full-page photos with no borders are ideal. I used Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters catalogs because they have great colors and photography. Make sure the pages are all the same length.



Folding time! Flip the page over so that the image you want on the lamp is face down. Fold the top edge down about half an inch. Flip the page over, then fold the new top edge down until the old top edge matches up with it. Rinse, fold, repeat. The edges don’t have to match up precisely, so don’t worry if there’s some unevenness. Make sure the page begins with a “down” fold and ends with an “up” fold so that you can attach the pages to each other easily.


How to fold.

To attach the pages to each other, place a long strip of clear tape on the underside edge of the “up” fold. Overlap the “down” fold of the next page so that the tape is almost at the crease, then smooth it onto the tape with your fingers. Repeat this process until all of your pages are connected.


Coming together.

At this point you should have a pretty good idea of what your lamp shade is going to look like. Bring the two edges of your page-accordion together around the lamp shade and attach them to each other.


Glue the paper along the top edge.
Almost finished!


Finally, put a line of glue around the top edge of your lamp shade with your hot glue gun and gently press the pages into it. Adjust the pages so that they’re evenly spaced.


Lampshade After

All done! Turn on the light and admire your new shade.


Close up.

Even if you don’t have a pile of catalogs handy, you could use just about any printed material for this project. Maps, damaged books, calenders, newspapers, or even artwork you print yourself would work. Heck, you could make a LOLcat shade (although I’m not sure I’d recommend it).

Happy folding!

By Bobella

I'm a twenty-something freelance writer and designer who lives in Memphis, TN with my husband, cat, and chinchilla. I require coffee and the internet to live.

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