DIY Projects

August 21, 2015

DIY: Painted Lampshade

Stacey Smithers shares how to update a basic lampshade with watercolors.


Now that it’s summer, I’ve seen lots of painted lampshades lately, and am in love with their juxtaposition of soft, hand-drawn shapes with bright colors. I had some watercolors in a cupboard and realized how easy and inexpensive it would be to make my own. Here’s how I did it in four simple steps.


 You’ll need: lampshade, watercolors, paintbrushes, and a sponge or a cloth.


Step 1: Choose Shade, Palette and Motif

Pick an inexpensive fabric lampshade or use one you already have. (Mine is from Ikea made of polyester.) Inspired by the idea of an abstract sunset, I chose pale yellow, medium grey and hot pink for my design, which works well with the clear glass base, and lets the lampshade and poster stand out. Feel free to use any colors you like that coordinate well with your room or the base. Warm colors will give a nice glow when the lamp is switched on.

Step 2: Test Paints

Mix up your watercolors and test them on a spare sheet of paper
to ensure they look good together and provide the color intensity you want.

Step 3: Wipe Down Lampshade and Paint

Dampen a sponge or cloth and wipe the lampshade so the surface is wet. This will make the paint bleed a little, so you’ll get a dreamy, blurred effect. I started by painting the yellow background with a foam brush. Then, I put a grey stripe around the bottom with a regular brush for the horizon, and finished with a loose pink circle to mimic the sun. Don’t worry if the shapes are uneven — it’s a hand-painted project, after all.

Step 4: Touch Up Light Areas

Once the lampshade has dried, you may notice
that the color has lightened in certain spots.
 Go over it with the watercolors until you have the effect you want. Let it dry a few minutes and enjoy.

Author: Stacey Smithers

Donna Griffith


House & Home May 2015


Stacey Smithers