Stationary Drifting

DIY: New lamp shade

I’ve had this lamp since I first moved to Halifax. I moved there in January 2004 when I transferred to Dalhousie at the start of my 3rd (ish) year of my undergrad. When I got there I had 2 suitcases and a backpack, nothing else. I remember buying this lamp in my first few days in the city, at the Canadian Tire on Quinpool, and bringing it home to my dorm room. Its gone through several house moves, one city move, and a couple of times in storage.

Somewhere along the way the top of the lamp shade came apart. Which I (ingeniously) fixed like this:

pretty right?

pretty right?

A couple of staples, some tshirt material over the broken top and sewed back on directly to the shade. Nice right? No. But it fit my punk(y) lifestyle, and the lamp still worked. I didn’t need to throw it out for no reason and I didn’t have to search for a new shade that fit. Win/win.

Well I got home yesterday and decided I was tired of looking at it. I also was feeling like an easy, quick project because I was so tired. So I grabbed some of my nice fabric and went to work.

I have a stack of pretty fat quarters that I’ve been picking up along the way. I don’t quilt (though I would like to try some day), but I like fat quarters because they are generally enough for small projects and are often super nice.

I used this material that I picked up on my trip to Ireland a couple of years ago. I can’t remember the name of the store but I remember that it was in Galway, where I was staying with some friends.

I'm not usually a fan of yellow but I thought this would let the light through the best. Plus it reminds me of a pattern my g'ma woloshyn would decorate with.

I took apart the broken shade and traced it out on the fabric, adding an extra half inch to fold over the edges of the lamp shade frame.

After cutting the shape I cut little tabs all the way around the top and bottom, the extra half inch I cut, so that it would fold better around the frame.

I sewed the 2 ends together, then pinned the fabric around the frame. I hand sewed the whole thing because I didn’t feel like pulling out my sewing machine for a such a little job. I forgot to take pictures of the frame itself but it’s two disconnected metal rings, a small one at the top is connected to the part that sits on the base where the lightbulb screws in.

pinning each little tab down

It didn’t fit perfectly but it was pretty close, its not totally flat around the frame, and I don’t own an iron (I know, I know) so its a bit crinkly. But after sewing it all on I think it looks really good.

It went from this:

To this:

So much better.


The little thing hanging from it is an Argentinian coin that an artist cut out the inside around the sun. My old roommate brought it back for me. I really like it, I’m thinking of sewing it to the shade.

I’m thinking of maybe spray painting the base. Marseau suggested navy blue. Which I kind of like.


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