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Fifty Shades of..... naaahhhh.....

This post isn't about that book. It's about lamp SHADES.
Oh, yeah, those look pretty nice, don't they? They didn't start out that way!

Take a gander at the... ah... swanky?..... lampshades below.
I got them from my junking friend Beth Evans-Ramos 
[of Salvage Studio book fame, now known for Mama Knows Her Cocktails]
 who gave me these shades after no one would buy them at her garage sale. for a buck.
Yeah, they were THAT bad!
We had a pretty good laugh about the cheap plastic-tablecloth-like material they are covered in
and the little bits of tinsel that gather it in several places.

[Seriously, who came up with this design?!]
Worst part? The smell.  These babies were victims of secondhand smoke, for sure.
When I started removing the plastic from the frame, I saw that it actually started out as WHITE. 
That nice warm ocher/gold tone? Smoke stains. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick.......

Once I got all that smelly tacky plastic off, the frames emerged as FABulous vintage accents.  
LOVE the shape. Now THAT I can DO something with!
Because I love to see the shape of the wire frames, I usually finish off lampshades like this simply:
These have criss-crossed two lengths of twill fabric tape around them.
I tied a small bow at the top edge of each bend in the frame, to hold the twill tape in place.
And, as shown up above, they looked fabulous in my booth at the Farm Chicks Antique Show...
for all of five minutes. Just long enough to snap that photo.
Because they were the FIRST thing that sold. For $20 each.

Let's Review: 
two fugly plastic lampshades at a garage sale = $1 each FREE
time to strip frames bare = 20 minutes 
[which included putting on a mask so I couldn't smell the smoke odor]
cost of twill tape =  $2.00 at thrift shop
time to embellish bare frames with twill tape = 10 minutes
two stylish lampshades at one of the biggest antique shows in the USA = $20 each

THAT is why we go junking!!!
I made so many lampshades over 5 years that people called me 'the lampshade lady' at shows.
[I guess it's better than 'shady lady'.....]

Here are just a few of the ones that I have created with still-visible bare frames:
 lacy doilies sewn together and seam binding tape   .   glass crystal strands
 rik-rack, seam binding, and a button strip from a linen shirt  .  gold velvet ribbon and manila stencils
 dollhouse china, seam binding and ribbons  .   metal shoe stretchers
 a strip of burlap with a canvas military belt  .  wood clothespins to hold photos
 and of course, there are these lampshades from this popular post!

I recommend using faceted clear or frosted white 'candle flame'-shaped incandescent bulbs
or edison bulbs when you are working with shades like this.
The light from them is softer and won't glare in your eyes on cool fall nights!

shared online:

Worthing Court | Home{work} Wednesday


  1. I really love these! what a neat and creative idea! Loving your blog Deb!

  2. I have bought shades that were empty but never thought myself about buying them and doing it myself. Now I will be looking for lampshades. Thanks for inspiring me with each post.


  3. The idea for lamp shaed with the criss cross is so nice and intriguing. This one has become like my favorite decor tip so far ;)

    Thumbs up
    Jessica x

  4. Is there tutorial or closeup photo for black lamp shade frames with crystals? Thanks.

  5. Beth, it's so simple it doesn't even take a tutorial! Just paint the metal lampshade frame black, then gather up new or vintage chandy crystals - and use a thin-gauge wire to attach them to the frame. ;) Takes all of five minutes.( The strands of square glass crystals I used on the shades shown came from a simple light fixture by IKEA - but they don't make them anymore.)