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How To Make A Unique Denim And Vintage Map Lampshade

When I first started this upcycle I had no intention of combining my two favourite materials to repurpose; old jeans and maps. I was just going to repurpose a scalloped map lampshade for an old floor lamp of mine.

It was when I couldn’t find enough ribbon to trim my paper map lampshade that I got the idea to use repurposed jean seams and hems instead. As I had loads of them. Then as I was glueing the denim trim to the map lampshade, I thought perhaps I could go further with the denim.

So instead of simply painting the lampstand, I decided to cover it with denim fabric.

Denim Upcycled Floor Lamp with A Road Map Lampshade

I now have a unique denim and map floor lamp in my living room, which I love. Using a roadmap of somewhere special adds another personal wow factor to the lampshade.

The shade was made from very old roadmaps, from the days when they were printed on linen paper. I’d picked the roadmaps up from a local flea market for just a couple of pounds which was cheaper than if I’d bought gift wrap or craft paper to use instead.

(Vintage roadmaps are readily available on eBay. This is a good place to look if you want one of a particular area. I also find elderly relatives often have a stash of unwanted out of date roadmaps.)
If you are wondering whether a repurposed paper map lampshade is a fire hazard. The shade of this particular floor lamp is large enough that the paper won’t get near enough to the bulb to get hot. Also, modern LED light bulbs don’t get as hot as old-style bulbs. However, if you are still not convinced it’s simple enough to spray the map shade with some fire-retardant.

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What you need to make an upcycled denim floor lamp with a map lampshade

  • Maps – I used 2 vintage roadmaps, but you can use any maps you want. I have some free printable vintage maps here that you can download and use.
  • Lampshade frame – Scallop lampshades are easy enough to pick up cheaply in flea markets and thrift shops.
  • Strong tacky glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Fabric Mod Podge
  • Heavy paper or card to make a template
  • Pencil & Scissors
  • Ribbon for trim
  • Clothes pegs or bulldog clips
  • Electric staple gun
  • A pair of old jeans, and extra denim waistbands and seams
denim scraps and floor lamps

How to make a Map lampshade for a scallop lamp

Step 1: The first thing to do is to remove the old lampshade cloth so that you are left with just the scallop wireframe.

Scallop Lampshade wire frame

Step 2: Next, scalloped lampshades are often divided into 8 equal sections. Using the paper make a template of one of the sections, but make it with a seam allowance of approx 10mm all the way around.

Step3:Then, place the template on the map and draw around it with a pencil. Next, cut out the map shape. Make sure you have 8 of these, one for each section of the scalloped lamp shade.

Cutting out map section for scallop lampshade

Step 4: The next thing to do is to smear strong tacky glue onto one wire section of the lampshade and carefully stick down the map. Do not use the hot glue gun as that dries too quickly. You will want time to manoeuvre the map into place before the glue sets.

Gluing map to wire lampshade frame

Step 5: Then, place the glue onto the wire of the next section of the lampshade. Also, apply glue to the long edge of the next map section. As you stick down this map to the lampshade glue the two edges of the maps together along the 10mm seam.

Pinching map edges together
Gluing road map to lampshade frame

Step 6: Repeat this process, until the whole of the lampshade wire is covered in maps. Be careful not to damage the bottom edge of the lampshade as you work. So either work with the shade in place on the floor lampstand, or upside down.

Recovering a scalloped lampshade with vintage maps

Step 7: Next, to neaten up the top edge of the lampshade, using fabric glue, stick ribbon around the top of the wireframe.

Sticking on top ribbon to lampshade

Step 8: Finally, to finish off the lampshade, cut the denim seams to the size of each section. There will be 8 pieces in total. Cover each piece of denim trim with fabric Mod Podge and stick them to the bottom scalloped edge of the map lampshade.
Keep the trim in place with clothes pegs and clips as the glue dries.

Sticking denim trim to map lampshade

How Make A Denim Floor Lamp

Step 1: First, dismantle the floor lamp. With most floor lamps, you should be able to unscrew the base and then the stand. To cover the base in denim place the base on top of a large piece of denim. Such as a leg opened out at the seam.

Step 2: Draw around the base onto the denim with a generous seam allowance. Cut out the denim piece and wrap it around the base securing it in place with a staple gun underneath. Find where the hole in the base is for the lampstand to screw it in is. Cutaway the denim to expose this hole and stick down the edges with fabric glue to protect them from fraying.

Covering the base of a floor lamp in denim

Step 3: Use a combination of denim waistbands and seams to cover the lampstand. First, paste the denim strip (waistband or seam) with fabric Mod Podge on the wrong side. Attach one end of the denim strip to the end of the lampstand with a hot glue gun.

Then wrap the denim strip around the stand in a spiral, making sure all the wood is covered. Secure the end of the strip with hot glue. Start the next denim spiral where the last one finished. Continue until the whole stand is covered.

The hot glue holds the denim in place as the fabric glue dries.

Covering floor lampstand in denim

 When the glue has dried, screw your lampstand back together and put it on the map lampshade. If you’ve bought an old floor lamp you may need to re-wire it. This is very simple and you can easily buy new electrics for your lamp.

I love that I managed to repurpose two of my favourite things, jeans and maps with this floor lamp. If I had just painted the lampstand it would have still looked lovely with the vintage map lampshade. But I just couldn’t help myself and had to add denim when I saw the possibility! It all goes really well with the decor in my house.

Upcycled Vintage denim and road map floor lamp
Vintage denim and road map floor lamp
Upcycled vintage map lampshade
Upcycled denim floor lamp with map lampshade
Awesome Denim DIYs for the home

Don’t forget to check out my other lamp hacks including a unique denim table lamp, applique felt lampshade and denim upholstery ideas for the home.

If you are looking for more ideas to repurpose those old jeans check out this A to Z of Denim crafts.

Check out these other vintage map lampshade ideas.

the best vintage map lamp ideas



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Wednesday 29th of January 2020

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Tuesday 26th of February 2019

I love this idea ?..but the wrapped denim makes it look crafty,I'm thinking jute twine instead ,love the pictures and your information was very very helpful.

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 27th of February 2019

Good luck with it and I’m sure the wrapped twine wil look good too.

Linda at Mixed Kreations

Sunday 13th of January 2019

Oh how cool! Love the map shade and adding the demin is a nice touch. Love your demin planter as well. Super cute.

Claire Armstrong

Monday 14th of January 2019

Thank you, Linda. I made the planters last year.


Wednesday 9th of January 2019

Very cute, love the different textures on this lamp. Maria

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

Thank you so much Maria

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Saturday 5th of January 2019

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