How to add decoupage to a lampshade

Lampshades, especially light coloured ones can become very scruffy and sad. Instead of consigning them to the rubbish, why not breathe new life and colour into them by upcycling them using decoupage? It’s really easy and takes very little time. It’s also a great way to use up old magazines and comic books too. Here’s how – or check out our video

You’ll need

  • materials for decoupage
  • Small brush to apply the glue and paper
  • Varnish – either matt or shiny
  • Brush for applying varnish
  • Selection of images – use magazines, colour supplements, wrapping paper
  • Scissors
  • Small bowl or dish to mix and use the glue – an old plastic takeaway carton is great

Step 1 – cut out your images

Cut out your decoupage pieces. You can do what I did here and choose a random multi-coloured collection of images, or group by colour – or even do a themed one as Hilary did with The Beano comics and with Marvel comics here

Step 2 – preparation

Mixing glueGet all your materials together. Make sure the surface of the lampshade is clean and dry – remove any bits of lint or dust on it. Put a good dollop of the glue in your mixing tray and add a bit of water to thin it out and make it easier to apply.
When I work on flat surfaces I like to plan out exactly how the design and pieces will build up but for the lampshade I decided to take a more random “by eye” approach as being a conical shape it was hard to work out the design in advance.

Step 3 – build up your decoupage design

Applying decoupage to a lampshadeFirst of all apply some of the glue mix to a small area of the shade – a bit bigger than the size of the first image you’re going to add. Glue the back of the paper piece and using the brush paste it onto the shade, carefully brushing out any air bubbles or creases. Continue in this way, glueing the shade and then adding the pieces. Work around the shade from top to bottom. Try to get a good mix of sizes, shapes, colours and images. Make sure you don’t leave any gaps. Once you’re done give it a look over to make sure you haven’t missed any bits – it’s very easy to just add another piece.

Step 4 – Dry then varnish

decoupage lampshade
Using your chosen varnish give the whole area  a coat once the glue has dried. Allow the varnish to dry and apply another coat. This will make sure it doesn’t scuff at the edges or where the pieces overlap.
And that’s it. Stick your new lampshade on your lamp and enjoy.
Watch the video

There are 3 Comments

  • Suzy Q

    was wondering if the print on the reverse of the magazine pictures shows through when the light is swithced on? If so,how would I overcome this?

    • Clare Flynn

      Mine does show the print – but I quite like the effect – if you want to avoid it you could do a layer of plain paper pieces first – or use wrapping pare pieces or wallpaper rather than magazines.

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