Add panache to an old lamp with a new pleated lampshade.

How to Re-Cover a Pleated Lampshade

by L. Christine Shepard

A damaged, stained or unsightly pleated lampshade can be re-covered with little fuss. The pleats adjust to a conical shade shape, gathering tightly at the shade’s smaller top edge and loosening open at the shade’s larger bottom edge. A table or floor lampshade makeover can coordinate with a room’s décor color, and leftover wallpaper will match the lampshade with the walls in a bedroom or den. A thrift shop pleated lampshade can be re-covered with this inexpensive and uncomplicated technique.

Measure the perimeter of the bottom edge of a lampshade with a cloth tape measure. Triple the measurement. Measure the lampshade height.

Cut decorative paper to the measurements, using double-stick tape to attach paper sheets together to achieve the needed length.

Measure the depth of the pleats on the original lampshade with the tape measure. Fold the cut decorative paper into accordion folds to the measurement by folding the paper up, pressing the fold with the bone folder, then folding the paper down and pressing the fold with the bone folder.

Punch a 1/16-inch-diameter hole 1 inch from the top edge of the lampshade cover, in the center of each folded pleat, with a hole punch. Thread 1/2 yard of 1/4-inch-wide satin ribbon through the holes.

Cover the lampshape with the folded paper, matching the fold edges. Cut off the excess paper with scissors. Attach the edges of the paper to each other with double-stick tape. Pull the ribbon ends tight and tie the ribbon ends into a knot or bow. Trim the excess ribbon with scissors.

Items you will need

  • Cloth tape measure
  • Decorative paper
  • Scissors
  • Double-stick tape
  • Bone folder
  • Hole punch, 1/16-inch diameter
  • 1/2 yard 1/4-inch-wide satin ribbon


  • Find unusual and beautiful paper at art supply stores.


  • Do not use halogen light bulbs, which produce a lot of heat and could be a fire hazard, with a paper lampshade.

About the Author

L. Christine Shepard has been a print journalist since 1994, covering news, home improvement, gardening and food for the "Oakland Press," "Rochester Post," "Troy Times" and "Michigan Meetings and Events" magazine. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Oakland University and received the Michigan Press Association award for journalism.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images