Hand Painted Tree Bark Lampshade

I have another DIY tutorial for you today! It only takes minimal art skills, a vintage lampshade, seam binding and rope.

My motto for this year has been "to use what I have" (within reason of course) because I have so much stuff that I want to challenge myself to see things in new and creative ways, not only to save money, but also space in our small home. If you have followed me for awhile you may recall me mentioning my "hoarders" basement a time or two.

I had been wanting another lamp in the living room, and contemplated buying one, but I reminded myself of my motto and set to work to be creative.

I had a pair of vintage lampshades with gold trim, one currently being used in my bedroom, the other taking up space in that basement of mine. I started looking at it, and thought about painting tree bark on it. Why tree bark? Well, I want to keep a rustic, woodsy style in the living room and thought that would fit perfectly. I wasn't that attached to the shade, so if it didn't work out, I wasn't worried.

I began by removing the trim (photographed it after, sorry! It was not that special though, believe me).
I used gray acrylic paint mixed with a bit of water and a small paint brush.

Now, I'm not gonna lie...I do have art skills. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and painting since high school. I studied art in college and have made a living selling my art in the past. That being said, I do think only basic skills are needed for this. If you can mix paint with a little bit of water, paint some lines - they shouldn't even be straight - then you can do this! The hardest part you may have is painting the "knots" in the wood. I would suggest looking at illustrations or images of tree bark on Google (that's what I did). You can follow those images as a guide.
Begin by painting some not-very straight lines and then, here and there, add knots in various sizes. Keep your brush strokes light, varying the pressure as you paint each line and knot.

I used a lampshade with texture to it, and I think that helped in making this project pretty forgiving. But, I would still be willing to try it on a smooth shade to see how that worked out too.

Acrylic paint dries fairly quickly, so this part didn't take me long at all. Maybe 20 minutes?

At that point, I was wasn't sure how I wanted to finish off the top and bottom, so I set off to find a lamp to go with it. Again, I chose to "shop" my basement. It took me awhile, but I ended up finding this one down there:
It is a vintage lamp, so I was a little worried since I didn't know if it would work. The cord was in really good shape, and when I turned it on it worked just fine. Success!

It had plastic "crystals" with many of them missing, so I removed all of the remaining ones and cleaned it up shiny as new.

I still wasn't sure how I wanted to finish off the shade, but I needed to cover up the paint on the very top, so I decided to add some gray seam binding ribbon that I had on hand. I glued it to the outside and inside of the top and outside of the bottom.
Then when I was at Lowe's over the weekend (picking out the hardware for my kitchen make-over, whoo hoo! You can sort of see it in the background.), I came across this rope and knew it would be the perfect finishing touch:
I hot glued the rope around the very top and very bottom.
And then did another strip around the edge of the seam binding on both the top and bottom.

And here is the finished product:
I am so happy with how it turned out. It fits in perfectly with our living room decor and didn't cost me a thing!
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and I would love to hear if you try it! If you enjoy my posts, I hope that you will consider following me by email (see top of my blog) to receive posts directly to your inbox, or through Google Friend Connect (see sidebar), Facebook, Pinterest or Google+. Then you can stay up to date with all of my latest posts!

Linking up with:

Till next time...wishing you all a wonderful week! Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
~Alice W.


  1. Hi Alice in wonderland :)
    Yes so cool, and I think you did well with using the textured shade it adds grain to the grain :)
    I think this would look super cool in your sons room, with natural elements like a raw material bed frame like a rope woven bed, or some dear antlers mounted on the wall and a bit of a Nordic boyish feel to your creativeness.

    See you soon :)


    1. Love that idea Doré! And with the way I rearrange things around here I will probably do it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. HALLÖ ALICE.... eine sehr schöne IDEE..... liebe GRÜße AUS TIROL.. de BIRGIT

  3. Wonderful idea, Alice. The rope was indeed the perfect finishing touch.

  4. I love this! Don't be surprised if you see something similar in PB soon......very inspirational. We also like the "woodsy" look in our home. We live in Oregon and it seems to lend itself to our decor. Actually I like to call my style 'Romantic Rustic' because I always throw a good amount of florals into the mix.......:).

  5. This is just awesome! And thank you for being honest about your art skills. Sometimes that, "If I can do it, anyone can do it" phrase really hurts when you mess up. Your directions were very clear. I'm off to hunt down an old lampshade! :)


    1. Thanks Jane! Hope it works out for you if you try it! :)

  6. Very cute, nice work!

    Gigi @ Old World Patina

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Oh- I have a feeling that this is gonna be copied all over blogland...and I hope YOU get the credit for it. What a neat transformation! Love it-xo Diana

  9. That looks amazing! Pinned! ~Lisa @ Practically Perfect Home

    1. Thank you! Saw your pin! Appreciate it! :)

  10. I can't believe you hand painted this! It's gorgeous! Beautiful job.

  11. Love, love, love this, Alice! Pinned it and featuring you on social media. Thanks so much for linking up to the Wildly Original link party.
    <3 Christina @ I Gotta Create!

  12. This is absolutely amazing!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Totally pinning it to the BHG board!

    Happy day!

  13. If you would ask me I love DIY room decors! When I see my room decorated in my own style, it is so happy to rest and sleep all day.


Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments! I love to hear from you! ~Alice W.

Popular Posts