How to Repair a Paper Lamp

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Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle

  • Cup or bowl

  • Blow dryer

  • Scissors

  • Tissue or thin paper

  • Glue, archival quality and acid-free

  • Brush

  • Wax paper

  • Double-sided tape

  • Masking tape

A modern paper lamp shade.

Light, beautiful and incredibly fragile, paper lamp shades get punctures, tears, or simply just fall apart more readily than practically any other household item. So why bother keeping them? Because they're easier to fix than any item too. While replacing a lamp shade can cost upward of $20, fixing it takes only a few cheap items and no one will ever be the wiser.

How to Repair Punctures or Tears

Step 1

Spray any misshaped or dented areas with a fine mist of water. If the damaged area is not misshapen, skip to step 4.

Step 2

Place a cup or bowl inside the shade to push the damaged area back to the desired shape. Ignore any gaps or tears for now, just focus on making the surface smooth.

Step 3

Dry the misshaped area with a blow dryer, keeping the cup or bowl in place for support.

Step 4

Cut a small piece of tissue or thin craft paper to a size only slightly larger than any holes or gaps. Try to get paper that matches the color of your shade. If the tear realigns on its own, no extra paper is needed.

Step 5

Brush a thin layer of archival quality, acid-free paper glue on the inside of the shade over the damaged area. If you are not going to use a patch, make sure to glue between any overlapping areas.

Step 6

Lay the patch paper over the damaged area from the inside and lightly press into place. If no patch is needed, place a piece of wax paper over the damaged area and apply light pressure to the mend.

Step 7

Remove the wax paper and allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

How to Reattach an Interior Ring

Step 1

Cut several pieces of double-stick tape and place them inside the lamp shade where the ring used to be.

Step 2

Remove the wax paper from the back of the tape.

Step 3

Place the ring back into place, applying pressure around the edges where it hits the tape.

Step 4

Cut a piece of masking tape a couple inches long.

Step 5

Cut small notches along both sides of the tape every centimeter or so. Depending on the tightness of the curve, you may need more or less notches.

Step 6

Press one side of the tape along the top of the ring. The notches should help the tape curve with the ring.

Step 7

Press the other side of the tape down over the ring and onto the inside of the shade.

Step 8

Repeat adding strips of masking tape around the ring until it is secure.


Paper needs acid-free, archival glue to keep it from deteriorating or yellowing. Paper glue also dries very clear, which makes it ideal for a lamp shade. This type of glue is usually found in craft stores with the scrapbooking supplies.

When buying double-stick tape, look for a higher quality craft tape that comes with wax paper on one side, as opposed to clear double stick tape that comes exposed.

If masking tape does not match the inside of your shade, look for a colored paper tape.


Leah Noble

Based in Seattle, Leah Noble has been writing instructional articles since 2010. Previously a teacher, Noble has been writing and teaching unpublished "how to" information for many years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in art studio with a minor in English from the University of California at Davis.