What Kind of Paint to Use on a Lamp Shade And How?

Painting a lampshade can be a fun and rewarding DIY project that allows you to personalize your lighting and add a pop of color to a room. It’s also a budget-friendly way to refresh an old lamp or make a thrift store find to match your home’s décor. But not every paint is suitable to use on a lampshade.

The best paint type on a lampshade is non-toxic, water-based acrylic paint. Apply the paint in thin layers and allow it to dry fully between coats. Use a soft brush and apply the paint in even strokes for best results.

Let’s explore the various types of paint that can be used on a lampshade and help you choose the best one for your project.

What To Consider When Choosing Paint For A Lamp Shade?

When painting a lampshade, the type of paint you choose is just as important as the shade material itself. Different types of paint have different properties that make them suitable for certain surfaces and applications.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing paint for a lampshade:

Type Of Shade Material

Different types of paint are better suited for certain materials. For example, fabric shades require flexible paint that can withstand heat, such as fabric or spray paint.

Paper shades may be more delicate, so you’ll want to use lightweight paint that won’t cause the paper to wrinkle or tear. Metal shades may require a paint that is resistant to rust and chipping, such as enamel or spray paint.

Desired Finish

Do you want a matte, gloss, or something in between? Different types of paint can give you different finishes, so consider what look you are going for when choosing your paint.

Intended Use

Think about how the lamp will be used. If it is a bedside lamp that will be used for reading, you may want a softer, more diffuse light. In this case, a matte finish paint may be more suitable.

If the lamp is more of a decorative piece that will be used to brighten up a room, a gloss finish paint may give it more of a “wow” factor.

Paint Recommendation For Different Types Of Lampshades

As we already said, not every paint can be used to paint a lampshade because all lampshades are not made with the same material. So based on these factors, here are some recommendations for specific types of paint based on different lampshade materials:

Fabric Shades

Fabric paint, spray paint, or acrylic paint are all good options for fabric shades. Just be sure to choose a paint that is specifically designed for use on fabric, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for heat setting the paint to make it permanent.

Paper shades

Lightweight paints such as watercolor or gouache are good choices for paper shades. You may also be able to use thinned-down acrylic paint or tempera paint. Just be careful not to use too much paint, which could cause the paper to wrinkle or tear.

Metal Shades

Enamel or spray paint are good options for metal shades. Just be sure to choose a paint that is specifically designed for use on metal and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying and curing times.

No matter what type of paint you choose, be sure to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the shade before committing to the full project. This will allow you to see how the paint looks and dries and make any necessary adjustments before proceeding.

Can Solar Reflective Paint Be Used on Lamp Shades for Added Benefits?

Many people wonder about the possibility of using solar reflective paint on lamp shades for added benefits. While it can help increase energy efficiency by reflecting sunlight, it may also alter the aesthetics of the lamp shades. Considering the solar reflective paint pros and cons is essential before applying it.

How To Paint Your Lampshade?

Now that you’ve chosen the right paint for your lampshade and prepared it for painting, it’s time to get to work! Here are the steps to take to paint your lampshade:

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Make sure you have everything you need on hand before you start painting. This could include the paint,

  • A brush or roller (depending on the type of paint you are using),
  • A cloth for wiping up any drips or spills
  • Any decorative elements you want to add (Stencils, decoupage papers, glitter).

Step 2: Apply The Paint

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the paint to your lampshade. This may involve using thin, even coats and allowing sufficient drying time between coats. Be sure to pay attention to the edges and corners of the shade, as these areas may require extra care to avoid drips or brush marks.

Step 3: Add Any Decorative Touches

If you want to add decorative touches to your painted lampshade, now is the time. You can use stencils to create patterns or designs or add layers of decoupage paper or glitter to give the shade a more textured or shimmering finish. Just be sure to let the base coat of paint dry completely before adding any additional elements.

Step 4: Sealing

Once the paint is dry, you may need to seal it to protect it and increase its durability. This is especially important if you use fabric paint or if the lampshade will be heated or moist. You can use a clear sealant or varnish to seal the paint, following the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times.

Can You Paint A Lampshade With Chalk Paint?

It is possible to paint a lampshade with chalk paint. Chalk paint is a popular choice for furniture and home décor projects because of its thick, matte finish and easy application.

Chalk paint is perfect for painting a lampshade because it adheres to the surface without needing a primer and can easily be distressed for a more vintage look.

However, chalk paint is suitable for metal and wood surfaces. So make sure your lampshade is built with these materials unless you end up with a mess. When painting a lampshade, it’s important to use a brush specifically designed for painting on fabric and always to use a light layer of paint. To ensure the paint adheres to the lampshade, use a heat gun or hair dryer to apply light heat to the lampshade after each coat of paint is applied.


Painting a lampshade is a fun and budget-friendly way to personalize your lighting and add a pop of color to a room. You can achieve a professional-looking finish by choosing the right paint for your shade material, preparing the shade properly, and taking the time to apply the paint.

Just be sure to select a paint that is appropriate for the shade material and use, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times.

We hope this article has given you the confidence to try your hand at painting your lampshade.

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