DIY Ruffle Lamp Shades

Lampshade makeover

Our chandelier before the makeover

After finishing the dining room set reupholstery project, I went after the chandelier in our dining area… I had set my eyes on it for a while; I just didn’t know what to do with it. The modern style of the lamp was a plus to me, but the shades seemed just too plain.

I normally have a tendency to like feminine romantic decor styles with modern twists. However, since we got married, I have been trying to be fair and include my husband in the decor process. So when I saw pictures of ruffle lampshades (and loved them!), I hoped he would at least like them.

Lamp Shade Makeover

Lamp shade before covering it with fabric


Thankfully, he thought that as long as I didn’t go crazy on the fabric colors, and kept it neutral, they were fine… This is how my DIY Ruffle Lamp Shade project started.


After thinking a bit about it, I remembered that we had some fabric leftover from the dining chairs, so it made sense to use it. It worked great because you don’t really need big pieces of fabric for this project (this depends on the size of the lampshade, of course).

So, with the most important decision already made, it was just a matter of gathering the rest of the supplies to complete the project.

The complete list of items you need includes:

We had pretty much everything, except for the glue gun and bars, which we bought for like $12.


First, you will need to remove the lamp shade(s). Our lamp has 5 of them so it took me a little bit. After that, measure your shade’s height and diameter, and cut enough fabric to cover them completely on the outside, plus an extra inch or two to fold on the inside.


Covering lamp shade with fabric

Fabric cut to cover the shade


This step is optional. You can play with this as much as you want. You can put a different fabric underneath the ruffled strips, if you want a pop of color or just leave it as it is, especially if you don’t mind the shade showing in between the strips. I just decided I wanted it all covered in the same fabric.


Using fabric to cover a lamp shade

Covering the shade


If you decide to cover it, glue the fabric to the shade, folding the edges for a clean finish. The inner fold will need to be glued slowly, applying the glue bit by bit in short intervals to avoid wrinkles, specially if your shade has a round shape.


How to cover a lamp shade with fabric

Folding the fabric to create a trim



To create the strips, proceed to use your sewing marking pencil and mark your fabric for the desired width. The length will depend on how long your shade is, but the strip should be 1.5 times the length of it. For your reference, I cut the strips 1.5 inches wide and since our shades are 8 inches high, they ended up being 12 inches long.

These don’t need to be super straight and perfect (unless you want them to be, then grab your ruler), because they are going to be glued in random folds, which will hide mild curves the fabric may have.


Creating a ruffle lamp shade

Strips of fabric


Then, fold the strips in half lengthwise, and iron it out to create a crease. This will make the gluing process easier, since the crease will be the reference to set the strip to the shade.


DIY Ruffle lamp shade

After creating the crease with an iron


Apply the glue to the shade (or to the crease in the strips if you find it easier), and set the strips, folding them to create the ruffle. For a fuller and less predictable effect, do not follow the same folding pattern in all of them. Instead, try to oppose some of the folds when gluing subsequent strips. Don’t worry if you get empty spots. Once you are done covering all the shade, you can take smaller pieces of fabric to fill them up.


Ruffle lamp shade

Creating the ruffles


I was extremely happy with the final result, and also surprised it wasn’t difficult at all. You don’t need any DIY specials skills or gifts to do this one… Since I had to do five shades, I had to cut lots of strips but I got faster with each shade and it got easier and easier to create the ruffles… Finally, just put the shade(s) back in the lamp and enjoy!!!


Ruffle lamp shade

The final result


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DIY Ruffle Lamp Shades in Dining Room