Burlap Covered Lamp Shade Tutorial

I’m definitely in full-on nesting mode now and have been tackling all sorts of home improvement projects. I have been working on bringing more texture into our home lately.  While I love bright, fresh fabrics for little girls clothing, I much prefer a warm, earthy palette for my home decor.

I love looking through the Potterybarn and Ballard Designs catelogues for ideas and inspiration.  Both of these stores are a little out of my budget these days, but I think they do such a wonderful job of putting rooms together with color, texture and natural elements.

 image via Ballard Designs

I have been eying these burlap covered lamp shades in the Ballard Designs catelogue lately, but at $35 – $50 per shade, I just can’t justify the splurge.  So what is a girl to do?  How about a DIY version for only $1.50 per shade?  Now, that’s more like it!

 Burlap Covered Lamp Shade Tutorial
1 solid color lamp shade (any size)
1-2 yards burlap (more yardage for bigger shades)
Spray adhesive
Heat n’ Bond
Glue gun

Clothes pins


Grab your lamp shade.  This was an IKEA shade that I’ve had for quite some time.  I covered two of these and one much larger shade.  I like the shape of this shade, but I never loved the fact that the light looked so white coming through it.  I knew the burlap would help fix that problem and warm it right up.

Make sure you choose a solid color shade.  Any patterns will show through the burlap and the shade will lose it’s earthy look.

I purchased my burlap at my local Joann’s.  It was $3.99 per yard, but I had a 50% off coupon, plus an additional 25% off coupon – got love coupons for fabric!

Turn your lamp shade on its side and trace it (by rolling it along your burlap).  Leave an inch or two allowance on the top and bottom.  It’s hard to see my markings in the picture above, but I just used a pink highlighter.

Cut out your pattern.  Most angled shades will look like the shape above.  If you are using a drum shade (meaning round), you will have a less curved pattern.

Spray your entire lamp shade with spray adhesive.  Do this outside since the fumes can be a little overwhelming.  You can find spray adhesive in most craft stores and hardware stores.  Wrap your burlap around the shade, smoothing all the bumps as you go.

Cut off any excess burlap from the top and the bottom of the shade.  The burlap should not extend past the top or bottom of the shade.

Now to make the finished edge or binding.  Measure around the top and the bottom of the shade.  You will want a long enough length of burlap to cover these two measurements plus and extra inch or so.  Cut the burlap 2 inches wide.  Grab your Heat n Bond for the next step.

Iron the Heat n Bond (paper side up) down the middle of your long burlap strip.  Once it has cooled remove the paper backing.

Next you will fold in both sides and press.  This will secure the two raw edges of the burlap.  Do this all the way down the entire strip.

Heat up your glue gun.  Turn the outside raw edge of the burlap under and glue in place down the back of the shade.

Take the binding and hot glue it to the top and bottom of the shade.  This will hide any raw edges.  Trim any excess burlap that might be poking above or below the binding.

I used clothes pins to hold the binding in place.  Because of the angled shape of this shade I really had to work to get the binding to lay flat since I did not cut it on the bias.  This step will be a lot easier with a round drum shade.  The clothes pins really helped me here, so I highly recommend using them during this step.  Once the glue has cooled, remove clothes pins.

When your lamp shade is complete, place it on your lamp base and enjoy this beautiful, natural look!  This lamp base is also one I have had for many years from IKEA.

I considered using bias tape for binding the top and the bottom of the lamp shade.  You certainly could give that a try if you want to skip the step of making your own burlap binding.  I think brown, cream or natural would look really nice.  Or if you are feeling a little wild try blue, green or red.

Here’s the extra-large shade that I covered for the lamp in our playroom.  This shade was a hand-me-down and had a little hole in it that drove me nuts.  But the size was so wonderful, that I couldn’t bare to part with it.  With the burlap on the shade, you would never know it ever had a hole.

Three lamp shades for a total of $4.00 – sure beats three shades for $105 – $150, don’t you think?  Granted they would be a little more if you don’t have all the supplies (I only had to buy the burlap), but still, I think it was well-worth taking the time for a little DIY!

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  1. This is lovely! Burlap is the perfect medium to work with, since it lets all of that light shine through!

  2. I am such a fan of burlap, this cheap textile came be turned into so many wonderful things. Great lamp shade!

  3. Looks fantastic! Love the way everything turned out!


  4. Love this! I featured it today on Today’s Top 20!


  5. What a great tutorial! Thank you. I did find a couple of shades at Target that were reasonably priced but I’ve got several at home that need an update and they are the same shape as yours. I’m so excited to try this.

    Wonderful photos and instructions.

    Have a great day,


  6. A good way to do this is to measure your current shade and eye for yourself if it needs one or two more inches.