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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lamp Shade Adventure - Part 1

We have had this lamp on the nightstand in our bedroom forever. Old lamp shade
It doesn’t look too bad in this photo with the light on, but here’s what it looked like with the light off. The shade was plastic and over the years it had yellowed and cracked. I don’t know exactly where the pieces went or when they broke off, (A few broke off the last time we moved – 11 years ago! – but I don’t think it looked THIS bad after the move.) but I finally got fed up with this lamp shade. I had thought about buying another one a while back, but it wasn’t a high enough priority to actually do it. And now I am much more into recycling and upcycling, so I decided to make a new lamp shade a couple weeks ago. Old lamp shadeOld lamp shade - closeup
The shade was made of two layers, a flat layer and the pleated outer layer. It would have been nice if it were some material I could remove in one piece and use as a pattern for the new shade, but that was not the case. The first thing I did was remove the pleated part so I would have a flat shade and could draw a pattern. Taking off the crinkled layer
Some pieces came off pretty easily, but others were pretty solidly glued to the under layer so when I removed the pleats, the bottom layer broke into pieces also. Here’s all I had left when I had the pleated layer removed. Crinkled layer removed
Next I drew a pattern on newsprint . I carefully rolled the shade along the paper and drew a line along the top and bottom to create a pattern. This was not terribly easy since there was not much left of the shade.Drawing a pattern
Here is the pattern I ended up with. Finished pattern
I wrapped the pattern around what was left of my old shade to see if it looked like it would fit. From what I could tell, I thought my pattern would be just fine. Holding pattern up to shade
After removing all the old plastic from my shade, here is all I had left! I now was getting closer to realizing exactly what I had gotten myself into! What was left of lamp shade
Come back tomorrow for the end of my story…


  1. Wow! what a great idea! I always thought that this would be super difficult!

  2. I have two lampshades from lamps that I bought in 1972. The shades looked exactly like yours. Pieces had broken off over the years. I found your site looking to see how much trouble it would be to recycle them. Oh boy! Looks like quite a projects.