How to Cover a Tapered Drum Lamp Shade – Tuesday {ten}

Yesterday I shared a quick, simple {and inexpensive} way to make a plug in style hanging drum pendant light and I am back today to share some details on the shades I used. Tapered Drum shades are not that hard to find though they can be pretty expensive when purchased from some high end catalog retailers – not to mention the additional costs to have them covered in linen.

Drum shades are one of the biggest trends in home lighting right now. They not only have a sleek and modern circular shape but allow the maximum amount of light to shine through the top and bottom – as they both have same size opening. A tapered drum shade basically has the same cylinder shape though the top is slightly tapered in – directing a little more light toward the bottom part of the shade.

Covering a traditional drum shade is by far the simplest, though a tapered shade can be transformed just as well using the ten steps listed below.

The shades I used for this project came from Lowes and were a pretty good buy at just $14.97 a piece. {found here} They also work perfectly with the plug in hanging pendant cords I shared yesterday. The fabric on the shade is a simple neutral though it had a sheen a bit too fancy for the playroom. Since I really like the crisp look of linen shades {especially when the light glows through} I decided to recover them with some left over fabric I had from hemming my bay window curtains.

These particular lamp shades are Hardback Shades and are the easiest in my opinion to recover. Hardback lamp shades are typically constructed by the fabric being laminated to a plastic liner inside the shade called a styrene. The fabric is normally glued to the upper and lower rings that hold the shade in place – so sometimes removing the fabric completely is not an easy task. However, if you are recovering the shade using a light fabric it can simple be placed right on top. The one thing you want to keep in mind though is how much light will actually be able to filter through the shade once it has been recovered.

{Step One} Lay the fabric on a flat surface and find the best starting position for the shade. This is done by rolling the fabric around the shade to ensure the entire surface will be covered in fabric. Since I was using fabric remnants from my bay window curtains, the coverage part was a little tricky – It took a little time finding the right position though by angling the fabric I was able to cover the entire shade. At this point don’t worry if the beginning seam is not straight – that can be fix later on – the important part of this step is to simply ensure there is enough fabric to fully cover the shade.

Once the right placement is found, use a piece of painters tape to hold the beginning of the fabric in place.

{Step Two} Roll the shade up in the fabric then slowly begin to unroll it – marking the top and bottom edges – using the edge of the shade as a guideline. I simply used an ink pen for this step as you will not be able see the marks once the fabric is cut. It is easier to do one end first then re-roll and mark the other.

{Step Three} Leaving the painter’s tape on the shade {as a guideline} – remove and cut the fabric.

Place the fabric back on the shade.

{Step Four} The next step is to remove some of the fabric near the top and bottom edging. The amount of fabric that needs to be removed will be determined by the height of the lamp shade binding. The binding is the decorative trim that is added to the edges of the shade giving it a nice clean smooth edge.

I used a ink pen again to mark the guidelines around the entire shade – top and bottom. This step does not have to be precise and perfect – just make sure you do not remove too much of the fabric. The binding on these particular shades measures 1 inch so my guidelines were drawn 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the edge of the shade – top and bottom.

{Step Five} Leaving the painter’s tape on the shade {as a guideline} – remove and trim the fabric.

{Step Six} Next is creating a nice clean straight seam that will show on the back of the shade. Since most of time the fabric has to be angled to fit a tapered shade, the cut ends are not going to be perfectly straight. Using a straight edge ruler, mark a guideline with an ink pen on one of end of fabric. {this will be the bottom end of the seam that gets glued to the shade}

The other end of the fabric needs to have a finished edge that will be used to create the top of the seam. Using the straight edge of the ruler mark this side – only extend it 1/2 inch longer for the seam allowance.

{Step Seven} Using iron on fusible tape, hem the extended side of the fabric. Simply fold over the extra 1/2 inch that was added in the step above, place the tape between the fold and iron – creating a nice clean edge.

{Step Eight} Remove the original lamp shade binding and any residue left from the glue. With these particular shades I used, the binding surprisingly came off a lot easier that expected. So well that I decided to use it with the linen as it was a pretty good match.

If you are using patterned fabric or want the binding to be the same fabric as the shade – you can make your own lamp shade binding as shown in an easy tutorial I did {here}.

{Step Nine} Now the shade is ready to be covered. Line the raw edge of the fabric with the original seam on the shade and glue into place with a hot glue gun. Working in small sections, lightly spray the fabric with spray adhesive and smooth flat with palm of your hand. I used Krylon All Purpose Spray Adhesive as it dries clear and dies not bleed through the fabric.

Work your way around the entire shade until you get to the finished edge of your fabric – which will simply be hot glued into place.

{Step Ten} Attach the lamp shade binding to the top and bottom of the shade. Begin at the seam and work your way around the entire shade by gluing it into place with a hot glue gun.

The shade is now ready to be hung.

I’ll be sharing the tailored lamp cords next time ~ enjoy.


  1. beautiful and very simple!
    thanks 🙂

  2. Truly beautiful!

  3. Thank you for the great tutorial! Your linen looks beautiful!

  4. Wow! You made that look easy! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. What a great tutorial. You did such a fantastic job. How did you learn to do that? Pretty smart little gal you are. I’m envious of your patience and beautiful handwork on the shades. Don’t think I’ll be doing that any time soon but I did save it for future reference. Thanks for such a beautiful tutorial.

  8. Beautiful project!

  9. I love it, I have several shades that need makeovers! Thanks for the tutorial!


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