The layered look: Transform a lampshade with decoupage

Although decorative decoupage has roots that go all the way back to 12th century China and Siberia, the art form enjoyed a sharp rise in popularity throughout Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Later still, it was all the rage in America during the 1960s and 1970s. Decoupage allows the crafter to customize virtually any wooden furniture piece or a home accessory like a lampshade, with printed pictures and photographs. The images are affixed with a varnish that dries clear.
This lampshade project fabulously elevates a plain white or cream shade by using, of all things, humble paper napkins. An endless array of napkins available in stores means that you can pick images that speak to you and colors that work well within the space your lamp will occupy. Another bonus is the fact that the project takes just a short time to complete. Guests are guaranteed to assume that you purchased your glam lamp at a high-end lighting store, but be sure to set them straight and don't be shy about showing off your DIY prowess!
- Table lamp
- Paper dinner-sized napkin
- Iron
- Ironing board
- Small bowl
- Paintbrush
- Mod Podge
- Scissors
DIY Everywhere
1. Remove the shade from the lamp base and lay it on your work surface.
2. Unfold the paper napkin and lay it on the ironing board.
3. Iron the napkin thoroughly until the creases from its folds are smoothed out.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 with three more napkins.
5. Pour some Mod Podge into the bowl.
6. Apply some Mod Podge with the paintbrush to the exterior of the lampshade. The covered area should be the size of about half of the napkin’s dimensions.
7. Lay the left half of the napkin on top of the coated area of the lampshade and apply pressure. There will be excess napkin material that extends beyond both the top and bottom of the lampshade.
8. Fold the right half of the napkin back. Apply Mod Podge to the approximately 3-inch-wide strip that's revealed on the shade that was underneath this part of the napkin.
9. Lay the middle portion of this section on the coated part of the shade and apply pressure.
10. Fold back the final third of the napkin and paint another strip of Mod Podge where it will go.
11. Place the last folded back portion of the napkin back on top of the shade which now is spread with Mod Podge. Apply pressure.
12. Paint some Mod Podge on top of the end of napkin that you just applied pressure to, and coat a bit of the lampshade surface next to it as well.
13. Repeat steps 6-12 two more times, using the other two napkins.
14. At this point, most of the lampshade will be covered, but there will still be a portion of the shade that needs to be covered.
15. Cut away a piece of the napkin that covers this last section, so that a rectangular strip of the shade remains to be covered with the napkin material.
16. Apply Mod Podge to the strip of remaining bare shade and to the edges of the affixed napkin on either side of it.
17. Cut a strip of napkin a bit larger than the remaining shade portion that needs to be covered.
18. Apply Mod Podge to the remaining portion of the uncovered shade, lay the napkin piece down on top of it and apply pressure.
19. Coat the left and right outer portions of this napkin piece with Mod Podge.
20. Trim the excess napkin that extends beyond the shade’s top and bottom, but take care to leave about a ½-inch to 1-inch section of the overlapping napkin on the top and bottom of the shade.
21. Apply Mod Podge to the undersides of the overlapping napkin sections, fold over the top or bottom of the shade and press onto the shade’s interior.
22. Allow the Mod Podge to dry thoroughly and return the shade to the lamp base. It’s now ready to be displayed and used.