Decoupage a vintage lampshade

Let Hammer Like a Girl show you how to revamp a lampshade with your favorite vintage graphics and decoupage medium. Love the results!A while back, we made a lamp from an old tripod. It needed an unusual lampshade so we made one from galvanized duct work. But time went by and it was time for a change – something lighter and brighter and funkier. When I think funky, the first thing that comes to mind is 60’s fashion (doesn’t everyone?). Learn how to decoupage a lampshade just like this one below.

For this project, you will need:

  • Plain white drum lampshade
  • Paper ephemera (we used a 1960’s McCalls Pattern and Home Decorating Magazine)
  • Mod Podge Matte
  • Brush
  • Paper cutter (scissors would also work)
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Large paper, for pattern
  • Pencil
  • X-Acto knife
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Cardstock, for pattern
  • Clamps & something to clamp the shade to (we used an old car jack) OR just use the lamp base if it is table lamp

We found our lampshade at a lighting outlet store for $5, which made us pretty happy.

Lampshade_beforeWe gathered up our wacky old publications and pondered a theme – Farming? Literature? 60’s fashion won out, primarily due to those bows on the models’ heads.

OldMagazinesAnd the mother/daughter dress-alike duo. (and the mother’s hair.)

McCalls_6And the stylish dresses:

McCalls_5And the most subtle advertising (in the whole wide world):


To start, measure the circumference and height of your lampshade.


Mark the dimensions out on a large piece of paper.


Select interesting pages/patterns, remove from magazine by slicing along binding with an X-Acto knife.


With a paper cutter, cut crooked, irregular strips varying from 1/2″ to 1″ wide.  A pair of scissors will work too, but you will need more patience if you go that route.


Place the strips onto the template and start laying out the design. We alternated 3 black & white text strips with one color strip so the design would have obvious stripes. We kept the color palette limited to reds, oranges, and greens so it wouldn’t get too busy.


Clamp the shade to something (we used an old car jack) or attach it to the lamp base, so it is suspended above the working surface and so the shade can be rotated easily as you work your way around.


Working with one strip at a time, apply Mod Podge to the shade and the back of the strip. Let the tops and bottoms of the strips hang free.


Gently press down the Mod Podged strip with the brush, holding it in place with the other hand. Work your way around the shade, slightly overlapping the strips.


When you have covered the entire shade, let it dry overnight. If you like the “I need a haircut” look, you are done now.


If you don’t, it’s time to clean it up, give it a trim and fold the edges to the inside of the shade. Start by folding one of the strips to the inside and marking where the paper needs to end.


Using that measurement, make a little cardstock template.


Mark the trim line all the way around the lampshade with a pencil. Repeat along the bottom edge.


Trim along the pencil marks. Repeat on bottom edge.


Working in sections of about 5″, apply Mod Podge to the area where the paper will fold over.


Fold paper over with fingers, pressing down as you go.


Repeat, repeat, repeat, for the top and bottoms edges. You may need to go back and press down certain areas. This part is a little tricky, but it will give you a nice clean edge. Apply Mod Podge to the turned over edge.


Wait for a couple hours, and then coat the entire shade with Mod Podge.


That’s it! This is pretty easy project with plenty of room for error. An added benefit: when the lamp is on, there’s interesting show-through from the inside.

Good luck and let us know if you try this! To read about some of our other projects and exploits, visit

Let Hammer Like a Girl show you how to revamp a lampshade with your favorite vintage graphics and decoupage medium. Love the results! Let Hammer Like a Girl show you how to revamp a lampshade with your favorite vintage graphics and decoupage medium. Love the results!

StripedLampshade_detailDon’t forget to visit Hammer Like a Girl on their blog or Facebook!


  1. Tina R. says

    How fun! You could pick whatever matches your colors/decor. I have a lamp shade that needs some help, i may just have to try this!

    • says

      Thanks Kia, I love the vintage photos too – those styles back then crack me up. Although the 80’s styles crack me up too, and now I see leggings and off the shoulder t-shirts everywhere I look. Yikes.

    • says

      Sheet music would be very cool, great idea. Maps would be great too – you could alternate water strips with land strips. In fact we have a bunch of topographic maps that we should try that with. Thanks for the idea, I think we’ll steal it, if that’s ok! :)

  2. Emily @ Two Purple Couches says

    This is so cool! I love the alternating strips of color and text!

  3. Last Minute Lynn says

    I love your lampshade! The excellent instructions will be so helpful as I copycat your brilliant design!