Decoupage a Vintage Lampshade

This post was originally posted March 27 on Go check it out for some more fun decoupage projects.

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.How to decorate a lampshade with vintage graphics

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 (we used matte finish)
  • 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 the Seattle Lighting Outlet store for $5, which made us pretty happy.


We 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.


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


And the stylish dresses:


And 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!



StripedLampshade_Lit2To see more of Heidi’s artwork, visit her at Old Stuff. New Stories.


2 thoughts on “Decoupage a Vintage Lampshade

  1. CAN YOU HEAR ME SHRIEKING WITH EXCITEMENT FROM HERE? I love this – would never ever have thought of it myself, and here I am thinking I’m a junk revamping genius. Will send you pics of my own efforts…..:-)

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