Vintage Lampshade DIY (no cost!)

I love DIY projects, it’s a great use of time, resources and if planned correctly, budget; but let’s be real they aren’t always successful. There are many times when my love for pinterest and my overachieving self do not find harmony. And there is comfort in numbers because I know, I am not the only one. There are pins all over the place about pinterest projects gone wrong, which makes it even better when it goes really, really right.

Introducing my boring-to-chic lampshade upgrade. We have a boring stand up lamp in black with a white shade, very plain.


I’d often look at it and think of how bright white the shade was and it just needed to be toned down a bit. The lamp itself I love though. The shelves are  perfect and it works well with our furniture. I’ve seen beautiful vintage lamps but they are $$$$ so what’d I do? I took to pinterest and the world-wide-web and of course I found the how-to DIY version. I was skeptical and hesitant. Is it that simple? And  if so whhhyyy do “they” charge so damn much?? Here’s what we did.

Project Prep:
You could really do any type of stencil design you’d like. For the “paris-chic” shade, I went online and typed “paris script” into google. Then looked at the images. I also looked up “vintage postage stamps” and “french text.” To personalize it I took the lyrics to the song Brent and I danced to at our wedding and translated them from english to french and then copy and pasted them into word and change the text to a preferred script. Print out your selections, grab a sharpie and you are ready to go!

Here’s what you need:

  • Plain Lamp Shade
  • Sharpie (I used a fine tip and a regular but either will do)
  • Tape
  • Internet, Printer & Paper
  • Tea Bags & Water (optional)


(Optional) Step 1: As I said above this shade was bright white so I wanted to tone it down. Step 1 for us was boiling 6 chamomile tea bags (it was all I had-any tea will work). Then “painting” the shade with the tea to stain it in the famous antique mode we all learned in third grade.


Step 2:  Take your printouts and tape them inside your lamp shade. Turn them at an angle, straight on, however you would like to see it. Maybe move them around a bit. Then reattach your lampshade to the stand, with a bulb. Turn it on to get an idea of how the design could look (sorry no pic but you get the jist.)

Step 3: Get comfy, grab some wine and begin tracing. As I started this I was a little overwhelmed. There was a lot of text to trace and I realized it could take me a while, but it really didn’t. The fine text was the easiest to do and came out the most beautiful.

1379161483281         2013-09-13_23-59-31_652


Overall this project only took about two hours but I broke it up into a day and a night project. The girls helped me with the staining and then I did the stencil in the evening when I needed some art and wine therapy. I’m so pleased with how it came out and cannot believe how easy it was to do and it didn’t cost me anything. I often say that time is money but this was a great use of my time and around the house resources.

Needless to say pinterest projects don’t always turnout but I have found they are always worth trying.



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