How to Paint a Lampshade | Glass, Paper, & Fabric

Suddenly after renovation, you realize that your lamp is not blending well with the new décor. Nor do you have more budget to ship a brand new lamp. Wouldn’t the idea of painting one hit you? But, do you know how to paint a lampshade? That’s exactly what we are here for today.

In this article, we are about to tell you unique, creative, yet simple techniques to paint a lampshade. No matter what material shade you have, glass, paper, or fabric of any kind, you aren’t going anywhere without a handful of awesome tricks today.

So, let’s get straight to the painting.

Types of Lampshades and Appropriate Paint for Them

Product Name

Spray Paint

Acrylic Paint

Chalk Paint

Water Color

Fabric Lampshade

Paper Lampshade

Glass Lampshade

How to Paint a Lampshade

How to Paint a Fabric Lampshade?

Getting fabric lampshades to paint is a really easy task. You can use any type of paint color on it. Fabric paint, acrylic paint, chalk paint, watercolor, and even spray paint get the job done.

That said, you can hands-down to any of the colors you have at your home. Your kiddo’s painting palette may be. Know that fabric is of different kinds ranging from cotton to silk, and each has its own do’s and don’ts. So, we’ll discuss each of these separately.

1. Painting Silk Lampshade

Remember, silk is a royal yet expensive lampshade. Careful handling can only let it stay in decent shape. So, make sure you initiate painting on it with proper care.

  • To paint a plain silk lampshade, plug it off from your lamp base
  • Take a microfiber cloth and clean the lampshade from inside and outside
  • With the help of plastic and masking tape, cover the metal parts cum fittings to save from colors
  • Take some newspaper or spare papers and lay them on the ground
  • After this, take your spray paint out
  • Put the lampshade on the newspaper
  • Keep spray at a distance of 12-14 inches from your lampshade and at least 6-8 inches from your face
  • Start spraying in one direction
  • Cover the entire shade with the color and even the coat
  • Check out if the seams and edges are properly colored
  • Wait 1-2 hours for the lampshade’s drying
  • Put back the shade onto the lamp and screw it appropriately
  • Check out the finishes of color
  • Apply a second coat if the porous surface is visible
  • Tadaaa, this was it!

Remember, you can also apply other paint colors other than paint spray to it. Here we have mentioned the convenient method. Stepping up the game is all in your hands.

2. Painting Linen Lampshade

If you are pissed off with the plain white colored lampshades and want to make them appear vibrant, use fabric paint. Other paints can also work out for it, but linen soaks the fabric paint to the core. Let’s get started on how you can paint linen shade:

  • Switch off the lamp, unscrew the lampshade from the stem
  • Clean it with a lint roller, vacuum cleaner, microfiber cloth, brushes, or anything (Use the dry technique)
  • After cleaning, wrap it around the corners and top of the shade
  • Take a dish or disposable plate or cup to pour in the color
  • Pick the colors you want on the lampshade and add in the paint dish
  • Use a brush to paint the lampshade
  • Make sure the layer is thin to prevent the patch
  • Let it dry for 2-3 hours
  • Coat it a second time for an even and finished look
  • Again keep it on drying for a couple of hours
  • Once dried, plug it back in the lamp base
  • Enjoy your old but not old lampshade!

Remember, latex, acrylic paint, watercolor can also be used in the process. You can always play around with the paints of your choice. This was just a subtle idea of what handpicking is best for this particular material.

3. Painting Cotton Lampshade

With a cotton lampshade, we are stepping a bit more. Here we’ll talk about the stencil method to illuminate more the appearance of your lampshade. Before starting the procedure, make sure you have the size and style of stencil of your choice.

  • Start with unplugging the lampshade
  • Dust off all the particles from the lampshade with any method convenient to you
  • Cover the upper parts of your lampshade
  • Stick the stencil on the lampshade with the tape
  • Start painting the shade against the stencil
  • Use acrylic or any paint you have at the moment
  • Keep in surveillance the edges of the lampshade
  • Remove the stencil carefully in an upright position to avoid spillage
  • Give a couple of hours to your cotton lampshade for drying
  • Watch its beauty and enjoy your hand-painted shade

Remember, you can apply the stencil method on any material’s lampshade, including glass. However, the glass will take a fraction of time for drying. So, don’t worry about that.

How to Paint a Paper Lampshade?

The Sensitiviness of paper lampshades to water and water-based products is no new. Spray paint is that’s why the best and the alone method applicable for it. To begin painting a paper lampshade, follow these steps:

  • Take off your lampshade from the lamp
  • Clean it with a cloth to avoid dust and dirt
  • Spread the newspaper all over the ground or table; you are about to paint on
  • Cover the metal fittings with plastic and tape it
  • Keep the shade on the newspaper
  • To avoid the movement of the globe from the particular place, keep a disposable glass on either side of the shade on the ground
  • Start painting from the top
  • Make sure the paint is even and the coverage is utmost
  • Move your hand in one direction to avoid irregularity in the pattern
  • Once done, set it to drying
  • Watch if it’s dried in a few hours and plug it back
  • Oh yes, feel proud. You’ve done it!

Remember, handle the paper lampshade with care. It is quite delicate and tears off easily.

How to Paint a Glass Lampshade?

Rest assured of one thing that once your glass lampshade will be painted, it will radiate a translucent light. Also, the light coming off will be colored. Take your decision, keeping in mind the after-effects of a glass shade.

Glass lampshades can be painted with acrylic paints, spray paints, or other paints that adhere to the glass. To initiate painting one, clean it with a dry cloth and wash and scrub it with detergent or soap. This way, your painted shade will turn out more attractive, and paint will stay on it for long.

  • Take off the lampshade from the lamp
  • Clean through dry and wet any methods of cleaning
  • Let it dry for a few hours
  • Till then, cover the furniture if you are about to paint inside
  • Also, cover your ground level with cloth or newspaper
  • Keep the washed and dried shade on whatever you have placed on the ground
  • Bring on your spray paint or paint color
  • Initiate painting evenly all around
  • After the entire coverage, get it to dry for 2-3 hours
  • Get the lampshade a second coat for a fine and shine look
  • Again, set it to drying for a few hours
  • Once you see it dried, put it back on the lamp
  • Screw the shade so that it doesn’t fall
  • Enjoy the finest beams your shade’s giving off

Remember, solvent-based paints are also perfect for glass lampshades.

Transforming Lampshade with Classic Colors

For ages, we have been into black and white, and we just want it everywhere. Even in the lampshades, we try our best to have these classic colors. However, if you haven’t found these color shades, here’s a piece of good news for you: You can paint it yourself.

How to Paint a Lampshade Black?

Painting a lampshade black is no tricky task. You can do it with any sort of paint colors, including acrylic paint, chalk paint, and so on. The best way to do that is using spray paint. Not does it gets the job easier but looks better than others. So, let’s look at how you can do that:

  • For painting a lampshade black, lift it off from the base of your lamp
  • Make sure it’s free of dirt and dust by using a microfiber cloth
  • Put gloves on your hand to keep them safe from paint
  • Take your lampshade outdoors. This will keep you from suffocation and inside of the home spray-free
  • Afterward, spread a few newspapers on the floor
  • Place the shade in the middle of it. So, not even your outdoors get affected by the spray paint
  • Start painting from outside in singular motion that is from left to right or top to bottom
  • Rotate the lampshade globe and stay painting until it’s covered entirely
  • Now, send your hand inside and paint the inner portion of the lampshade
  • Check if all the seams and edges are properly covered with the black coat
  • Once you are done with the first coat, let it dry
  • There will pop up fibers after drying that will look nasty
  • To remove them, pick sandpaper and rub it against the shade
  • Keep rubbing until all the fibers are shed on the floor
  • Afterward, get your hands on a screen printing ink
  • Start applying the creamy paste on the inside of the lampshade with the help of a brush
  • Let it rest for the moment it’s undried
  • Put the lampshade back. You are all done. Congratulations!

Remember, unlike your previous shade that was permeable to light, black shade won’t. The light will now only pass through the top and bottom. However, the looks of the black lampshade are spectacular.

How to Paint a Lampshade White?

If the light-colored or off-white lampshade has turned yellowish, or you want to bring out some glamour from it, paint your lamp shade white. Before initiating, keep in mind that each fabric will take the white paint differently. So, the output will slightly differ.

Using chalk paint was the best idea, we thought. So, we went on using that, and here are the steps we took:

  • Clamp off the lampshade
  • Clean it with a vacuum cleaner, lint roller, microfiber cloth, or whatsoever
  • Take white chalk paint to initiate the process
  • Add the paint into the painting dish, cup, or anything disposable available to you
  • Mix 20% water into it, comparing the paint you have taken
  • Blend both with the help of a paintbrush
  • When the mixture is ready, apply it to the lampshade
  • Make an even coat and move your hand in one direction
  • Properly cover all the edges and corners with the paint
  • After you are done, give it a few hours to dry
  • Once dried, apply the shade back on the lamp
  • You’ll see how bright, beautiful light you have!

Remember, use this method on the lampshades that are friendly to chalk paint.

10 Hacks to Paint Your Lampshade Smoothly

  1. If you are spray painting, choose an open-air area

Reason: Ventilation is necessary to use these paints. Or else, it’ll lead you to suffocation.

  1. Use brighter color than the original color of the lampshade

Reason: This promotes the beauty of the new color on the lampshade. The same or dull color may not look glamorous, appealing, and change.

  1. Apply color in one direction, whether the right to left or top to bottom

Reason: Remember what your teacher stated in your toddlerhood? Color in one direction to make your drawing beautiful. That’s exactly what it is about.

  1. Keep a paper towel around while painting

Reason: With a paper towel around, you can instantly take action against any mishap. Sound-looking lampshades come out by keeping an eye on details.

  1. Have your gloves on for spray painting

Reason: Spray paints are somewhat stubborn. They don’t really get off the hands easily. So, gloves will protect your skin from color blotch.

  1. Get on work with no pets and children around

Reason: Pets and children are unpredictable and so are their spills. They can just wash off all your labor you’ve been involved in for a couple of hours.

  1. Pick the same color for your shade as of a wall

Reason: Pairing the interiors with the wall colors can be a good trick. And, lampshade does look classy when having the exact color wall behind them.

  1. Using the stencil method on drum shades is best

Reason: Drum shades have an even surface which makes them easier to stencil. Chances of spillage are also minimized with this type of shade.

  1. Cross-check if one brush is appropriate for your lampshade

Reason: Evenness and beauty rely on the method of application. If your paintbrush can’t do the particular work, it may provide you with nerve striking outputs.

  1. After the painting process, clean your brushes and trays with warm water

Reason: Dipping the brushes into the hot water bowl softens the paints. While warm water extracts the residue from it. With that said, brushes and dishes stay there for use the next time.


While most of the lamps are suitable for most of the lampshades, everyone doesn’t bring the same appearance. Each has a different charm and material, of course, constitute to it. So, here we described how to paint a lampshade despite the material.

Did you know now how to paint a lampshade? Or, have you ever applied your creativity in the lampshades to turn them more appealing? Let us know what that is. We’ll be more than happy to hear from you.


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