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 lampshades, but spray painting in cold weather is risky. We have tips to help you breathe new life into those old lampshades.

In short, yes. 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, 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 quickly without losing vibrancy. Available in various colors and finishes, spray paint is more affordable than splashing out on new 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 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 them to 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. 

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

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


  • Lampshade/s 
  • Protective clothing and face wear 
  • Spray-paint in desired colors 
  • Dropcloths/newspaper/plastic bags/tarp 
  • Painter’s tape 
  • Cloths and rags 
  • Decals (optional) 
  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 lampshade off the lamp. 
  4. 4
    Clean the shade, remove any tarnishes, and leave to dry. 
  5. 5
    Cover the top and inside of the lampshade 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 dropcloths. 
  7. 7
    Spray primer onto your lampshade if necessary. Follow the application and drying instructions carefully. 
  8. 8
    Apply two to three layers of spray paint to your lampshade, ensuring that you keep the can 6-20 inches away from the lampshade while providing even coverage.  
  9. 9
    Let each layer dry according to the instructions.  
  10. 10
    Leave your lampshade to thoroughly dry before handling. 
  11. 11
    Attach your lampshade to the lamp, checking that the lamp works. 
white table lamp

Why Use Spray Paint On Lampshades? 

Spray painting lampshades 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 colors and finishes not available on lampshades in store 
  • 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 
spray gun

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 coverage. 
  • Leave the paint to dry according to the instructions. 
  • Clean and repair the shade beforehand. 
  • Consider using a primer base or topcoat, depending on the project. 
  • Get creative using painter’s tape and decals for a truly unique style. 

Common Spray Painting Lampshade Questions 

How long does it take to spray paint a lampshade? 

That depends on the paint, the base, temperature, humidity, and other factors. However, spray paint often takes between 20 and 30 minutes to dry to the touch. 

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

This will also vary depending on the factors described above. As a rule, we recommend letting the spray paint dry for a couple of hours if you are unsure. 

Is it safe to spray paint a lampshade? 

It is safe to spray paint your lampshades if you follow safety precautions. We especially recommend wearing protective clothing and face wear as well as ventilating the painting space throughout the painting process. 


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.