How to upcycle a silk t-shirt into an ombre lampshade

DIY ombre silk lampshade |

I had a gorgeous ombre pink silk blouse that never really fit that well. Not being able to stand the thought of throwing or giving it away, I did what any normal person would do…. made it into a lampshade! The finished result was so feminine and soft. At night the light coming through the lampshade has the  most beautiful pink glow.

I used a DIY lampshade kit which lets you turn any piece of natural fiber fabric (silk, linen, cotton) into a lampshade. That means a ‘past it’ piece of clothing could potentially be upcycled into a lampshade. Cut it up and see how much fabric you are left with. Don’t worry if you have a seam running through your piece of fabric, just work with it!

DIY ombre silk lampshade |

DIY ombre silk lampshade |

You’ll need:

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  • DIY lampshade kit – choose a size which accommodates your piece of fabric. This includes all the required materials – glue, molding stick, rings, and adhesive styrene
  • Natural fiber fabric
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat (makes life so much easier, especially if working with silk)
  • Small paintbrush
  • Ribbon for edging (optional)



  1. Cut down your fabric or clothing article to the size provided in the DIY lampshade kit instructions.  Iron the fabric to make sure there are no creases in the finished product.
    Upcycled silk blouse |
  2. Peel back a small section of the adhesive styrene and apply to the reverse side of the fabric. Use a continuous motion of peeling the backing with one hand and smoothing the styrene onto the fabric with the other hand.
    Applying adhesive styrene to fabric |
  3. Trim the fabric to leave a half inch overhanging on all sides except one of the short sides.
  4. Glue down the fabric overhang on the other short side with the fabric overhang.
    Glueing fabric to adhesive styrene |
  5. Wrap your fabric & styrene rectangle into a cylinder and attach a bulldog clip on each end to hold it together. Rest one of the wire rings on the arms of the bulldog clip. Hold the ring in place using a couple more bulldog clips around the circumference of the ring.
    Lampshade rings |
  6. Section by section, paint on the glue and fold over the wire ring. Wait until the glue is tacky, then use your molding wand to gently push the fabric up and underneath the wire ring.
    Lampshade making |
  7. Once finished with one end, flip the shade over and do the same for the other end. Note: be careful to place the top ring (the one with the three spokes) inside the lampshade so the spokes dip down into the lampshade.  
  8. If you wish to finish the edges with ribbon, paint glue on to the ribbon a section at a time and smooth it on. I used ribbon both inside the ring and outside, because the pale pink silk was translucent once I applied the glue and it looked a bit ratty. It really did help to finish it off nicely.
    Finishing lampshade with ribbon |

Enjoy your new lampshade! What unique  material would you make a lampshade out of?

DIY ombre silk lampshade |

Kiri Masters

by Kiri Masters

Kiri is the creator of I like that lamp. What gets her up in the morning is beautiful home decorating projects. And a strong Americano. Read more about Kiri

4 thoughts on “How to upcycle a silk t-shirt into an ombre lampshade

  1. Pingback: Shirt Upcycled to Ombre Lampshade

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  3. says:

    I would use my great grandma’s vintage handkerchiefs. I’ll have to sew some together to get the size I want…maybe with a decorative stitch! This is really neat! Thanks!

  4. Pingback: How to make a tripod table lamp | I like that lamp

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