Turn Leggings Into A Lampshade!

So the other day I was hanging out at Tj Maxx looking at clothes and wishing that they were just fabric on a roll so that I could make something amazing out of them.  This happens more frequently than I care to admit…


I saw a pair of super cute tribal leggings and thought “Mands, that would be such a cute pillow.  Or maybe a lampshade.”  Then literally light from Heaven shone down on me I was like “WHAT?!?!??  LAMPSHADE!!!  I could use the leggings to cover a lampshade!!  Oh my gosh.  Has anyone done this before?  (insert quick Google search that came up empty) WHY has no one done this before?!”  And then I skipped all the way to the checkout line.

I also rummaged through my underwear drawer for a few pair that I was willing to sacrifice for the sake of project mode.  Because I am motivated like that.

How To Cover A Lampshade with Leggings

You will need:

Small Lampshade (this one from Target is what I used and it is the perfect size!)

Tights or Leggings in the largest size that you can find (because lets be honest, xs is not realistically going to happen.) If you want some really cute on trend ones check out Forever 21, they have some fantastic patterns!

Hot glue gun

Scissors or Rotary Cutter


Colored lampshades are hard to come by.  I mean, you can spray paint one, but have you ever seen what a spray painted lampshade looks like when the light is on?  It is not good friends.

But tights/leggings?  Freaking fantastic!

First cut the top of the leg off from the body (use the highest point possible to get maximum width!) put your tights over the lampshade.

How To Cover A Lampshade


Glue along the edge.


Trim the excess off the top leaving about 1/2” to work with that you can trim off later.

How To Make A Lampshade

Glue along the edge of your lampshade to attach the leggings

Glue along the edge.

Step back, pat yourself on the back because you my friend, are a genius.

So now that you know the process, let me give you the skinny on the leg huggers.

Nylon Tights work AMAZINGLY well. (You can find the tights that I used for $4.75 here the color is Hot Coral) They will stretch like the day is long.  You might have a little bit of color variation where some is stretched tighter, but I think it looks cool.  To combat it you could run a pencil or something long and skinny between the tights and the shade to loosen the grip up a little bit.  To prevent running you need to cut it with a rotary cutter, so stretch it over your shade and mark where it needs to be cut.  Then take it off the shade and cut it with a rotary cutter.

Nylon tights turned into a lampshade

Lampshade Made From Tights


Cable knit tights work really well too.  They have SO much stretch.  In fact the reason that I decided to use these leggings, is because they get saggy after a few hours of wear, so I knew that there would be zero problem with the stretch.

Cableknit Tights turned into a lampshade

Cableknit Lampshade from tights


Woven leggings are sort of like a Chinese finger trap.  When I did this the first time, I measured the length of the lampshade and added 4” to it.  After putting the bottom on and about 1/2 of the top,  I was having a hard time stretching the rest of it without denting the shade.  It worked so much better the second time around. So learn from my mistakes and put them on the shade, glue the bottom edge down, then cut the excess off and glue the top edge down.

Tribal tights turned into a lampshade!

Lampshade Made From Leggings

A few things that I learned:

Buy the largest size that you can find.  I wouldnt go smaller than at least a medium.

Shop the stuff you already have.  I mean, dont lie.  Everyone has at one time or another bought some funky tights at Forever 21 that you were a little too scared to wear once you got them home and showed your husband.  Those? Perfect for this project.

Lampshades covered in leggings

Can you even believe that this is such an easy fix for a boring/ugly lampshade?  If Billy Mayes were alive and sold blog posts on infomercials he would be lovin this idea. (Did anyone else love that show as much as Court and I did?)

Make sure you check out the other posts in the Mandilicious Christmas series!

How To Make A Giant Pom Pom Throw vintagerevivals

Leather Scrap Triangle Pillow Tutorial


Love Your Guts


  • Kerri @ Simplicity Interrupted 13.12.2013 at 17:44

    What an amazing idea – changes the whole look of the lamps! Thanks for sharing!

  • Brie R 13.12.2013 at 17:55

    freaking genius.

  • Megan M. 13.12.2013 at 17:56

    Genius!! Love the coral one!!

  • Linda Weeks 13.12.2013 at 18:08

    I think you are outrageously talented! What great ideas!

  • Tyesha | House Made Home 13.12.2013 at 18:09

    Oh Mandy these are great!!! I love the tribal one.

  • Brittany D 13.12.2013 at 18:30

    Stop it. You’re a genius!

  • Gwen 13.12.2013 at 18:41

    That’s insane in the membrane! Aren’t brains so cool?

  • Tricia 13.12.2013 at 18:56


  • jackie 13.12.2013 at 19:22

    great idea! did you just use regular fabric/craft glue? or hot glue? I love fun lampshades so this is an awesome idea.
    — jackie @ jade and oak

    • Mandi 13.12.2013 at 19:35

      Just regular hot glue!

  • Ang 13.12.2013 at 19:26

    That is amazing. I can’t wait to spiff up some old vintage lampshades!

  • Lora@Craftivity Designs 13.12.2013 at 19:36

    Freaking Brilliant. Love it. Have a pair of too crazy for me herringbone tights upstairs that will be my first victim!

  • Kate 13.12.2013 at 19:53

    This, my friend, is BRILLIANT! :)

  • Jennifer S 13.12.2013 at 20:08

    This is the best idea anyone on the internet has ever had. Period.

  • Sandra 13.12.2013 at 20:20

    Oh my gosh!! This is freakin fantastic. Totally in awe and can’t wait to try!

  • Erin 13.12.2013 at 20:28

    Mandi, I LOVE how you can look at things simply as materials, instead of only as what they were originally intended for – leggings, plastic straws, leather couches… Thanks for the inspiration!

  • juliana 13.12.2013 at 20:28

    Mandy, no one has done this before because only you could think such things. You are so creative girl. You always inspire me

  • emi 13.12.2013 at 20:37

    This might be the most genius thing I’ve read, EVER. Life-changingly amazing.

  • Michelle - Little Paper Dog 13.12.2013 at 21:22

    Holy flip! You’ve blown my mind with this one. :)

  • Amy@TheBlissfulBee 13.12.2013 at 21:49

    I love the way your brain works. Brilliant as always!

    xo, amy

  • jamie@kreyv 13.12.2013 at 22:43

    Can you say resourceful?! Love them all!

  • Jovan 13.12.2013 at 23:50

    My girlfriend used Christmas stockings on her lamps last year then again for Halloween this year. They are so cute! The possibilities are endless! I thought she was genius too!

  • Steph @ Crafting in the Rain 14.12.2013 at 00:17

    Something about this is so Christmas Story :)
    It’s a LEG(ging) LAMP!

  • Dixie Redmond 14.12.2013 at 00:46

    I had to take the time to say KUDOS on this idea. I am not a leggings girl, but my lamps can be!

  • Sue 14.12.2013 at 01:29

    You are amazing!

  • Jessica @ Decor Adventures 14.12.2013 at 01:42

    Love it!

    So now I’m picturing myself trying to stretch my unworn blue cable tights over the shade in the living room… :-)

  • Judy 14.12.2013 at 03:03

    This is really cute….I will have to try this from my old stash of crazy hose (hope I didn’t throw them all away). Thanks for sharing!

  • Kim 14.12.2013 at 04:16

    What?! You are rocking it this week. Seriously, blown away

  • tristie 14.12.2013 at 05:23

    OH, no you didn’t! Dang, girl! I believe that a light from heaven came down when you thought of this idea. God is a creator and there is a piece of that in all of us. Way to follow in His footsteps!

  • Michelle 14.12.2013 at 05:31

    What the WHAT? You have been killing it lately! Wonder how many pair of leggings I can buy without embarrassing myself…

  • Lisa 14.12.2013 at 05:50

    What a fabulous idea, with all the graphic prints that are out there it makes such a statement piece

  • Erin 14.12.2013 at 06:34

    Awesome! This may be a dumb question: are you putting the shade in the leg or the waist?

    • Mandi 14.12.2013 at 17:20

      The leg!

  • diane streicher 14.12.2013 at 10:26

    As so many others have said before me, you are off the chain this week. Just ridiculously clever and inventive projects. And your photo styling is over the top amazing. Thank you for being you.

  • caroline [the diy nurse] 14.12.2013 at 12:18

    You’re flippin brilliant. Why didn’t I think of this?! Leggings will never be the same for me :p

  • Serena @ Thrift Diving 14.12.2013 at 13:08

    I think you just gave women all over the world a reason to clean our their panty drawers and use those stockings that either has a hole or have never known what to match with anything in their wardrobe. Way to inspire people! :)

    Serena @ Thrift Diving

  • Ellen @ Black and White and Loved All Over 14.12.2013 at 14:00

    You are a damn genius.

  • Adrienne 14.12.2013 at 14:37

    Mandi, you are a beautiful, beautiful genius. I wish I could hug you. This is AMAZING!

  • Jules 14.12.2013 at 16:07

    Can you say “Blowing up Pinterest?” Hottest thing being pinned this morning… no lie. Yay! Way to knock it out of the park yet again!

  • Carissa 14.12.2013 at 16:11

    Genius! I have two naked lampshades right now that I have not known what to do with…problem solved! Thanks for the brilliance.

  • Lisa D. 14.12.2013 at 16:56

    You are brilliant! Really, you inspire me!

  • Andrea 14.12.2013 at 17:31

    You are a freaking genius!!!!! You inspire me to no end!!

  • Megan 14.12.2013 at 17:34

    This is so freaking amazing!

  • Holly Ann 14.12.2013 at 21:30

    You are amazing! Love this idea!

  • Kassidy 15.12.2013 at 19:47

    Forever 21 has quite a few tights on clearance for $3-5!!

  • Kelsie Millet 15.12.2013 at 22:31

    LOVE! How has no one thought of this amazing idea before?? Honestly. Genius my friend. So glad you shared this! :) Just found your blog and may already be addicted…the husband hasn’t been able to pull me away for the last hour…good work on your part :)

  • lauren 16.12.2013 at 00:42

    what an amazing idea!!!

  • Juliana 16.12.2013 at 14:23

    Mandi, which part of the leggings did u use to cover the lampshades?. Did you use the legs part or the top, the waistband? I tried with the legs and it wouldnt fit. I used nylon leggings and they were XL and my lamshade was same size as yours. Can you please advise, because I do not want to give up.

  • Susan 16.12.2013 at 18:44

    How does cutting the stockings with a rotary cutter not cause runs, if scissors will?

    • Mandi 16.12.2013 at 19:03

      It cuts them evenly, if you have it on the shade and then hack at it with scissors it seems to cause them!

  • Jillian 16.12.2013 at 18:48

    Mandi. I am doing a “tribalish room” for my 5 year old do you think the well traveled leggins from forever21 would be cute???

  • Samantha 16.12.2013 at 20:36

    You win the genius awards for turning those unwearable tribal tights into an awesome home good. I salute you.

  • Mindy 17.12.2013 at 16:12

    So cool.

  • Giuditta 20.12.2013 at 12:21

    It’s like you slipped in just before the Oscar’s of Blogging deadline — guarantee you’re going to win Best Blog Director credit — what a ground shaking idea.
    P.S. I’ve already ordered my tights from Target!

  • Kiri 24.12.2013 at 12:46

    What a fabulous idea! I love that you’re googling while in the store to see if anyone else came up with the same idea!! Its true that lampshades don’t have to only be covered in fabric, I’ve seen some unique lampshade projects in 2013, but this one has top be near the top of the list.

  • Colleen Pastoor 29.12.2013 at 00:36

    Oh Mandi. This is life changing. I love your creativity!!

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    First off, this is an awesome project. Second…I laughed so much at the part about buying tights from F21. The moment where my husband would be all…”Yeahhh, where exactly will you wear those???”

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  • ulilampe 19.01.2015 at 13:35

    So wonderful, i like it so much! It´s a great Idea… Thanks for looking

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    Earlier this year I came up with the same concept except for covering; mini lampshades, ceiling light covers, jars, baskets, planters, trays, chairs seats/backs and, bar soap on a knot. But i didn’t think of leggings, nor for larger lamp shades. Great idea.

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      I forgot, you could also cover; canvas alone or art added for a twist on a canvas, picture board or frame and, even decor plates and vases.

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    Love everything about this! Do you think this idea would be as successful on larger lampshades? Opinions or suggestions?


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