Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Modernizing a Vintage Lamp

Do you remember this lamp I found last year at a yardsale for $5?? Well, it's been sitting around, waiting for me to get inspired to do something with it. And finally this week, the inspiration hit and I went with it. I have no idea what the age of this lamp is, I would say probably the 50's or 60's? Anyone want to guess? As much as I like drum shades, this one was a little TOO large, so I knew I needed to find something a little more proportional to the lamp, something just a little smaller.

So off to the Junk Store I told you about last summer. Remember that place? It's a treasure trove of old and dated things, but I remembered seeing lots of vintage style lampshades in there, so maybe I'd get lucky and find one. I did, this one was $2. I knew I'd recover it anyway, so I was only looking at size and something sturdy. This one had seen better days. The metal frame was half showing around the top where the old paper had given way. I ended up having to take the frame out anyway and bend it to where I needed it to be. It sat way too low down in the shade to work with my lamp.
So, I took it out, bent the arms until I had the circle sitting just where it needed to be to hit the lamp in the right spot. I wasn't sure how this little trick would work, but I figured for $2, I wouldn't be out much and it was worth a shot. Luckily, it worked! I ripped all the old binding seam off from the top and bottom, so I'd have a smooth shade to work with. The frame fit back in there tightly and I knew it would be fine as I added my new fabric on there. The only caution on bending a frame like this, it can start to lose it's round shape, so I had to work with this one a little to make sure it was still round & would fit back inside the shade. Then I went out to Hancock Fabrics to see what inspiration would hit me. I have long been attracted to these newly inspired damask fabrics that have been out the last few years and really wanted to use one somewhere, maybe a pillow or another spot. So, this was the perfect time to go for it, a lampshade was a great place to highlight this fabric. They even had a 40% off sale when I went, so got the fabric and trim on sale. You know how I like those sales! Fabric and trim cost $12 total. This fabric is so neat, it's a pretty oatmeal colored linen with black flocked damask pattern on it. Really perfect for covering an old lampshade, because it's thick enough to lay smooth and hide any imperfections. Easy to work with.
Got out my 3M spray adhesive. This stuff works great. I took the shade outside and sprayed it heavily with the adhesive, so the whole shade was sticky and ready for the fabric. I only got 1/2 yard of fabric for this project and it was plenty enough to tuck under and over on the top and bottom of the shade. Remember my shade tutorial awhile back? I laid the shade down about an inch and 1/2 down from the top of the fabric. You have to allow for the shade to roll across the fabric. It will go somewhat at an angle and that's what you want for the fabric to lay smoothly on the shade. Even though this is a drum shaped shade, there is still a curve to it when I laid it down on the fabric. So, you allow for this curve as you are rolling the shade down the fabric to have it join on the backside. This is where your fabric seam will go. You can see there is about 1 1/2 to 2" on each end of the fabric to tuck under. I did iron the seams on both sides so that it will lay flat when glued down.
Now, I did get out my glue gun too and used it to hold down the fabric as I tucked in under on the top and bottom of the shade. It dries fast and really holds it in place. Used a little from the glue gun too on the back seams to keep them flat. Finally, I was ready for the trim to go on the top and bottom of the shade. This gives it a great finished look. I used my Fabri-Tac fabric glue on this. It's also a great glue to use for a project like this.
Ta-da!! Here's the finished lamp! I am SO proud of it. I think it looks like a million bucks now. Total cost = $19! You just can't beat that for a trash to treasure look.
I absolutely love this fabric. It's a perfect punch as you come in our frontdoor to draw the eye in.
Here's the base of the lamp, crystal on a black marble base. It's heavy and quite a substantial lamp.
Lampshade closer.
(1st pic, without flash, 2nd with flash)

Hope y'all will be inspired to try something like this too. You never know when that next vintage find will come along. Don't be too quick to pass it over. Think about the possibilities and what you can do to make it personalized for YOUR home!

On another note, my digital camera has decided to die on me, the flash has quit working, so I have just ordered a new Canon online. Can't wait to get it & look forward to playing around with some new pics. It's got a few more bells & whistles than my old one, so I should have some fun with it.

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68 friends stopped by:

Francie said...


That lamp looks like something you'd pay hundreds for! Great job. Love the fabric. You are so creative!! Will you come to my home and decorate?


Sandi McBride said...

What an inspiration. I'd give anything to be able to go into a Hancock Fabric store again...haven't been able to find one anywhere near here. I have two lamps that are probably forty to fifty years old, cut glass bases...ugly shades. That's right. Ugly shades. Thank you for showing me step by step how to make them pretty~!

Sandy said...

Wow - transformation! I always love seeing what you do to things (thrifty finds) :)

Monkey Giggles said...


I have been lurking on your blog for a while now. I am coming to say Hi and I love your blog.

This lamp is beautiful.

Thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous lamp shade. I just happen to be on lampsplus website yesterday and saw one similar going for $100. You did a great transformation for so so much less. I am truly inspired today.


White Cats said...

I have a lampshade just like that that needs a makeover. Thank you  for sharing the "How To". Come visit my spot at Chelsea. Cheers, Lena

PAT said...

Great transformation, Rhoda! We finally have a Hancocks, within 30 minutes from home! I love it!


OKGardners said...

I had a set of lamps with similar huge lampshades and they were from the 1970s. So maybe that will help you "date" that lamp and shade.

Betty in Oklahoma

Rosie's Whimsy said...

All I can say is "WOW"! You did a marvelous job. It is beautiful :-) ((hugs)) Rosie

Abbie said...

Hi Rhoda!
Bravo! It loks fantastic and just eprfect on that table. Kudos to your creativity!
♥ Abbie

Bonnie said...

Lovely lamp, Rhoda! You did a great job on recovering the old shade. I wish we had a Hancock's close by......I loved it when we did. Thanks for all the tips on redoing a lamp shade - You are such an inspiration!


Judy said...

I am a lamp-a-holic Rhoda so I love anything lamp-related. I have an old lamp similar to the one you have pictured...hmmm, maybe I'll get inspired to do something with it! BTW, your ribbon should be picked up today and brought to me this weekend...

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Great job on the lamp. I love it.

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

What a great make over! You are really picking up steam now that you are at home again. I can't keep up with all your projects!
Hugs, DebraK

Rosemary said...

OOOh pretty Rhoda!!
I like it. Thanks for the tutorial. Lampshade covering 101.
That is a useful thing. I have always wanted to try that. Now it doesn't seem so scary.

BailiwickDesigns said...

The lamp looks fabulous! I love the fabric.

The Hancocks nearest me recently closed. I'm not sure when - I drove 40 minutes to get there last week and it was gone! The nearest one is now about 100 miles away.

xo Jill

Anonymous said...

Wow, the lamp looks beautiful with its new custom shade!
I love reading your blog and seeing all the lovely things you do.
Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Your lamp looks amazing! I love that fabric!

the feathered nest said...

You are the shade wizard! Love those damasks too and it looks fabulous on the shade. Great makeover!


Lisa said...

Ah, great minds think alike. I'm working on a similar project like this. I love how yours turned out and the fabric is beautiful!

Fun browsing here and I've bookmarked you so I can visit again.

Ruthann said...

Hi Rhoda, wow what a gorgeous lamp for your gorgeous home!!Great job,, love, love the fabric... It looks so professional! Your blog is always a treat for the heart!
Bless you!
Warm Pie, Happy Home

Andi said...

Oh my gosh should be proud of that lamp!!! You did a great's just beautiful. Love the fabric you selected to cover your shade. I've been looking for a little lamp to go on a table in our foyer but haven't come across the right thing yet. I'll keep looking until I do.

Tara said...

I love it! Thanks for the step by step...I'm saying to my non crafty self "Gee, she makes it look so easy!" Love the fabric you chose!

Donna said...

Hi Rhoda,
Your lamp looks fabulous, what a great job you did! Trash to treasure for sure!

The Nester said...

even the bust of that girl had to turn and look at your pretty lamp!

i love the pattern too, it reminds me of your blog wallpaper.

Rachel said...

That's beautiful. I love to redo old lamps and lampshades. Your blog is really cool. Have a great day.

Rhondi said...

Hi Rhoda. That is a great transformation. I love it. Rhondi

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

That is beautiful! Maybe you need to be opening your own store (out of the basement of course)

Jen r. said...

That lamp looks great. I think I have the twin to that lamp sitting n my basement! I might have to follow your lead and drag it out..again, I'm jealous about the junk store....
Jen R

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Yes! That is a stunning looking lamp! I love that it cost so little, yet looks like a million bucks. Great job!

Shirlee said...

The lamp base looks very sturdy and a good candidate for a makeover. The fabric you chose is beautiful, great job on recovering the shade with it.
I love vintage lighting and have a few stashed away until I can use them. When out thrifting, I always check the lighting area out first.

Michelle said...

Rhoda, You did such a nice job on the lamp redo, as always! Don't ya just love that Fabric Tac glue for trims? It has always worked very well for me. Thanks for sharing the pictures - just love seeing all of your projects! Have a wonderful evening!


Jen said...

Rhoda, Your lamp is so beautiful! The material is fabulous. You are such an inspiration and I love following your latest creative adventures. My hubby and I used your painting techinique from one of your posts a while back to do our light in the kitchen. I'll try to share our results later.

Tracie said...

What a great lamp - now!

I'm going to have to get some of the 3M spray for my projects.

I saw you posted a comment on Lidy's blog so I just had to stop in and take a look. Your name is what hooked me - it's a family name and I don't hear it often. Very nice, indeed!


Alice said...

You do inspire me, Rhoda! I'm looking closer at things, even around my own house. I love that you tell us exactly how you've done your projects so that we could use your ideas too.

BittersweetPunkin said...

Thanks for the tutorial...the lamp looks did a great job and I am very inspired!

Nunnie's Attic said...

It's gorgeous Rhoda! And I expected nothing less from you. You certainly have the eye for detail and reincarnation. Missed you!!


Andrea said...

The lamp looks lovely. How could it not with that beautiful fabric. And on sale!!!!!

Meredith from Merchant Ships said...

Fellow lamp lover here--and I adore the way yours looks now!

Angela said...

Absolutely brilliant!!! :-). I have a few shades that I need to give a makeover to. They are fine, I just want another look to them. I'm going to have to give this a whirl and let you know the outcome:-).
Thanks for sharing..
Have a wonderful day!!!

Adrienne said...

Fabulous lamp! You did a great job on the shade remodel. The fabric is perfect. Thanks for sharing it with us. ~Adrienne~

Kay said...

What a great idea and your detailed instructions answer so many of my questions about how to update lamp shades! You are so creative! Decorating question: can you add the black/cream theme to any color scheme ?

Julie said...

What an amazing difference!!! Thank you for posting the exact directions too.

Teacats said...

Wonderful project!! Simply inspiring -- and a great addition to your hall table -- even the bust of the pretty lady seems to be smiling at the new lamp!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

becky said...

Love your style...amazing, as always!

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Wow, great job! You are one heck of a talented lady Rhoda.



Classic Charm said...

WOW, that lamp is amazing. I was starting to doubt you when I saw your $2 shade...but boy was I wrong. Wonderful job, I love it!

Esther Sunday said...

Just perfect!!! Rhoda - awesome job - it looks perfect in that spot! Yes, thanks for the inspiration! Love, Esther

Deborah said...

Good job!

I'm having a giveaway - I hope you will come over and check it out.

Raised In Cotton said...

Love, Love this!!!! I used to make lamp shades back in the 80's, you have inspired me to try my hand at it again.

restyled home said...

Love this!! You've got me thinking that I need to take a trip to our local vintage shop...

Terri and Bob said...

Rhoda, you should be proud. That lamp is adorable! So elegant!

For your magazine dilemma, each month when my mags come in, I look at each one and then go back and cut out the inspiration pieces I find. I throw away the remaining magazine. I keep a pretty box by the sofa and all the articles go into the box. Once a month I go through the box and eliminate more... if necessary. Then I put them in tear files I have created. Once a season I go through my tear files and eliminate articles, if I want to eliminate any!

Hope this helps!

willzmom said...

I love the new look! That fabric is wonderful. Remember all the years of flocked wallpaper? When I was a kid I loved to run my fingers lightly down the wall and feel the paper!

Elaine L. said...

Very impressive!


justabeachkat said...

Great job Rhoda! It really looks wonderful.


Julie said...

Rhonda, That is the cutest lamp. Boy have you given me some ideas. I'm gonna have to bookmark this blog.

I also could relate to the magazine post. I have this box with recipes I've clipped out of Southern Living.
I wonder if I will ever cook any of them. : )

I loved the Chicken/Artichoke/Sundried tomatoes recipe. I'm gonna have to try that one. I make a Chicken/Artichoke in Alfredo Sauce that I made up.
It would be nice to try something different.

I am a Georgia woman. I live in Ellijay (North GA mountains)...although Tennessee blood runs in my veins.

I am new to blogging and love meeting new people.

It's nice to find you. I can't remember how I found you, I just found you.

Have a blessed day,

Thrifty Miss Priss said...

Oh my gosh! This looks fantastic! You make it sound so easy! I will have to try this soon! Also great job on getting up on that ladder to hang the light in the foyer! You are brave!

Dana's Design Studio & Wholesale Furnishings said...

Hi Rhonda,

How nice of you to visit my blog. Thank you for your comment. The great thing about being on Delightful Blogs is I get to meet others like you. I especially love this post. What a dramatic redo of an old lamp. I would like to share this on my blog if it OK with you.

You have so much on your blog...I will take more time to review it and also your links. Thanks again, Dana

Dana's Design Studio & Wholesale Furnishings said...

Hi Rhonda,

How nice of you to visit my blog. Thank you for your comment. The great thing about being on Delightful Blogs is I get to meet others like you. I especially love this post. What a dramatic redo of an old lamp. I would like to share this on my blog if it OK with you.

You have so much on your blog...I will take more time to review it and also your links. Thanks again, Dana

Alyssa said...

can you come decorate my house? Yours is fabulous!

GardenGoose said...

o.k. you can come decorate for me anytime.:0) love, love, love that fabric choice for the shade..what a world of difference it made for the lamp.

Anonymous said...

wow! That was great!

There's a red glass lamp i've been eyeing at the thrift store. I may just have to see if I can have as much luck as you at the re-do!

Liz said...

That lamp is a stunner! And I pass over old lamps all the time... thanks for the new-found inspiration!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Oh my gosh -- I *just* got a new shade for an old 1970s table lamp. The old shade looks so much like the one you have here...I am so glad I didn't throw it away!! I think I'm going to give recovering it a try...could be a little more fun looking than the plain white shade.

I'm so glad I found you through the Restyled Home challange. It was so much fun to "play along!"

:-) Laura

Joy Zaczyk said...

Rhoda, that lamp is stunning! Wonderful and creative idea!


niartist said...

I'm so excited about your lamp, and the creativity and final product! It's stunning, and it looks absolutely perfect on that hall table. I certainly hope you won't mind my using it on the blog, and entering you for the book?

Jill said...

Rhoda I love this lamp! I stopped by after seeing Artie's post!! I can't believe how you changed this lamp to look so GREAT!

mrsben said...

I saw your gorgeous lamp over at Artie's so thought I'd pop in and get the scoop. Good Luck on his draw by the way.

(Just recently I read an article that the inside of a lampshade was painted in gold to finish it off (for viewing the inside of it above eye level).
Unfortunately I can't recall the type of paint or application used, but apparently it also casted a marvelous glow. If you are interested,and I shud come across it again I'll be happy to post a comment on the info.)

Thanks for sharing your creativity.