Tiny Lamp Makeover & Pleated Shade DIY

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comHow was everyone’s weekend? We made some serious progress on the camper– I’ll work on an updated blog post for you later this week… it will probably be the last one before it’s totally finished (exciting!). Today I have a quick & easy project to share with you. Last week I shared a big roundup of my favorite sphere based table lamps, and as promised- I ordered the least expensive option from the roundup to see how it looks in person. I’m actually pretty impressed! The small scale is nice, the shape is great, it comes in multiple colors, and it can easily be modified for a more customized look. I ordered the white color thinking I’d cut the cord out, add a puck light, and style it in our camper… it’s actually pretty perfect for that since it’s super lightweight. I gave the shade a little update, which is what I wanted to show you today. I’ve been seeing so many gorgeous pleated shades in my feed the past couple of years and have been wanting to take a stab at one myself. This felt like the perfect inexpensive fixture to try it on. I’m very pleased with how it turned out! Click through for all the details… 

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comFirst, I’ll say this- I was actually a little nervous to try pleating a shade because I’ve heard some horror stories about DIY pleated shades gone wrong and this particular project taking 6+ hours. I don’t have a lot of free time, so I definitely wanted to keep this under an hour. I also didn’t want to waste my money on something that couldn’t potentially look like crap. I’m happy to report, it was a quick (it took me about 30 minutes total), easy, and really fun project. I’m very pleased with how it turned out- I feel like it made this cheap little lamp look pretty special and higher end.

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comRather than sharing a full-blown tutorial, I’m going to link my friend Marynn’s detailed DIY- check it out here. She did an excellent job explaining the progress with close-up photos. I’ll share the progression of mine below, as well as some tricks & tips I picked up, but I’m telling you- it’s tough to mess this up. No sewing required! I just used what I had on hand:

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comThe fabric I landed on is 100% cotton with a taupe colored floral / botanical pattern. It’s reads pretty neutral and will be great in our camper.

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comI’d definitely suggest using an organic pattern like this- it’s more forgiving for your first try. I bought a yard of this fabric for $5, but in reality- I probably needed less than half a yard.

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comI cut my fabric to size (7″)… leaving an inch or two on either end for extra (just in case). I started by glueing the fabric onto the backside (the seam) of the lampshade.

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comPleating was the easy and fun part. Dab hot glue on the top and bottom, fold the pleat, press it into the glue to secure, then repeat. This part actually went pretty quick.

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comNext, I cut the excess fabric. Trim it as close to the shade as possible, in a clean straight line. I actually had to make a couple passes to get it cut completely down.

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comThis is the part I experimented with. Marynn suggested glueing the hem tape finishing fabric straight to the shade instead of straddling the edge and folding it over. My friend Alisa also said she had bad luck with that method. I just didn’t love seeing the unfinished raw edge, so I figured I’d do both. First, I straddled the fabric and glued it down the best I could. That’s what it looks like above. Not the straightest, but not terrible. It’s tricky to bend fabric in a circle.

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comNext, I glued another flat piece over top of the straddled fabric. That felt more finished to me… you can’t see the raw pleated edge from above (it is a table lamp, after all!), and it still gives a nice tailored look.

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comI repeated that same process on the bottom side of the shade to complete the look. Didn’t it turn out so lovely? The lamp and the pleated shade together cost me less than $20, and took about 30 minutes of m time. I feel like it looks more expensive than that!

Tiny Lamp Makeover (Pleated Shade DIY) - roomfortuesday.comThis is definitely a DIY project I’d tackle again… especially given the cost of pleated shades. These things are usually well over $100, and you can’t beat the price of that sweet little lamp ($13). I know pleated shades aren’t for everyone, as they definitely skew very traditional, but I think it’s fun to sprinkle one or two around the house for added pattern, color, or texture. What do you think? Here’s to a productive week ahead!

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  1. Leslie Wood says:

    I love it! I also love that it didn’t take much time and came out looking so good. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Leslie! It was a fun little project… I’ll definitely do this again in the future. Hope you’re having a great day!

  2. Good morning! So stinkin’ cute! (and the lampshade is sweet too.😉) I love, love, love all of the colorful pleated shades around, but the prices are a definite “No” for me. I actually DIYed one myself on a whim a couple of years ago. Except for the requisite hot glue burns, I also found the project easy and fun. I used a vintage pillow case for fabric, and it was just right for a 10″ shade. I like the crispness of the trim on yours. I glued my fabric inside the rim, so I added trim there to hide my messy edges. I ironed (carefully!) the finished pleats, so they lay flat. Aren’t small, adorable projects the best?! That little boost of creative satisfaction really motivates me. Now you’ve got me searching my house for something to craft! Ha. Here’s to a lovely, inspired week! Have a beautiful day, Sarah!

    1. Thanks, Peggi! I love hearing that you also DIYed one. It was honestly such a fun little project- actually enjoyable. Ha! My hot glue gun is ancient, so luckily it doesn’t get hot enough to ever burn me. Smart idea to use vintage pillow case fabric! Also a great tip to iron the pleats. Hope your week is off to a fabulous start! xo

  3. Good morning! Such a fun diy- I remember my mom doing all sorts of fun lamp shade projects when I was a kid. This one looks very simple to do; bonus that it didn’t take you a lot of time. I adore the pleated lamp shades I’ve seen, but haven’t wanted to spend that kind of money on one. This may be a chance to liven up some shades on my own. We have a matching set of lamps I thrifted in the bedroom, and while the shades are close enough that Jeff doesn’t notice, they aren’t matching. I think I may just head to the fabric store today and see if I can find some fabric I love! Thanks for sharing the tutorial Sarah! This is going to look great in the camper. You have made so much progress with it, and it’s really starting to come together! Cheers to a fun week ahead. Xo

    1. Really? That’s so fun! I honestly really enjoyed this quick little project. I think it’s going to be cute in the camper. I bet Brooke would have fun helping you make some new lampshades for your bedroom :) Have a great week!! xo

  4. What a great looking pleated shade you created! I love the fabric and the size for that lamp. Will be pin’ing on Pinterest for future reference. Do you think a large lamp would be harder to work the fabric in a circle or easier? Curious!
    Hope your Monday is going well. We are recovering from lots of celebrating with food, drinks and staying up late. I made my husband his favorite lemon pie. Thankfully, I do not care for it. Looking forward to more reels of the RV. Hugs!

    1. Thank you, Danna! It was such a fun project. I really enjoyed this one and am super happy with how it came together. I feel like a large lamp would be pretty similar, in terms of difficulty. It would obviously take a bit longer. I loved reading about your weekend- what a fun time with the family celebrating Father’s Day! Lemon pie sounds delicious! Hope you’re having a wonderful Monday. xox

  5. A hint for the strips on the top and bottom of the lamp shade. Cut the fabric strips on the diagonal (the bias). The simple directional cut allows the fabric to stretch.

    1. Oooh! Thank you so much for sharing, Nancy! That’s an awesome idea / tip :)