Tips and Guides

DIY: Quirky Lamp

Transform a plain lamp into a quirky creation


If you can’t stand the sight of that old-fashioned lamp in your bedroom, but can’t bear to part with it, don’t fret. Guided by the revival of the classical style, you can take an old lamp and give it an update without having to sand off those elaborate curves. All you need is a can of paint in a hip color, some images from the Internet, and you’ve got yourself a cool new lamp!


  • Table lamp
  • 8x10 photos or printed images of Baroque paintings
  • Patterned wrapping paper
  • Glue stick
  • Bias tape (available at sewing supply stores) or satin ribbon
  • Double-sided tape (not the foam-core kind)
  • Clear tape
  • Spray paint

How long it will take: Half a day

Crafts by Genie Ranada. Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("Old Light, New Life") in the September 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details.  

How to do it:

1. For the lamp shade, get high-resolution pictures of baroque paintings on the Internet. Download what you like and bring to a photo-developing center to be printed as an 8”x10” digital photo.

2. Do the same for patterns by searching on Google for “free scrapbooking paper.” You can also use wrapping paper; simply use a glue stick to attach it to card paper (using white glue will wrinkle the paper).

3. Dismantle the lamp to separate the lamp base from the lampshade; usually this is as simple as unscrewing a ring.

4. Wrap the part of the electric cord nearest the lamp base with masking tape to protect it from the spray paint.

5. Lay down newspaper in a well-ventilated area, place the lamp base in the center, and spray-paint it your desired color. It’s best to spray on several thin layers of paint, letting dry for about 5 minutes between each coat, as one thick coat is apt to run.

6. Carefully remove the lampshade fabric or lining from the shade base by peeling it off. Lay it flat on a sheet of manila paper (it should resemble a curved trapezoid). Trace around the shade onto the manila paper and cut out. This is your pattern.

7. Depending on how many different pictures you want on your shade, fold the manila paper into 4 or 6 parts. Our shade fits four pictures. We then trimmed the pictures to match the one-fourth  segment of the shade. When all the pictures/patterns have been cut to the correct shape, arrange them in the order you want, carefully lining up the edges, and tape them together at the back with clear tape. When using wrapping paper instead of photo paper, attach the wrapping paper first to card paper with a glue stick to stiffen, then trim to correct shape.

8. Re-attach the new shade to the wire armature with double sided tape or superglue. To finish off the edges, line them using bias tape (a flat cotton ribbon used for edging clothing) or satin ribbon, by applying double-sided tape to the edges, peeling off, then sticking down the tape or ribbon.

9. Carefully re-attach the new lampshade to the base and your lamp is ready for its new corner.


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