How to Re-cover a Lamp Shade Without Trim: No sew!

I have tricky colors to match and I NEED room darkening – so, with my mom’s assistance (…well, let’s be honest, I’m a terrible seamstress.  I assisted her) I found some beautiful purple fabric and got an extra 3/4 yard to add a matching lampshade.

I scoured the web for a tutorial on how to cover a lampshade.  Because my colors are so difficult to match, I didn’t really want to use trim.  I ended up watching this video.  I took the basic concept and ran with it.

Drum Lampshade from Target


  • smooth (no pleats) drum lampshade
    • does not have to be the same size at the top and bottom UNLESS you are using a patterned fabric
    • make sure that it has the correct type of attachment to the lamp you have; I bought the wrong kind at first
  • at least 3/4 yard fabric (more is better)
    • If you use a patterned fabric, a straight drum shade will be better.  The fabric will look curved/uneven on the shade otherwise.
    • Make sure you like how the lampshade looks with the fabric and a light on.  Mine is not the prettiest – so I just leave it off for guests, and just turn it on when I need a bedside lamp.
  • Spray adhesive, for fabric [something that is heatproof is best]
  • fabric chalk/marker/pencil
  • fabric glue (I used Liquid Stitch)
  • Hot glue gun & hot glue
  • Iron
  • Painter’s tape – optional


Image from Fat Orange Cat

1. Trace your lampshade.  Lay your fabric on a flat surface (I used my kitchen table), with the “good” side facing your surface.  Starting and ending at the seam, roll the lampshade in a “U” shape (angle it upwards when you start), making sure you’re starting in a good place.  It took me a while to figure out the proper placement.  I had JUST enough fabric.  Starting and ending with the seam, Mark where the lampshade is on both sides as you roll the shade with some sort of fabric pencil. [This is best done with an assistant.]

2. Cut out your fabric, leaving some room.  Cut the fabric, eyeballing at least 1-2 inches of extra fabric on each side. (on the straight edges, make sure you have about 1 1/2 – 2 inches.

3. Create a finished edge: Fold over and press the straight edge about a 1/2 inch so your “seam” will look clean.

4. Use a piece of scrap fabric and test your spray adhesive!  My spray adhesive did not spray smoothly at first, and it created an uneven patchy discoloration on my scratch fabric.  I’m SO glad I checked on a scrap piece of fabric first.  I just played with the spray adhesive (shaking, spraying) until it sprayed evenly.

5. Spray your fabric.  Following the directions on the spray adhesive bottle, spray the fabric on a flat surface.  I used a shower curtain liner in the outdoor hallway in my apartment complex.

6. Adhering your fabric.  Start on the raw edge (not the pressed edge).  Leave an equal amount of extra fabric on each side. Starting at one end, smooth the fabric slowly as you adhere the fabric to the shade.  Use fabric glue to adhere the finished, pressed edge to the shade.  I taped it down with painter’s tape to keep it from becoming loose.

7. Fix up the top and bottom.  Here, you have a few options:

Using Trim: Check out this post from Isabella & Max Rooms

Folded over edge - see part of the tutorial @ Isabella & Max Rooms

Using the trim on the original lampshade: Check out this post @ Isabella & Max Rooms

So… those are a few options.  Here’s what I did!

 Trim the fabric, leaving just enough excess to fold over the edge and glue down.  If your fabric frays, I would recommend adding Fray Check or something at this point if you are going to leave it without any additional fabric/trim.  (that was my original plan… it did not look fantastic because of how dark my fabric is and because it frayed.

Then, glue down the edge.  The inside of my shade was plastic, so I used hot glue.  If yours is fabric, I would use Liquid Stich (or another fabric glue) and have taped, binder clipped, or clothes-pinned it.

Cut the fabric around the metal if necessary.

Here’s what it looked like completed.  See the fraying?  You couldn’t see the bottom, but you could obviously see the top of the shade from above.

[Please excuse the blue painter’s tape… My lamp is a little wonky and likes to wiggle/be crooked.  I tried to fix it with tape… thank goodness you can’t see it easily!

So, here’s what I did (again, to be honest, I pretty much assisted my ex-home-ec-teacher mother… thank goodness for talented and helpful friends and family!)

I had some extra fabric, so we cut an inch long strip.  We pressed ¼ inch on both sides of the strip to make it look nice and even. A bias strip would have probably worked better, but we were working with what we had! We also pressed one end in so that the raw edge wouldn’t show.

Then, we glued it down using hot glue (again, it was plastic, and fabric glue would not hold), just at the top, closest to the edge of the shade, so that the bottom did not sit flush against the lampshade.  We found that this is a lot easier to do, and looks better if you don’t stretch the piece of fabric as you go, but let it be just loose enough.  This allowed it to look better than if we’d tried to glue the whole thing down and had ripples/pleats.


Here’s the lampshade, with the top completed!

Final product!  My bedding set came with curtain tiebacks.  I pinned two together and then wrapped them around each other until they looked FABULOUS!  I think it looks pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!



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