Bright Idea for DIY Lampshade Makeover

Lampshade makeover with the Joie des Roses transfer.

Hey there, lamp lovers! Are you looking to add some interest to your home decor? This week, I’m bringing you a bright idea, for a Lampshade Makeover DIY; Decor Transfers! Don’t worry; It’s super easy and I know you’re going to love it! So, grab a lamp shade and your favorite transfer and let’s get ready to make some magic happen!

So first things first, what exactly are decor transfers? Well, let me tell you—they’re instant gratification! Decor transfers are essentially pre-designed images or patterns that you can easily transfer onto various surfaces, including lampshades. They come in a wide range of styles, from vintage-inspired florals to farmhouse designs, so you’re sure to find something that will suit your taste for many lamp shade makeovers, And the best part? They’re really easy to use and oh-so-rewarding! I’ll explain more below.


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For an awesome DIY lampshade makeover, I only used a few supplies:


Paint (optional)


Decor Transfer

Tape (only if you need help holding the transfer in place)

Note: I used a parchment lampshade and painted it, only because I needed to seal the transfer once applied, and I didn’t know how the sealer would stick if I didn’t paint the shade first.


It’s a good idea to read all the Steps prior to starting your lampshade makeover. And…

If you learn better visually, scroll down for a Video tutorial.

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    Wait, Can you paint a lampshade? Absolutely, but you don’t always have to when using a transfer. Painting a lamp shade is easy! The key is proper preparation and technique. When painting a lampshade, begin by selecting a paint suitable for your lampshade material, whether it’s fabric, paper, or glass. Before applying any paint, ensure the lampshade is clean and free of any dust or debris. Depending on your desired look, you may need to prime the surface with a primer designed for your chosen paint type.

    For my particular lamp, the lampshade was made of a type of parchment paper. The transfer would have applied easily over this type of surface, however, after a transfer is applied, it needs to be sealed. Not knowing how my sealer would look right on top of the parchment surface, I decided to give the lampshade a quick coat of black paint. It just so happened that my shade was already black, but I’ll keep this in mind when I want a different color next time. It’s very easy to paint this type of lampshade! The paint I used was Amy Howard’s Miracle Paint in Black. It needs no primer and it pretty much covers anything. Plus it has a built in topcoat which is perfect for applying transfers.

    Once you’re ready to paint, apply in thin, even coats, using a brush or spray paint for smooth and uniform coverage. If you’re painting a different color and need more than one coat, allow each coat to dry completely before adding additional layers.

    Note: I just placed the painted lampshade onto the lamp base to dry.


    Sometimes, just painting the lampshade is all you need for a nice refresh; however adding a transfer is taking it to a whole new level. Preparing your lampshade for transfers is a crucial step in ensuring a smooth and successful application process. Depending on the type of paint used, consider sealing the surface of the lampshade with a clear sealant before applying the transfers. Sealing the surface not only provides a smooth and stable base for the transfers but also helps them adhere better and go on more smoothly. Once the transfers are applied, it’s equally important to seal them again with a clear sealant to protect the design and ensure its longevity.

    Note: The paint I used had a built in topcoat, so sealing prior to applying the transfer was not necessary. If you used a chalk paint, It would be best to seal it with a clear topcoat. For more tips and tricks on using transfers, check out my Blog Post on How to Use Transfers over Chalk Paint.


    At this point, you’ve either painted your lampshade and sealed it with a clear topcoat or you’ve painted it with a built in topcoat. So now you’re ready to apply the transfer. You have so many choices when it comes to Transfers. For this project, I used the Joie des Roses transfer. This transfer set contains 8 pages and is mostly designed verically.

    Based on the shape of my lampshade, I decided to apply the sheets horizontally. I knew I could get more use out of one sheet that way and I really liked how the flowers looked horizontally. This set has words and a couple of birds, so of course, those sheets could not be fully used horizontally. I usually like to cut my transfers up and rearrange them to better suit my design anyway, so that’s what I did with those particular sheets.

    Also, if your lampshade is round, keep in mind that the image will not go “straight” around the shade; It curves, just as if you were using fabric. As you’re placing the transfer on the shade, just allow it to lay down naturally; you’ll be adding pieces in later to fill in any gaps that are created.

    Transfer sheets have a white protective backing that comes off. When I select the transfer sheet I want to use, I first look to see if I need to cut some off. You can easily cut around images and save to use later when filling in some of the negative space. I then fold under the white backing a little on one end of the transfer sheet, and stick the exposed part of the transfer image down where I want it, and then slowly pull the rest of the white backing off as I stick down the remaining transfer image. Remember not to force it to go straight; it might crack. It’s so easy to just cut out images and place them where needed later.

    All transfers come with a small plastic rubbing tool. You will now just literally rub the image onto the lampshade using the tool. You can tell the image is transferring because it will get light in color. Gently lift the clear sheet a little along the way to make sure every bit has transferred. Do not lift the clear sheet entirely until all has been transferred. If not, lay the clear sheet back down and rub on the section that didn’t transfer. Once all the image has been transferred, gently rub it with your hand to make sure it’s all nice and flat. Any pieces around the top and bottom rim are just folded under. You can always go back and touch those spots up with paint if it bothers you. It’s better to fold the pieces under than it is to cut the transfer even with the rim. It has a better chance of lifting that way.

    For more tips and tricks on using Transfers check out my Blog Post: How to Use Transfers over Chalk Paint.

    After applying the larger transfer sheets, look to see if there’s any “vacant” spots that need something. There’s always pieces that you’ve cut off or can cut off that will fit nicely; even if you have to overlay a couple of pieces. It will all blend in together and look great! You can even mix and match transfer sets! For instance, there are transfer sets that have butterflies, birds, and bees that would be a great little filler. Check out all the Transfers HERE.


    Now that you’ve got your lampshade like you like it, it’s time to protect it! You’ll want to use a clear, non-harsh topcoat, such as a water-based polycrylic. My favorite polycrylic topcoats, for all my projects, are those by Paint Couture. They self level, just like their paints, for a smooth, consistent look. For this particular project, I used the Paint Couture topcoat in Flat. With a sponge brush, I painted on one thin coat, then placed the lamp shade back onto the lamp base and allowed it to dry. I then added a second coat; No need to sand in between. It goes on white but dries crystal clear.

    So that’s it! Now you have a beautiful statement piece for your home. I love, love, love how this turned out! This was a lamp given to me by my mother-in-law. I’ve had it many years and was thinking I needed to replace it; It just seemed plain and, well, Blah. Now it’s perfect and I can enjoy it for many more years to come! What lamps or home decor do you have in your home that seems a little blah? Transfers can be an easy fix! Let me know what you think in the comments below. And if you’d done any lamp shade makeovers, I’d love for you to share how it turned out.

    Video Tutorial Below:

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