Personal Project | A DIY Lamp Shade

This is not at all client-based. It doesn’t have anything to do with my photography business. However, I get asked pretty frequently which design blogs I follow. One of my absolute favorites is Tatertots and Jello. My sister-in-law, Leslie, introduced me to this blog and I’m an avid reader ever since. Jen comes up with great themes and ideas, and then finds tons of resources and DIY projects for ways to make those ideas come alive. I love that she posts a wide variety of ideas to cover a large spectrum of interests and tastes.

This Saturday I was browsing T&J in my google reader. I always star my favorite projects that she shares. I found one that just made me absolutely giddy. It was a burlap Anthropologie-inspired do-it-yourself project for a lamp shade. My, heaven. I starred it and kept thinking about it. I had been on the search for an awesome lamp, but hadn’t found one yet. Our little measly lamp needed to be updated. All weekend, I was focused on how I could find a lamp and make this happen.

Fast forward to Sunday. Dustyn and I went to Home Goods after service at the Austin Stone. It’s in South Austin, and again, I’d heard fantastic reviews from Leslie. We browsed around and found a few jars made of beautiful recycled glass for our living room. I saw a lamp that I immediately fell in love with, but just didn’t love the price tag. It was $40 and I was sure I would find something else I liked for cheaper – especially since I was about to do some “work” to it.  What if I messed it up? After we finished browsing, we went to check out our jars. I returned our basket and passed by the lamp again. I spontaneously picked it up and ran to the counter before Dustyn could swipe our debit card. He just smiled at me and said, “I knew you’d get it.”  I hadn’t found anything else at all the stores I’ve seen online or in person that I liked nearly as much.

On our way home we stopped at JoAnn Fabrics so I could purchase glue sticks and burlap.  I started on it right away last night. The whole project took me about three hours, and I even started completely over at one point.  Here’s the before and after.  If you want to do this project on your own, click this link for directions. I offer a few more tips at the bottom in addition to what was posted on T&J so scroll all the way down!

Whatdya think?  Pretty awesome transformation, huh?  I am so excited. It really stands out in the living room, whereas our old one just blended right into the wall.

My tips for this project:

  1. Prepare to get burned.  The directions on T&J suggested that you only do a few inches of hot glue on the burlap at a time to glue it to the lamp shade. I found that it was easier for me to put glue on the entire strip and then shape it. When I only put a few inches down, I got burned so many times because I had to get close to the burlap and if I was filling in a gap, the space was tight.
  2. Have patience. Try out the design and if you don’t like it, start over. I initially put all the pieces extremely too close together. I ripped them all off and started completely over. I’m glad I did because the final project is a lot closer to what I had hoped for.
  3. Cut and iron out a few pieces of burlap to “test out” at the beginning. I didn’t think there was a scientifically perfect length for each piece to be, so test it out, see how tight you like the bends in the ruffle to be, and then continue cutting and ironing pieces.
  4. Lay a drop cloth down on the floor. Or maybe just towels. I did this on our dark hardwood floors and white burlap was everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. It was messy and dusty.  Go buy a $2 painting drop cloth that you can bundle up and toss in the trash after this is complete!

If you decide to make one too – send me pictures!


  1. Ivy says

    i LOVE this!!! i am going to try to convince troy to let me do it! he thinks all ruffly thigs are “girly” – he doesnt get that they are gorgeous!

  2. Magan says

    Thank you all so much! This was a really, really fun project! Again, if you make one too – send me pictures! :)

  3. says

    LOVE this shade! I recently acquires old brass lamps that I am re-furbishing and am looking for the right type of shade to go with this – this is perfect! I love the mix of whimsy & romantic waves with the rough, more industrial material!

  4. Cyndee L Hulesy says

    I have been looking for something different and eyecatching, i think i found it ! Now my lamps will be perfect to sell!!
    Thank you so much.

  5. says

    Love this! Hope you don’t mind that we featured one photo and provided a link back for the tutorial on your site :)


  1. […] Magan from Magan’s Lens added texture and interest to a plain lampshade with ruffles and burlap. If you can operate scissors and a hot glue gun, you can make your own! The imperfection of the frayed edges and wayward ruffles are part of the shade’s appeal so this is a very forgiving project. Here’s how Magan describes the impact of her new lampshade, “It really stands out in the living room, whereas our old one just blended right into the wall.” […]

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