What Kind of Paint to use on Lamp Shades?

What Kind of Paint to Use on Lamp Shades

What Kind of Paint to use on Lamp Shades?

What kind of paint to use on lamp shades?

If you have an existing lamp shade and want to update its appearance, there are several methods in achieving a new elegant look that you want. The best result from painting a lamp shade would depend on the type of fabric your shade has and the type of paint you will use.

When your lamp shade looks dirty, a paper lampshade must be changed into another color. If your metal lamp shade is outdated, you can use a cheap design trick to give your lamp shade a whole new perspective. You can save more by using leftover paints from other projects you have been doing for your new lamp.

If you want to explore the world of painting on your lamp shade, there are several types of paints that can be used which are suitable for your particular shade.

Here are different types of paints you can use on your lamp shade:

1. Watercolors

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If you have a plain white paper shade, you can use shimmering watercolor paints. This type of craft paint comes in small jars in very bright colors. Watercolor is best used for fabric shades. When using watercolor as paint for your shade, start by wetting the paint cake and brushing it thickly on the plain white shade.

The paint will instantly dry. This type of paint works well on small paper lanterns and large bamboo. The best thing about using watercolor to paint your shade is that when the color fades over time, you can just re-paint it or add a new design to make it look anew.

2. Spray Paint

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One of the most recommended paint to use on lamp shades is spray paint. Using this paint straight from the can makes your work easier and quicker. Using spray paint particularly on old lamp shade gives a modern and opaque finish. You can buy different colors of your desire and conveniently spray it to your shade.

When using spray paint, you may want to use two coats for solid coverage. When the first coat applied becomes dry, you can put the lamp back on its base and turn the light.

By doing so, you may be able to check the spots with uneven color. So make sure that you are able to cover them all on the second coating. You may use high gloss spray paint of any bright color to have a dramatic shade.

3. Fabric Paint

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Fabric paint is mostly intended for lamp shades with fabric shade. This type of paint can withstand heavy dust and heat coming from the bulb. There are many fabric paints being sold at hardware stores or any craft stores. They usually come in small jars.

They can be applied thinly or thickly depending on your choice and style. For perfect results, you may select a darker paint color for a solid fabric shade. Since fabric paints are made for fabric, there should be not flakes or crake on the lamp shade.

4. Hobby Paint and Faux Finishes

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Hobby paints are cheaper compared to other types of paints. They often come in rainbow colors with metallic finishes. You can use this type of paint on smaller shades using a flat brush. Another type of paint that can be used is the faux finish for a metal lamp shade.

5. Fabric Dye

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Using fabric dye is one of the simplest methods for changing the look of your lamp shade. Dying the shade of your produces a fresh color especially when your shade does not have a pattern and if they are made with natural fibers such as cotton/ When doing so, use hand gloves and a big bucket to dye the shade.

You may hang the metal part with a hook and let it dry for several hours. If you want to achieve a darker color, just repeat the process as many times as you want until you achieve your desired tone.

6. Hand-Painting

If you have the time and patience overpainting, then this next method can be good for you. Hand painting can be done if you want to create a design on your shade. The first thing you should do is to draw your design on a piece of paper and tape it to the shade.

Then turn on the lamp and trace the pattern all over your shade. Next, paint the design onto your shade using a small brush and acrylic paint. Let the shade dry for several hours. It usually takes about one to two hours for it to completely dry.

7. Chalk Paint

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Chalk paint can be used virtually on any surface. Painting an old lampshade with chalk paint is one of the best painting ideas to do on with lamp shades. By using an angled paintbrush, you may apply directly the paint chalk to the lampshade.

Allow it to soak into the fabric. Chalk paint can give a warm gray color to your shade. Allow the paint to dry fully for about an hour. Once it dries, put the bulb and turn on the light. This will allow you to see the spots with uneven color and spot that needs more paint.


Lamp shades can change its color over time. Some shades become dull and dirty. When this happens, you do not need to buy a new shade. There are various methods that you can explore in order to have a new look on your shades. Since most lamp shades are made with fabric, several types of paints can be used to your shades.

The types of paints mentioned above will bring different results depending on which one to use. Results will also vary when these paints are used on different types and designs of a lamp shade. Lamp shade painting is an easy task and does not require too many expenses.

That is why people who own lamp shades for a long time opts to do painting activities with their lamps so that it could have a customized touch that suits the owner’s choice and style.

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