Make a Stylish Burlap Lamp Shade

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Burlap is a forgotten fabric that has it’s place in the home in all sorts of creative projects from table runners to lamp shades.

Perhaps you have a tired lamp that could use a breath of new life. The shade may be soiled or faded and it’s making the entire lamp look like it needs to be out on garbage day!

Or maybe you just saw the photo of this awesome lamp and are thinking “I gotta have one of those”. Either way, here’s how you can make it yourself…

Materials List:

  • 1 ½ – 2 yards burlap
  • Spray adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler
  • Rotary cutter

Instructions:

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1. If you’re breathing life into an old lamp, think about spray painting the base a new color. You can use an existing shade and just add to it, or, if your lamp has no shade (yard sale purchase?), your local home store or other retail stores carry many options. Take measurements, note hardware configurations, or just take the lamp base to the store with you!

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2. While you’re out, swing by your fabric store and pick up a couple of yards of burlap. It comes in a variety of colors these days.

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3. Now the fun begins! (FYI, cut burlap gets a little messy so have your lint roller and vacuum cleaner ready and don’t wear your favorite black velour hoodie!) Don’t try to cut a piece that you think is the exact size of your lamp shade. Burlap ‘moves’ a lot, so start with a generously cut piece to be trimmed down later.

4. In a well ventilated area or outside, spray the outside of your shade with a good quality adhesive. Smooth the burlap onto your shade. Trim along the top and bottom edges. Trim also where the two ends meet around the circumference.

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If any of these edges are unsecured by the adhesive, tack them down later with a dab of hot glue.

Tip:
When you’re finished with your spray adhesive, turn the can upside down and spray until no adhesive comes out. This will clean out the nozzle so that it isn’t clogged the next time you want to use it!

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5. Now get your ironing board and fire up your steam iron. Iron your burlap flat. This makes the next steps easier and more accurate.

6. Next, cut strips at least as long as your shade is tall/high, and twice as wide as you would like your “ruffles” to protrude from your shade. I cut mine 2 1/2″ wide for a 1 1/4″ deep “ruffle.”

7. Now, take your strips to your ironing board, fold them in half length wise, and iron flat. The more strips you have, the fuller your finished shade will look. When you have a nice pile of strips ironed, fire up your hot glue gun and get comfortable.

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8. Start at the top edge. Take your first strip and apply a bead of glue to the folded edge an inch or two at a time. Hold it to the shade, in any curved position you’d like, for just a couple of seconds. Continue along until your strip is attached from the top of the shade to the bottom.

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9. Snip away any overhang. Do the same all the way around your shade. If you find that you have obvious open areas between strips, you can use smaller pieces in any position you’d like, to fill in those areas. Feel free to go as swirly cue as you wish. I rather liked that.

And remember, it is the nature of cut burlap to fray and sprout out everywhere. That’s what gives this lamp shade so much charm!

There you have it! A lovely new lamp! Enjoy creating!

Jennifer

Jennifer is a wonderful friend and associate of Matt & Shari and has worked behind the scenes with us for many years.  We are quite thankful she is back with us again making magic happen!

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