How I revamped a lampshade with Chalk Paint

I’m a fan of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint as you will know from some of my earlier posts.  I’ve used it very recently to makeover my TV cabinet, chests of drawers, and even beams and bannisters in my friend’s cottage.  It’s such a versatile paint and I’ve used it for some other things, including dying a duvet cover (post to follow), brightening up my plant pots, painting picture frames and now, painting a lampshade.

This is not a sponsored post, I’m just a huge fan.  Mainly because I’m lazy and I hate the preparation required for normal gloss or eggshell paint. I like the ability to get on with the fun part.

I’d read a few blog posts and seen some You Tube videos with people painting fabric, including lampshades.  So I thought I’d try it out.

I’ll be honest right up front, it wasn’t the best success, but I wanted to share with you what I did and where I think I went a little wrong.  Having said that, I still have the lampshade and still use it.  The finish could have been a bit better but next time I’ll know what not to do.

You might have seen the lampshade in my Instagram feed, it’s seen quite a lot in the photos and I bet you didn’t know it was painted?!

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For this project I used:

The lampshade in question is a plain, light grey shade on a lamp I bought in the sale from Next.  It’s a good lamp with nice light and I didn’t want to get a new lamp for the living room.

Firstly, unplug the lamp and put paper or plastic underneath the base.  I chose to leave the lampshade attached to the floor lamp, you might wish to take the shade off and hold it while painting.  I found it useful to keep it on the lamp so I could plug it in and switch it on now and then to look for any obvious gaps in the paint.

Next I chose to pour some of the paint into the tray and diluted it with a little water. I then made the brush a little damp with some water and started to paint up and down in straight strokes.

Now this is where I probably went a little wrong.  I think I probably shouldn’t have diluted it quite so much, as it did go a little streaky.  The next few coats I tried to dilute it less and less.

I carried on and did about four or five coats over the period of a couple of days, working mainly with the lamp unplugged, but it’s useful to switch it on and look at how the light comes through the gaps in the paint.

This photo shows the lamp switched off and you can see the the coverage looks thick and even.


And here’s the lamp with the light switched on – you can see a difference in the coverage instantly.


Keep going over and over the lamp until you feel happy with the coverage once it’s lit up.

If I were to do this again I would put the paint on a little thicker and less diluted, but I didn’t want to put it on too thick as it could crack.  I’d also be a little more bold next time and perhaps do some stripes or spots or chevrons with different colours.

In the end after four or five coats I was pretty content with the outcome.  I didn’t wax this, I left it painted, it doesn’t need the wax on top.  It’s not perfect but for a first go I’m pretty happy with it for now.


The English Yellow provides a lovely pop of colour againsts the Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue wall – and this works well as yellow and blue are on opposite sides of the colour wheel so they complement each other nicely.

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At night it’s perhaps a little more obvious that the lampshade is painted, but it’s not really obvious and I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

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Have you tried Chalk Paint on fabric?  I’d love to hear your hints and tips!

18 thoughts on “How I revamped a lampshade with Chalk Paint

  1. Clever!!! i wouldn’t have ever thought of painting a fabric lampshade. Am currently casting my eye around the room for a suitable project piece 🙂

  2. I’m a big fan of doing DIY to improve furniture and I’ve heard of people painting lampshades before but I’ve never had a go myself. It looks fab! x

  3. Hi this looks beautiful I’m just wondering does this effect the lampshade in regards to wattage of bulb you can use with shade I just worry would this be more likely to cause a fire? Sorry I’m prob just worrying over nothing but just wanted to see if anyone would know before I try it ?

    1. Thank you! I did some research around it as I was also worried and I felt comfortable there wasn’t an issue, however I would recommend you do your own research before starting. I have had this lamp on every evening since painting it and it’s been fine. I do have a low watt bulb in there because I prefer low level lighting, I didn’t change it after painting. Hope that helps!


  5. I just bought 3 different colors of chalk paint for 3 lampshades. I’m going to paint them this weekend. I’m glad I found your post, thanks for the great tips!

  6. I’m getting ready to paint a lampshade light green. I read somewhere about also painting the inside of the shade. Any thoughts?

    1. I probably wouldn’t paint the inside due to the heat of the bulb, and potential issues with that, but worth perhaps checking with the paint company to see what they recommend.

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