Monday, April 29, 2013

The Other Half: Trimming a Lamp Shade

Hey everybody! After last Friday's half-post about my intentions to gussy up a plain lamp shade, I almost didn't get the second half done this weekend either, even though I promised.

After tons of wet, cold, even snowy weather in April, we finally had one of those stunning spring weekends--sunshine, mild temps, gentle breezes. We had to go the local Lowe's check out the outdoor stuff. After a dreary and long winter, we couldn't resist taking a few things home. Ben is going to try growing tomatoes in a pot this year:

And Joe insisted we bring home these lilies, because the color was "so cool." I agree:

But Sunday morning I had a bad case of First Day of Spring Garden Work-itis, sore muscles everywhere (hell-O abdominals) and decided that I could handle one indoor project.

Last Friday I showed you my 1960s era green ceramic genie lamp, with the shade that is just fine but could use a little something.

Just a few tools for this job-- hot glue gun, we meet again. 

When trimming a lamp shade, start at the seam, so all the least attractive parts of the lamp shade are all in one place and can be turned against the wall:

The key to doing this well is doing just an inch or two at a time. Don't spread hot glue around the entire shade and then start slapping on big lengths of trim. It doesn't work. Use as little glue as possible to make it work, so the braid doesn't end up soaked through with glue and embalmed in plastic (not a good look).

My cuticles and fingernails trashed by garden work: also not a good look. 

Looking nice, I think: 

At the seam, some people prefer to leave a short extra length and fold under. With some types of flat or thin trim, that will work. But this braided trim is a bit bulky, so I've chosen to cut it cleanly with the exact edge of the start, and butt the two ends together. It takes a little extra glue to get all the ends fastened down, but I think it's a relatively clean look:

After doing the top in the same way, it looks like this:

Here is the shade, in its habitat:

Now the before again:

And after:

To me, the trim not only made the shade seem less bare and plain, it also seemed to make the shade more balanced and in proportion in relation to the lamp as well. I'm not sure why this is, but I'm enjoying the improved effect.

I have one more lamp shade to cover in this living room, but I'm still thinking over the strategy for the unusual shape. It's for the little lamp at the other end of the sofa:

For me these projects take a little time to gel in my mind before I go forward. The last lamp shade took me two years to finish. I wonder how long this next one will take.


  1. I love it! It ties in nicely with the blinds and the sofa now. And hey--I'm guessing my stupid chair project is going to take longer than your lampshade. :-)

    1. If it makes you feel any better, that stupid looking curtain in my kitchen is, well, still stupid. I'm gearing up for another attempt soon!