This Unexpected Etsy Find Can Turn a Plain, Worn-Out, or Damaged Lampshade into a Boho Beauty

published Nov 1, 2022
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Photographer and DIYer Erin Derby loves a semi-handmade makeover. She’s added fringe to her sofa to stealthily store items under its seat, updated her desk with a skirt and matching cushion for her dining bench, and painted her own graphic canvases to create big, budget-friendly artwork for a friend. So it was only a matter of time before she took on a lamp redo, which was part of a little refresh in her teenage daughter’s bedroom.

Derby had an old lampshade shade from HomeGoods lying around and was looking to create something a little whimsical to better match her daughter’s design style. “She’s very into blush and a Parisian vibe, and I came up with this idea of making a shade that was covered in blush feathers,” says Derby. “I saw an expensive blush feather lamp shade in stores and figured I could do a version myself.”

After browsing Etsy, Derby honed in on the perfect shade of feathers that happened to be attached to a ribbon like a garland, which would make for an easier application process than gluing on individual feathers. She prepped the shade by lint rolling it, then got to work on wrapping the shade in the feathered trim.

“I started from the bottom and ended up wrapping the ribbon of feathers around the shade a lot more times than expected in order to make the feathers appear more full and dense,” says Derby. “I didn’t want any shade to show through the feathers.” 

Credit: Erin Derby

To achieve that level of coverage, she worked methodically, hot gluing the ribbon part of the garland down every inch of the way around the shade. The biggest challenge while working will be preventing the feathers from getting unruly with static and subsequently messing with the glue. Derby suggests misting the feathers with water every now and then, which will help settle them down if they keep flying up as you’re trying to cover the shade. “You can’t worry too much about being perfect, so it’s okay if some feathers end up in the glue,” she says.

In the end, the lampshade project took her about an hour to finish and set her back around $50, since she had everything but the feathers on hand. That total cost is still substantially cheaper than the shade she used as inspiration, and the beauty of this project is you can use an old, truly beat up shade because the feathers will cover any imperfections.

“It really doesn’t look DIY, which is great,” says Derby of her handiwork. “My daughter is in love with it, and it also is transitioning nicely as her style evolves because it works with more interior design styles than you might think. Right now, it’s working its way from a Boho room into a more French-themed room.”