Creative outlet that spices up your space on a budget? Yes please!! I bought this lamp base and shade all the way back when I was still planning to go back to school this year. Hmmm, is that procrastination I smell?? You know you’ve gotten bad when you put off even the fun projects. Anywho, I found these gems at a local Goodwill for a total of $10!! ($7 for the base and $3 for the shade). I had fringe that I harvested from a floor pillow I rehabbed, and I borrowed the finial from a lamp we had at home (thanks mom). In all, this was a straightforward and simple project that took about 3-4 NCIS episodes to complete (depending on my distraction level). I am obsessed with my new DIY fringe lampshade! To make your own, scroll on down!
Felt for the bottom
The felt at the bottom of a lamp is one of those things that’s obvious when you actually have to deal with it, but otherwise take for granted. The original pad was crinkled and separating from the base, so I thought it best to just replace it.
I cut a piece of felt with a Cricut machine and added a reinforcer (extra stiff fuseable interfacing—because this is something every average Joanne has laying around, right?) I also used a piece of cardboard (this lamp was hollow and did not have bottom) that I had to bend a bit to snuggly fit it in the lip of the base. You can definitely just trace a circle around the base, but I know I’d be fixated on it if it wasn’t a perfect match, so I measured instead of eyeballing. You do you, boo boo.
I used Aleen’s Jewel-It Glue to attach the felt to the lamp-base. Much like with false eye lashes, it’s imperative you let the glue set for a while. Only with this, you won’t feel the heat of a thousand suns in your eye if you get impatient.
I like to imagine that this lamp has a fabulous backstory and perhaps belonged to an eccentric old woman who lived in a mansion on the hill or to a distant Kennedy relative. The truth is I have no idea whether it came from Target a year ago or if the material is precious and delicate, but I wasn’t going to risk it with harsh chemicals. I wasn’t sure what the metal was, so after a little research, I checked by trying to affix a magnet to it. Apparently a lot of older lamps are brass, but you can get bamboozled by brass-plated lamp bases. The rule of thumb is: if the magnet sticks, it’s not brass.
I used hand soap and a sponge to get the gunk from the price tag and any other scuffs off. For the metal parts, I used a mixture of vinegar, salt, and flour. You can find the details and alternative options here: How to Clean Brass I applied the mixture with a rag and an old tooth brush for the smaller nooks, and as advised, I left the mixture on it for 10ish minutes. (I’m big on leaving things on longer than suggested e.g. face masks, but I was really nervous about ruining the metal).
Now the fun part: FRINGE!! I wanted my lamp shade to have tassels, but the ones that were already tied were worse for the wear. If I didn’t have this fringe from the pillow already, it’s possible I could have just bought a trim with premade tassels. The retying process was not difficult, albeit somewhat meticulous.
1. Glue Fringe trim to the bottom of the lampshade
I flipped the shade so that I could glue the fringe to the bottom. I squeezed a thin strip of Aleen’s No-Sew Glue around both the inside and outside of the shade since my fringe was actually two pieces. It was a bit hard to keep it from being a little crooked, but I was happy with it. The glue dried pretty quickly, but I was sure to give it a hot minute before continuing on. Now is the time for a drink refresh, snack break, etc.
2. Comb & straighten
After gently (as gently as necessary for that one friend who can’t even tolerate braiding) combing through the fringe, I used my straightener on the lowest temperature. For fire-safety purposes, I am not suggesting this, just being honest about what I did. Some fabrics are more flammable or prone to melting, if you want more info on this, comment your email and I’ll send you my 7th grade science fair project.
3. Tie the tassels
I referenced the existing tangled tassels for measurements of the new and improved ones. It took 1.5” worth of individual fringe strings for each tassel. Once I sectioned off the tassels into the proper chunks, I began by using the two rightmost strings of that section to wrap around the other strings. I brought these wrapping-strings through the middle of the front and back half of fringe then wrapped it around 2 times before tying them off on the inside/back of the tassel.
Here’s a quick video to help:
4. Comb out again
I have since found out that an excellent trick for trimming tassels is wrapping the tassel with scotch tape, then making the cut. In my passionate frenzy of DIYing, I didn’t look for any outside guidance. All’s well that ends well, though. My method was simply measuring how long I wanted the tassels to be with a measuring tape and laying them flat one by one as I trimmed them to 2.75”. I found it easiest to rest the tassel in my lap next to the measuring tape as I snipped.