August 4, 2009

Butterflies Take Flight...A Lamp Makeover

I am linking this DIY with Kimba at Soft Place to Land DIY Day! Make sure to visit and see all the other creative ideas many blogs are showing. I love DIY Day!!

Today, has been a much better day. This morning, I was surprised by a little hidden note my husband left for me. That put a smile on my face as I started my day. I also was able to take the pictures I needed and am quite happy with the look of the makeover.

Ready for you all to see how it turned out. I am including my first tutorial on how I did this...bare with me, it is my first. It is amazing to me what a little fabric and some paint can do to create a whole new look. So here is my "Butterflies take fLIGHT" design...hope you will love it too!

Originally my creative idea started with this...

I bought this lamp at Micheals about a year ago, on clearance. I liked the base of the lamp and the crystals, just never loved the shade or color. The lamp base itself used to be more of a light beige than white. I painted the base a couple of weeks ago knowing I was going to change the shade. 

I wanted to add other fabric for the shade and used a light green dupioni silk fabric I had left from another project. I was happy originally with how the end result with the fabric looked. I had however been thinking on an idea that I wanted to incorporate somethings else...some very whimsy butterflies. I was set on this idea and continued on. The only problem was....I didn't love it. 

So what was the reason I wasn't loving this look? When the shade was complete and put back on, the base has so much detail already, having the butterflies on the shade made it look to busy. I then decided I would try it with another base I had sitting in my garage not being used. It looked much better, but I still didn't love it. I know realized I had too many butterflies on the shade and it was not the look I had wanted to create. I should have kept with the decorating rule...less is more. About this point is when I knew I had wanted to change the whole thing and started tearing off all the work I had done. (If you didn't catch that part to this story, just click here.) So I was left to ponder and go to plan B. You know what? Plan B ended up being just what I wanted and now love!

So here is the makeover and a little tutorial for you...

What do you think? I really love the look!

Here's the base before. Wasn't awful, just not the look I was going for.
Sprayed a couple coats of white paint and...

Used my handy lil' mouse sander (love this!) and distressed it.

Here is the after...much better!

I wanted to keep the other shade with the original base, so I bought this one for $5.

Now you need a pattern for your shade. I found that wrapping paper works great!
I took my shade and held it at the seam and began to roll across the paper until I was back at the seam. You need to start from the far corner and work towards the center. Once done I had an impression of the shade. I then took a measuring tape or ruler, and measured the distance on the backside of the paper. From that I made sure all of my lines met up. Use a pencil and make slashes as you go then you can connect them.

I cut my pattern out and fitted it to my shade to make sure it was right.

I used a turquoise linen for my shade. It is important when pinning your pattern to put it on the bias of the fabric. (O.k. for those that might not sew, the bias is the thread line that is at a forty five degree angle to the lengthwise and crosswise grain of the fabric as it is on the bolt. The bias has stretch in woven fabric and will hang differently than fabric that has been cut on the straight or crosswise grain.) So how do you find the bias? I will take my fabric and by holding it on both sides gently pull in different directions to see where it stretches. The stretches should be in the 45 degree angle. This is where you will pin your pattern. The stretch will be easier to work with and give a nice shape to the shade.

Once pinned, I cut at least 1/2 to 3/4 inches away from the pattern. Don't worry about being precise. It is best to remember in cutting that it is always better to have a little more than less. This extra will allow to pull the edges taut and so you can hot glue the edge in the inside of the shade.

Once my fabric is cut, I then take the pattern off and am ready to iron it.

Working with a fabric like linen, your iron must be very hot to
 get the wrinkles out. I also like to use a fabric spray as I iron.

This is one of my favorites. I buy this and the Egyptian Cotton at Kohls when they are on sale at 50%. Normally they sell for $10.99. I love the smells and the mist lightly without leaving water stains.

Once my fabric is ironed it is ready to be wrapped onto the shade. I found using spray glue is one of the easiest ways. It doesn't matter what brand. I spray the wrong side of my fabric and then the shade in sections as I go. Make sure to do this outside...very sticky and a little stinky until it dries.

By doing this in sections you have more time to work with your fabric. It won't completely adhere until dry. I can still move my fabric if I need to. Start at your seam with the edge of the fabric and gently glide your hand over the section of fabric to smooth. Pull taut on the fabric on the edges to get a nice smooth surface. Meeting up with the seam leave the fabric on the edge to over hang. This will be cut and tucked under for a nice edge.

Your shade with extra fabric and wrapped.

Cut and leave at least a 1/2 inch edge on the seam to tuck under and glue down with a hot glue gun. Clean up the leftover fabric and leave again at least a 1/2 inch edge to be hot glued to the inside of the shade. On the top you will have to cut little slits in the fabrics to fit around the edges of the shade.

For the ruffle on the shade, I measured my bottom and top and then doubled the length. I then cut 1 inch strips of fabric.

On your fabric use a basting stitch, (the biggest stitch on your machine and don't back stitch when you start or stop) stitch in the center of the fabric. I like to use a clear nylon thread.

You can get away with doing only one line of stitching and pull gently on each end with one of the two threads. As you pull push a little on the fabric so it will bunch up. Do this on both ends until you meet in the center.

After gathered, I pulled on a couple of threads on each side, so it would have a frayed edge. Once you have the desired effect you want, now you can hot glue this onto the shade.

For more looks, you could even add some beads or ribbon that you could glue onto the center of the strip.

To finish my look, I added some beaded trim that was hot glued in the inside edge and some fabric butterflies. You could add many other embellishments as well. Remember that when picking colors for your shades, the darker the fabric the darker the lighting will be. A good test of what your light will be is to hold your fabric over a lampshade that is turned on. Also the fabric you pick will make a difference too.

I love how it looks with my slipcover and the curtains. I can do this for another shade and change out with the seasons. I have some cream linen I want to use and have that shade for fall and winter. A great way to change your look in a room and for little money.

 Hopefully my tutorial was helpful and didn't lose any of you along the way. If this inspired you to do some lamp make overs, I would love to see them!

Oh, don't forget about the giveaway going on here from Studio M Designs! A personalized 11x14 canvas painting could be yours!

Hugs to you all,


  1. I love this shade. The butterflies add a very sweet natural touch and the ruffle is the girly side of living. Very nicely done.

  2. It is absolutely darling!!! You are so creative and talented!!! I could totally do the gluing part...sewing, I, uh, still have a lot to learn! lol The whole bias thing still confuses me but I will get there....someday! :-)

  3. its absolutly adorable! I love the colors and the white butterflies that go so well with the lamp base. The shade color is great! GOOD JOB!

  4. very cute lamp! i like the white base a lot! nice touch with the butterflies!

  5. I am sitting here in awe! What a beautiful lamp! What a creative person you are!

  6. Thank you for the super clear tutorial, that lamp is darling!

  7. What a great tutorial and your lamp is just adorable!

  8. I love the 'after'. You did an amazing job...thanks for posting instructions. I've recently been on a lampshade and lamp kick...and have collected quite a few lately...may have to try making over some lamps now!

  9. That looks so delicate and sweet! Thanks for the detailed instructions, too!

  10. It is sooooo pretty! I love it! Beautifully done!

  11. wow, this is BEAUTIFUL!! I really want to do this in my daughters room, and I have the perfect lamp to do it on!! Thanks so much for the inspiration! :)

  12. How cute! I love how it turned out! Great Job!

  13. Your lamp is gorgeous! Less is definitely more, here. The final look is perfect. YOU ARE SO CREATIVE! I have to read more of your posts. I just haven't had the time to visit, and your wonderful post all about me, is making me feel terribly guilty for being away!

    Hope you have a lovely weekend. Can't wait to find out who the lucky winner is!


  14. so glad to have found your blog! :)

    Susan @


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