Can You Spray Paint A Lamp Shade? (DIY Guide + Pro Tips)

When you feel like sprucing up your home, sometimes a lick of paint is all you need. You may like the shape of those lampshades but dislike the pattern. 

Spray painting is a great alternative to buying new lamp shades, but spray painting in cold weather is risky. We have tips to help you breathe new life into those old lamp shades.

In short, yes you can spray paint a lamp shade and it is a great idea.

Let's explain how.

Spray paint is paint that is stored in a sealed pressurized metal can. The paint comes out from the nozzle in a spray formation when the valve button is pressed down. 

This application differs from other painting styles and offers a lightweight and accessible alternative. You can typically find spray paint in DIY, art projects, and graffiti.  

Spray paint, as a rule, can be used on most materials, including wood, metal, damp cloth, and glass, with the right preparations. You want a smooth and dust-free finish, so cleaning the lampshade and removing tarnishes is an excellent start. 

Spray paint comes in a variety of finishes as well as the paint formulas you love; enamel, lacquer, and epoxy are common ones, but specialist formulas also exist. You may want to pick up a primer as well, but not in all cases. 

People love spray paint as it creates thin, even layers of paint that dry completely quickly without losing vibrancy of spray painted lamp. Available in various colors and finishes, spray paint is more affordable than splashing out on new fabric lampshades, offering an easy facelift for your décor. 

There are a variety of lampshade styles and materials to choose from, and spray paint can be used with most of them.  

Can You Spray Paint A Lamp Shade


Can you spray paint fabric or cloth lampshades? Yes, absolutely. You can choose to coat both the inside and outside or tape off the inside if you prefer. Make sure the painting fabric lamp shade is free of dust/debris before you begin. 


Ceramic lampshades are quickly restyled with spray paint. By putting on a few layers and leaving the spray painted lamp to completely dry, you can see fast results.  


Glass lampshades can be painted with regular spray paint or specialized glass paint formulas. Do your research and see which is best suited for your project and budget. 


Spray painting metal lampshades is easy once you know how. We recommend washing the item and removing any peeling paint or tarnishes before getting to work of spray painted. 

How To Spray Paint A Lamp Shade (Step By Step Guide) 

We have a rough guide on how to spray paint lamp shades; we recommend reading the instructions on the can carefully before starting lampshades. 

Materials Needed

  • Existing lamp shade/s 
  • Protective clothing and face wear 
  • Spray-paint in desired colors or acrylic paint or chalk paint or fabric paint
  • Drop cloths/ newspaper/ plastic bag/ plastic bags/ tarp/ natural fibers 
  • Painter’s tape 
  • Cloths and rags 
  • Lint roller
  • Decals (optional) 

How To Do It

  1. 1
    Ventilate your space carefully and put on your safety gear. 
  2. 2
    Lay down your drop cloths on the floor and objects in the room that you do not want to paint. 
  3. 3
    Take the painting fabric lamp shade off the lamp. 
  4. 4
    Clean the shade, remove any tarnishes, and leave to dry. 
  5. 5
    Cover the top and inside of the painting fabric lamp shade with plastic and tape if necessary. You can also tape on any designs or decals at this stage. 
  6. 6
    Place your shade on the newspapers and drop cloths. 
  7. 7
    Spray primer onto your lamp shade if necessary. Follow the application and drying instructions carefully. 
  8. 8
    Apply two to three layers of acrylic spray paint to your lamp shade, ensuring that you keep the can 6-20 inches away from the lamp shade while providing even coverage.  
  9. 9
    Let each lamp shades layer dry of according to the instructions.  
  10. 10
    Leave your lamp shade to thoroughly dry before handling.
  11. 11
    Check for spots all around the shade where the light shines through and makes it look blotchy.
  12. 12
    Attach your lamp shade to the lamp, checking that the lamp works. 
white table lamp

Why Use Spray Paint On Lamp shades? 

Spray painting lamp shades is a simple task, but why go to the effort instead of buying one? Getting creative with these old shades comes with a range of benefits, including: 

  • Cheaper overall 
  • Prevents more trash from entering landfills via upcycling 
  • An excellent option for those who love the shape but not design 
  • A lightweight and portable method 
  • Quick and easy to do 
  • Range of solid color or darker color and finishes not available on lamp shades in craft stores.
  • Different nozzles create different creative effects 

However, spray paint can have some drawbacks that you need to consider, such as: 

  • The nozzle can squirt or clog if not cared for correctly 
  • Not as cost-effective for large projects 

Important Tips When Spray Painting A Lamp Shade

We have some vital tips when it comes to spray painting your lampshade. 

  • Ventilate your space and wear protective gear. 
  • Use smooth strokes in the same direction, keeping the can 6-10 inches away from the shade’s surface for even coat complete coverage. 
  • Leave the paint to dry according to the instructions. 
  • Clean and repair the shade beforehand. 
  • Consider using a primer base or top thin coat, depending on the project. 
  • Get creative using painters tape and decals for a truly unique style. 

Common Spray Painting Lampshade Questions 

How long does it take to spray paint a lampshade? 

To spray paint a lampshade it will take between 20 minutes to 1 hour.

How long does the paint take to dry on a lamp shade? 

For a lamp shade to dry to the touch, it will take 1-3 hours but it depends on the paint, the base, temperature, humidity, and other factors. We recommend letting the spray paint dry for a couple of hours if you are unsure. 

Is it safe to spray paint a lampshade? 

Yes, it is safe to spray paint your lampshades if you follow basic common sense safety precautions. 


Now that you know how to spray paint a lamp, sprucing up your old favorites should be a breeze. Remember to do your research, follow safety precautions, and get creative to breathe new life into your home décor.