How to Paint a Lampshade

We've received a number of questions from fans asking how to customize plain, old lampshades. So we put our heads together and came up with some crafty ways to turn simple shades into something special!


A lampshade that perfectly matches a wall colour can be very chic. Here's the easiest and most effective way to paint a lampshade.

Matchy Lampshade

latex paint
foam brush

  1. Paint shade with two coats of gesso and allow to dry thoroughly. (Note: Gesso is a primer used mostly by artists. Traditionally it is applied to canvas to make it stiffer. It also gives the surface a little more tooth to help paint adhere.)
  2. Using a low-grit sandpaper, sand any lumps and bumps out of lampshade.
  3. Apply paint colour (the same that was used on your walls) to shade. We prefer latex paint and a foam brush, but spray paint will also work, you simply have to mask the inside of your shade.
  4. Let dry completely before hanging shade.

Cityscape Shade

This project adds a fun twist to a painted shade and would be especially cute in a child's bedroom.

Matchy Lampshade

latex paint
foam brush
spray adhesive
X-acto knife
Mod Podge

  1. Paint shade as per instructions above and allow enough time for paint to dry completely.
  2. Carefully cut out our cityscape template. You may need to print a few copies in order to wrap shade's entire circumference.
  3. Using a small amount of spray adhesive, adhere cityscape to bottom edge of lampshade.
  4. Mod Podge entire shade to secure paper in place. Be sure to use a matte finish in order to keep the look clean and consistent.

Blank to Barcode

This appears to be a simple white shade when the lamp is off, but once it's turned on, the shadows inside create a subtle bar code effect. Very cool.

Matchy Lampshade

varying widths of white tape
utility knife

  1. Adhere vertical strips of tape along inside of shade, alternating widths, until entire interior circumference is covered.
  2. Use a utility knife to carefully cut off excess tape.


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