How to Give the Lamp Shades in Your RV a DIY Makeover Cover Image

How to Give the Lamp Shades in Your RV a DIY Makeover


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I thought I’d share with you an idea I came up with for changing the appearance of the wall lamp in my RV by making easily removable lamp shade covers–kind of like a slipcover for an old lamp. 🙂

This idea is a wonderful way to decorate a camper or motorhome without making any permanent changes to the factory decor.  You can make a cover to match every holiday for seasonal decor that takes up very little storage space, and no sewing is required!

Originally I had planned these covers as a way to change the look of my wall sconce without replacing the shade, but when I held the fabric up to see how it would look, I found that the streaked design showed through and interfered with the pattern of the fabric.

That shouldn’t be a problem for you if your lampshade is a light, solid, neutral color, but if you have the same problem I did, you might want to replace it.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a replacement shade that fit my wall sconce, so I ended up removing the hardware from my old lampshade and using it to create a new lampshade by cutting up a cheap white shade I purchased.  I wrote about that process in another blog post.

Old lamp shade to the right of the new lampshade I used

Here is my lamp with its new shade – a blank canvas for a pretty cover. 🙂

New lampshade I made by replacing the hardware

Step 1: Making a Pattern Using the Old Lampshade

The first thing I did was use a pencil to trace the shape of my lampshade onto the back of my fabric using my old lampshade as a template.  If you didn’t cut up a lampshade, you can use your lampshade to make a template by following the process described in this blog post about an idea very similar to mine except that I didn’t glue my cover on as I wanted to be able to easily remove it.

It’s very important that you don’t trace your pattern too small, or else the cover will not fit.  “Measure twice and cut once,” as they say.

Using my old lampshade as a template

Step 2: Cutting the Fabric

Next, I cut out the shape, leaving about half an inch of room all the way around to fold under.  Leaving enough room is especially important on the ends; you do not want to end up with a cover that doesn’t quite reach all the way around your lamp shade!

Finishing the edges

Step 3: Finishing the Fabric Edge

After that, I used my iron to press the fabric down along the pencil line.

Ironing before hemming

Then I “hemmed” the cover by gluing the folded edges down with my hot glue gun so that it would stay folded.

No-sew hemming using hot glue

After gluing all four edges, I snipped off the excess on the corners so that the fabric would lay flat.

Trim off excess so it will lay smooth

Here is the completed, “hemmed” lampshade cover.

The completed lampshade cover

Step 4: Attaching the New Cover to the Lampshade

The next step was attaching it to the lamp in a way that would be easily removable.

My first idea was to use Velcro.  Let me show you how that turned out.  After I finally wrestled it on, I took a long, hard look and thought, “Nope.”

Velcro didn't work out very well.

So next I turned to my trusty friend, clear acrylic double-sided tape.  I talk about this stuff so much on this blog, one might think I am a paid shill for the company, but no…I can only hope that someday my loyalty will earn me a free lifetime supply of the stuff.  Because my 37-foot roll has almost run out.

So here’s how this stuff works….

First you wrap it around the top and bottom of the lamp shade.

Applying acrylic mounting tape
Acrylic mounting tape before removing backing

Then you peel off the red plastic backing.  The actual tape is stretchy and gel-like, like the stuff that’s used to stick a new credit card to a piece of paper for mailing.

Acrylic mounting tape after removing backing

Then, you wrap your cover around the lamp shade and press it down on the sticky parts.

This part was a bit tricky.  I kept having to readjust to get it to fit right and lay flat.  For some reason it reminded me of putting clothes on a doll.

Applying the finished cover

But I finally got it looking how I wanted it.

The finished look

And here it is on my lamp.

The finished lampshade on the wall

Step 5: Making Multiple Covers

However, it wasn’t Christmastime yet, so I made another one.

An alternate lampshade

Removing the first cover was very easy, and the acrylic tape was still sticky enough to re-use for the other cover.  But if at some point the tape stops being sticky, it’s very easy to pull off and replace.


DIY lampshade covers that can be switched out each season! | - RV decor ideas for campers and motorhomes
DIY removable lamp shade covers for your camper or motorhome

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  1. Dear Ashley, I don’t have an RV but sometimes I have the feeling that my apartment might as well be one for the lack of space I contend with (not to mention stuff). Nevertheless, I learned a lot about lampshade structure and construction for which I thank you. I’m also looking forward to reading through your other suggestions for small spaces like RVs.

    1. Hi Ruby, I’ve lived in small apartments before too and actually often think while writing these articles that the ideas could work in any tiny home! I’m glad you found me and that you appreciate the ideas! 🙂

  2. genius! Thanks for providing the solution I was looking for 🙂 lampshades are so expensive and I get bored with stuff – so this is perfect.

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