I recently gave our master bedroom a little refresh with new painted white walls and a bedding makeover, but knew the room was still missing something. I also had been wanting some new black lamp shades for our bedroom lamps, but just didn’t want to spend any more money on this room right now! So I decided to do some research on painting the lamp shades myself….. and let’s just say that I learned a lot – LOL! After painting 2 sets of lamp shades, I figured out a system that actually works. And I also can let you know what does NOT work! Let’s get to it! Painting Lamp Shades Black: Do’s and Don’ts.
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Painting Lamp Shades Black: Do’s and Don’ts
These are the supplies I used to paint 2 fabric lamp shades (14″top x 10″H x 15″bottom – tapered).
- lamp shade (s)
- 2 paint brushes
- black acrylic paint 8oz. (or here)
- fabric painting medium 8oz.
- measuring cup
- stir stick
- painting tray or bowl
- painter’s tape
- brown grocery bag
- paper towels
- plastic/canvas floor covering
- wooden blocks
- dust rag
I found my acrylic paint and fabric painting medium at Hobby Lobby, but you can also get them at Michael’s, Joann, Wal-Mart, or Amazon. (The other items I had on hand).
- black acrylic paint = $2.09
- fabric painting medium = $4.89
For less than $10.00 you can paint 2 lamp shades. Yes, please!
Here is the link for the 2 black lamp shades that I was going to buy (in case you decide that painting them is not something you want to tackle).
Painting Lamp Shades Black: Do’s and Don’ts
Paint Type Choices/Methods:
Through my research, I learned that there are several different paint choices/methods when painting fabric lamp shades:
- acrylic paint
- spray paint – oil based
- chalk paint
- latex paint
- *spray paint – fabric/upholstery
- *acrylic paint + fabric medium
*Now that I understand a little more about how fabric absorbs paint, I will also try the upholstery/fabric spray paint on my next lamp shade (coming soon).
That way I will be able to compare the upholstery/fabric spray paint method to my acrylic paint/fabric medium brush-on method.
(To see the differences in how they each actually adhere to the fabric).
As for the others, I will have to do some more research.
What is Fabric Painting Medium and what does it do?
Fabric painting medium is a white, opaque-colored liquid that is added to acrylic paint so that it helps bond the paint to the fabric.
- It helps acrylic paint – turn into fabric paint.
This way you could wash it (for clothing) without the paint chipping, peeling, cracking, or falling off.
Why Did I use Fabric Painting Medium on our Lamp Shades?
I used the fabric painting medium to help even out the acrylic paint (so that it doesn’t leave streaks or blotchy spots), and it gives the shades a soft appearance (not hard and crunchy like dried paint).
- I could control the paint ratio instead of diluting the paint with water, which causes uneven brush marks.
Think of it as adding primer to paint. It just helps it stick better, easier, and more evenly.
FYI (before we begin):
You will see 2 different-colored lamp shades while I explain the steps.
- One set is tan (the do’s), the other is white (don’ts).
You will also see some steps done indoors, and some outdoors.
- This is because I actually painted 4 lamp shades, hence the do’s and don’ts.
Just wanted to clarify so that you do not wonder why the shades and painting areas change.
OK, let’s get to it. Painting Lamp Shades Black: Do’s and Don’ts!
Step #1: Clean Lamp Shades
Wipe off your lamp shade or gently “knock” it with a rag to get dust off.
I would recommend wiping a new or used shade – just to make sure that it has no dust on it.
Step #2: Cover Inside of Lamp Shades
So….. this step is not fun….. and it takes awhile, but very important (see #1 on the Don’ts section – trust me)!!
After all of my mess ups, I found this to be the best system.
- Tape off the top and bottom inside rim portions of your lamp shade.
- Next, take a paper bag and trace the TOP portion, and cut the circle out with some scissors.
- Repeat if doing 2 lamp shades.
TIP: Cut out your circle a little inside of your traced line. It will make securing it easier.
This next part is also a little tricky, but it works.
- Now, just tape your cutout circle to the TOP of your lamp shade.
This is what it will look like underneath the lamp shade. I also taped the circle to the spider fit thing – to keep it secure.
Almost done prepping – hang in there!
- Now you will take some paper towel and secure it to the inside wall of the lamp shade.
- Roll the paper so that it completely covers the entire inside of the wall.
- Finish it off by putting a couple of paper towels over the spider fit thing.
Step #3: Protect & Cover Floor
Put plastic or canvas painter’s cloth down to protect your floor.
I would also recommend using wooden blocks (leftover from another project), paint cans, etc. to lift lamp shades off of your plastic/canvas.
This will get very messy, and you don’t want to splatter any paint or water on something nice.
TIP: If you can, I suggest doing this outside or in your garage (since I learned the hard way).
Step #4: Mix Acrylic Paint + Fabric Medium
Now you will mix your acrylic paint and fabric medium together.
- 2 parts acrylic paint
- 1 part fabric medium
I mixed up 1/2 cup acrylic black paint + 1/4 cup fabric medium because I was painting all 4 shades.
- Mix paint and fabric medium together.
- Stir them both together to make one solid paint.
- It shouldn’t have any of the whitish fabric medium poking through.
(So, I would recommend using 1/4 cup black paint +1/8 cup fabric medium for 2 shades.)
Finally, it’s time to paint your lamp shades!!
Step #5: Paint Lamp shades
This is a 2-part system where you will dampen the lamp shade first with water, then paint it – 3 coats.
- Dampen shades/Paint Shades – Brushing on in Horizontal Strokes
- Dampen shades/Paint Shades – Brushing on in Vertical Strokes
- Dampen shades/Paint Shades – Brushing on in Horizontal Strokes (again)
Dampen shades with water/Paint Shades – Brushing on in Horizontal Strokes:
I recommend putting some water in a plastic cup so that it makes it easier to dip your brush into it.
- You will simply dampen (not soak) your lamp shade with water.
- You can also dip some excess water from your brush onto paper towels or rags.
*Do this for the entire shade before you move on to the painting part.
Now, you will use a second paint brush and brush on your black paint – using horizontal (side-to-side) strokes.
TIP: Make for sure to overlap the brush marks (to help blend the paint better), and don’t forget to do the top and bottom rims as you go along.
Do this for the entire shade.
*** Let dry for about 45 mins.
(I put mine outside in the sun to help speed up the process).
When dry to the touch, you can paint second coat/system.
Dampen shades with water/Paint Shades – Brushing on in Vertical Strokes:
You will dampen the lamp shade again (can use horizontal or vertical strokes for the water).
This is what it will look like with the water brushed on – so don’t freak out – lol!!
Now you will paint the second coat of paint – using the vertical (up and down) strokes.
- This is important so that you cover any missed spots from painting that first coat.
*** Let dry overnight.
Dampen shades with water/Paint Shades – Brushing on in Horizontal Strokes (again):
Then do one more water/paint coat (no picture on this one).
*** Let dry maybe 30-45 minutes or to the touch.
Remove painter’s tape and paper once dry.
WOOHOO!! You are Done!!
Here they are in my bedroom (tan, tapered ones)……. but they won’t be staying here long 😉
Ok, now let me show you what NOT to do!
#1: Don’t Skip Covering Inside of Lamp Shade
#2: Don’t Add Water To Paint
#3: Don’t Use a Roller Brush
AFTER PICS of the DON’TS
So, I was able to SAVE the don’ts (white lamp shades) by doing 6 coats of paint instead of 3 – yikes!
And I was able to cover those ugly roller brush marks!!
But – I had to paint the inside of the shades with primer (to cover the paint splatter), because those were fabric-ish inside and not plastic – double yikes!!
SOOOOO worth it though because I love them, and now I have 2 sets!
Here are the white drum lamp shades.
And since these were the original lamp shades that went with our lamps, I still liked their shape better.
So of course, they were the winners for our master bedroom.
And the tan (tapered shades)….. they’ll have a new home very soon 😉
Where am I going to put the tapered ones ????? Any suggestions??
And….. will you try painting your own lamp shades?
Keep me posted!
Have a Great Weekend Everyone!
Love & Hugs 🙂