Yard Sale Lamp Makeover

An alternate title for this post could've been "Angles Smile When Your Born" and Other Yard Sale Finds, but I was cringing too much to write those errors in the title. However, it would have accurately captured the $1 print that someone was trying to sell at their yard sale. It had been purchased, not homemade, and I spent a good part of the 5 minutes after spotting it trying to figure out A) why anyone would buy it and B) how it could ever have been sold in the first place.

Anyway, I went yard sale-ing with my mom and dad last Friday and while I was selective with my purchases, (I certainly didn't buy that print, though if it had been free I would've taken it just for laughter's sake) I did buy this lamp for $2.

It was the shade that got me. I just can't resist faux silk fringe.

I had all of the makeover materials on hand, so I decided not to just stuff it in my craft room like I do with so many other items and, instead, actually do something with it. It was super easy and took probably 30 minutes total.

1. Gather makeover materials. Twizzlers are optional for everyone but me.

2. Spray paint the lamp base so it can dry while you redo the shade. No picture required. Plus I didn't take one.

3. Follow the instructions on your Self-Adhesive Shade for Dummies Smart People Who Value Their Time.

You first peel off the outer cover on the shade and use that as a pattern for cutting your fabric. (Genius. I want to be the person who invented this.) I cut mine about 1" larger than the pattern, and I'm glad I did, because I had a hard time wrapping it around evenly.

Then, you simply wrap the fabric around the shade, and it adheres. All by itself. (I should note that the shade also adheres to everything else, like your rug, your shorts, and your cats. So remove all felines before proceeding. Please leave your clothes on, however.) The instructions suggest lining the top and bottom with ribbon, but I wasn't feeling it, so I just folded over the excess fabric on the top and bottom and hot glued it in place.

And ta-da: a new lamp. Total cost: less than $7. The fabric is gray denim that I got for $1/yard months ago at Joann's (but I only used about 1/4 of the yard), the spray paint was some we had on hand, the shade cost $4 at Joann's with a coupon, and the lamp itself was $2.

I don't know where its permanent home is going to be, but it's neutral enough to squeeze in just about anywhere. Sort of like my new fringy hat. I could wear this anywhere, too.

Yeah. Should I care that the Internet now forever has a picture of me wearing a skanky painting outfit with a lampshade on my head that I took with a self-timer because nobody else is here and I am just that cool? At least the lampshade conceals the fact that it is 3:30pm and I haven't yet brushed my hair. I just hope nobody uses this photo in an argument about "Why teachers shouldn't have 2 months off with nothing to do" or an essay about "How to not make your knees look like belly buttons when attempting a modeling career."

Hope your Tuesday is full of reasons to smile and be thankful: I know mine is; this 2 month vacation being one of them! :)

The Lettered Cottage


  1. AH! How AWESOME is this?! Totally awesome. I love that the lamp still has a 60s vibe, but is now much, much cooler.

  2. I bought a lamp for $2 at a yard sale and revamped it too. :)

    Check it out here: http://ogoslovenest.blogspot.com/2011/07/let-there-be-light.html

    I love the self-adhesive shade though! You just reminded me that I was suppose to add fabric to mine so that'll be my next project (hopefully!). Thanks for sharing!

  3. Awesome score! Where do you find this fancy self-adhesive designer shade? I may need them in the future!!

    I'm totally kicking myself for not being a teacher. Nate told me that I would just squander my 2 months off...and I told him that every second of squandering would be beautiful!! Enjoy them while you can!!

  4. Yes where does this magical self-adhesive shade come from? I have never heard of them!

    You're amazing. This lamp is epic.

  5. Thanks ladies :) The magical shade is from Joann Fabrics--it was originally $10 but they were 50% off and I had one of those "take an extra 15% off" coupon deals, so it came to about $4. Which is about the cheapest drum shade I've ever seen...and so easy to use! (I think they had some other shapes and sizes, too.)

  6. All right, you've inspired me to find a lamp the next time I garage sale. I have 2 rooms that have needed new lamps for almost a year now but I don't want to spend the $100 on a new lamp! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  7. I'm completely amazed by this self adhesive shade too! I bought regular shades and used spray adhesive to cover them before, but this looks so much easier! Dare I say, life changing? I was so close to buying a set of lamps at an estate sale this weekend, but I have absolutely no use for them. Way to save a lamp, it looks so good!

  8. You look like that lamp from "A Christmas Story", and as corny and cheesy as this sounds......you light up my life...and our house :-)

  9. Make sure to leave some overhang around the template. I did the same makeover to a thriftstore lamp, but didn't leave enough allowance and have to cover the edges.

    For you iPhone users, make sure that you get the Jo-Ann app. It has great coupons. You can use more than one at once!

  10. Awesome makeover! It looks soooooo much better. Where did you get the Self Adhesive Shade for Dummies?

  11. I'm totally going to have to go buy one of those awesome shads from Joanne's! The lamp turned out fantastic!!!

  12. Totally disappointed to not find a snapshot of the "Angles" plaque...

    Love those self-adhesive shades -- I use them to display embroidered pieces that coordinate with room decor.

    Your lamp make-over looks marvelous. Grey denim rocks it!

  13. Amazing makeover. I don't think that even in my most alert garage sale moments would I have seen the potential beauty in that. I feel like you are taunting your readers to actually do a post about the craziest photos they've seen all week. I might have to take you up on this:)

  14. I don't think I need to spell it out but I didn't mean the lamp;)

  15. Rachel8/10/2011

    Angles smile when little Grils are born :-p

  16. I was at Lowe's today looking at lampshades...I had a $19 one in my hand...then remembered your blog post and put it back!

  17. I love a good lamp makeover, and this one is fantastic, great job! LOVE your new hat! ;)

  18. Great job!

    I'd love for you to share it on my link party...hope to see you there!

  19. Awesome shade, I'm heading to Joann's next week now!! And I love the pic of you and the faux silk fringe shade, I think it's lovely and you should wear it on the first day back at school ;)

  20. Anonymous8/13/2011

    What a dramatic change!

  21. Wow it looks so chic and sophisticated! Love it! And yes, stripping our dresser was hard work, I'm glad I only had to do the drawers. :)

  22. Love this so much I'm going to feature it (with a link to you, of course) in my next post!


  23. Fabulous! It's possible to make a drum lampshade from scratch buying all the materials separately, but this looks way more straight-forward.


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