Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Roses & Ruffles Lamp Shade - from boring to burlap

So last week I was looking at this boring lamp shade and wondering what to do with it.  It'd only been this way for atleast 15 years and I had never decided how I wanted to decorate it.  At one point I thought about covering it with buttons but obviously that never happened so there it sat.
Later that day my friend posted on facebook that she would be sharing instructions to add pleated ruffles to a lamp shade.  That got the wheels turning and I googled "ruffled lamp shades" and found several blogs with various ideas on how to add ruffles to lamp shades.
Since I had a yard of burlap and some spare time yesterday I decided to get to work and try it out.
First I cut four 3" strips.
I set my sewing machine to the longest straight stitch I could.
Then I sewed down the middle of my fabric strips.
If you don't have a 1 1/2" marked on your sewing machine, line up your ruler and put a length of masking tape to mark your sewing guide.
For the top row to help make the ruffle even I marked the middles and fourths with pins and then I pulled the thread to ruffle it and used a glue gun to glue the pinned spots to the right places on the shade and then I glued in between a few times to tack it down.
Then I did the bottom ruffle.  It didn't fit all the way around so I cut another strip in half and used that part to finish it.  Last, I did the middle ruffle using an additional quarter of a strip to fill in the extra space.   (I should have sewed the strips together to make them longer before I ruffled them and used the pins to mark the middles and fourths to make sure they were ruffled somewhat evenly.)
Here is the lamp with just ruffles.  This is all I’d planned to do but then since I still had some fabric and I love making roses I decided to add some roses to my lamp shade.  I cut the remaining fabric into 3” strips and then cut the strips in half so they were about 30” long each.  As I made each rose I just hot glued it directly onto the lamp shade.  ( I didn’t sew the roses – just held them in place as I formed then and then glued them down)  I would recommend spacing 5 evenly around the top layer and then adding 5 to the next layer in between and then do the bottom row.  If you use a tapered lamp shade like mine the roses in the top row will be closer together than the roses on the bottom row.
Close up of one of the roses.
The finished lamp.
Close up of the finished lamp shade.
I love it more and more every time I pass by it.  Too bad this is the only lamp shade in the house.  I might have to go door to door to find another lamp shade in town that needs a lift…
If I ever do this again…
1.  I will follow my mother’s advice and use elastic to ruffle the fabric.  (Cut a length of fabric 2 – 3 xs the desired length.  Cut a piece of elastic the circumference of the lamp shade.  Mark both pieces in half and fourths.  Carefully zig zag over the elastic matching up your markings to help the fabric ruffle evenly).  Unfortunately I didn’t have any elastic on hand and as far as I know the closest fabric store is 90 miles away in Billings.
2.  Use heavy duty thread.  My thread broke several times during the ruffling process and I ended up hand threading a needle and weaving the thread through the fabric manually.  It was a nightmare believe me.  Especially when half the strip of fabric was already glued to the shade and I was trying to ruffle the other half by hand.  Yikes!
3.  Use a drum shaped lamp shade.  Those seem to be the “in” shape of a shade right now and it would make things easier to be consistent with your ruffling and rosette spacing.
If you end up making one of these please let me know and I hope that I’ve provided enough tips to help yours turn out better and take less time than mine did.
Happy crafting!
Linking this post to all the blog parties under the "link parties" tab.  Check them out!


  1. How sweet...I have filed this idea under "things to do in the future"!!
    Stop over for a chance to win some vintage linen

  2. What an adorable lamp shade! Do please...link-up at my place! My blog is "small" but I'd love to have you! :0)

    Much Love & Blessings,
    Our Simple Country Life

  3. That turned out really cute!!!


  4. This is so stinkin' cute! I have my eye on a couple of shades in my house for this project. Just curious as to how it looks with the light on...

  5. I love the burlap lampshade. I teach the CTR 5 class in our ward, and I have 6 (4 year old boys). The Easter cones you made last year might just be right up their alley as a little Easter Treat. I'm your newest follower. I saw you at Coastal Charm.

  6. I love the idea...thanks for sharing!!!!!

  7. Beautiful! I love the combo of ruffles AND flowers! Thanks so much for linking up at The Little Birdie! :)

  8. Love what you did. I will keep this in mind when decorating my next lamp shade. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Love the ruffles AND the burlap! Great job Stacey! :)

  10. seriously!!!!... WOW- very impressive:)))

  11. Hey this is totally cool! This would be a great addition to my ruffle madness blog post today. I have a linky set up if you want to go add your blog. Thanks for sharing the tutorial and I hope you'll drop by.

  12. ahhh! that is sooo cute! i love burlap and i love ruffles and i LOVE rosettes! you did a way good job! thanks for the great inspiration and thanks for linking up!!

  13. Wow! Wow! and WOW! You are so creative! What a brilliant idea!

    Hopping over from Serenity Now!