The DIY Bright Ideas Stenciled Lampshade


Here’s a little project to BRIGHTEN your day! (Get it? GET IT? I am a master of puns).

DIY Bright Ideas Lampshade || Jade and Fern

I am a huge fan of whimsical decor. Bad movie posters, ironically placed plastic animals, and now—lampshades covered in light bulbs!

This is a very simple, quick project if you feel like snazzing up any boring old lampshades you have around the house. Ready to whimsify with me? Presenting the DIY Bright Ideas Stenciled Lampshade:

What you need:

DIY Bright Ideas Lampshade || Jade and Fern

  • light-colored fabric lampshade
  • fabric marker (make sure it is the kind that does NOT need to be ironed for the paint to set!)
  • thin cardboard, like from a cereal box
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • scrap fabric to practice drawing

What you do:

DIY Bright Ideas Lampshade || Jade and Fern

1. Draw a lightbulb shape onto your cardboard and cut it out.

2. Using the fabric marker, trace the template onto the scrap fabric so you can get a feel for how the paint comes out of the marker. This is a good time to practice filling in any details you might want. I chose to add the lightbulb filament, and a little “reflection” for cuteness. Yours will probably look way better, because drawing is not one of my skills.

3. Once you feel comfortable tracing and drawing, start doing so on the backside of the lampshade. My fabric marker surprised me by bleeding a bit when I used it on the lampshade (isn’t the whole point of fabric paint that it DOESN’T bleed?). But since I started on the back, I was able to get a technique down which minimized the bleeding. If you’re having this issue, I suggest using the thinnest point of the marker, and don’t linger in one spot—try to use quick strokes.

**Tip: use a lint roller or some tape to dust off your lampshade before painting on it! Especially if you have pets. Mine released about a pound of cat hair.

4. From here, just keep going! Play around with the pattern. I let my lightbulbs march along in staggered rows, but randomizing would look cool too. And if you’re a more confident drawer, how about throwing some other lightbulb shapes in there? Like the über-trendy Edison bulb?

And that’s it!

DIY Bright Ideas Lampshade

My ultimate decorating goal is for my home to make me smile or chuckle. This little guy does both.

How do you feel about silly or whimsical decor? Will anyone be drawing on their lampshades?


This project was featured on Brit + Co, Apartment Therapy, and Craft Gossip!

Author: Marlene @ Idle Hands Awake

Maker, baker, cat momma, total nerd, perpetually covered in glitter/sawdust/paint. Blogging DIY and design for modern creatives.

21 comments on “The DIY Bright Ideas Stenciled Lampshade”

  1. This is positively splendid. I just found a company that you might like that make wood textiles, yes wood. You can even use them for this exact purpose.

  2. For those of us that draw like drunken chimpanzee toddlers…would a snazzy stamp pad give the same result? Or maybe a child’s handprints for a kid’s room lamp?

    1. Good question! I consider myself one of those people actually, I had to eyeball the results of a Google image search for “light bulb drawing” pretty thoroughly. One option is to print a picture you like and trace the outline to make the template. I absolutely think a stamp or pouncer loaded with fabric paint would work too! There is a great tutorial for a polka-dot lampshade on Oleander and Palm:

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