Drum Shade Light Fixture - DIY

I've been stalled in the kid's bathroom by mirror trim that I know exists somewhere but is currently hiding from me.  I mean, I can find a trim solution easily by walking through Home Depot and Lowe's but I'm pretty determined to do this under 10 bucks so that's where I'm getting stuck.  Our local ReStore is all out of trim so no luck there and I know I saw something I could use at a store somewhere in the past month but I can't remember where it was.  This is where decorating on a slim budget gets fun...the patience part.  ;)  

So, while we're getting closer to a reveal post (and let me tell you, it is looking so good!), I'll let you in on a quick little update I put up last week.  Up being a very literal word for it.

Unlike most of the other brass, flush mount light fixtures in this house, the one in the kids' bathroom (there's another in the master bath) was not one to love.  It was not only boring and too small...

but the shade was bedecked with a grapevine and I'm pretty sure that look went in and quickly out of style back in 1983...just enough time for this home's owner to grab a couple before they were pulled from the shelves after the designer realized his/her beautiful grape-laden glass shade was in fact, not so beautiful.  Not a true story for fact but just a probably true one.  Also, if you love the grapes, it's ok.  To each his own.  Personally, I'd rather have my grapes in the form of wine or mixed into chicken salad.  ;)  

Whoop, there it is:

(Pardon a few bad photos to follow - it's really hard to photograph an interior light with an ancient iPhone with zero natural light and no fancy lighting equipment.  I think you'll get the jist though.)

No harm done though because the grapes came down easily and were replaced by a much better shade in under 10 minutes.

This little upgrade is fun not only because it's quick, but because it is super easy to do. You don't need any tools, just a few simple supplies.
First, I took off the grape shade.  It was held on with these three screws around the outside of the fixture.  The glass shade has a rim on it and, slipped up into the metal casing, the screws are tightened to fit inside that rim and hold the shade on.  So it was simply a matter of holding the shade in one hand and unscrewing the screws with the other until they were loose enough that the shade slipped right off.

Now I could put up the new shade - a drum shade with a three-legged spider fitting at the top.  I found a small 12" shade at Dirt Cheap a long time ago for something like $5 and it had been hanging in our hallway similarly to how it's now hanging in the bathroom.  I robbed Peter (the hallway) to save Paul (the bathroom) but it's ok because it was never the permanent solution to light up the hallway anyway.  The plan right now is to grab a couple of these* to hang in both hallways at our house so now we're just one step closer.  :)

This worked so well because the drum shades legs matched up perfectly with the location of the screws around the base of the existing fixture.  So if this project sounds like it's right up your alley, you'll just have to find a shade with the same amount of legs as there are screws on your light fixture.  The other thing about this shade that made it a perfect match was that the spider wasn't perfectly in line horizontally with the top of the shade; it was set down inside the shade, allowing space for the light bulb.

To attach the shade to the base, I used very specialized items called paper clips.  Very specialized.  Only used for this sort of thing and very expensive.  Make sure you spell the name right when you go to stores filled with special items to find them.  P-A-P-E-R space C-L-I-P-S.  Ok, here's a link to the ones I used - paper clips* - but don't be too shocked when you see that price tag.

I used a few white paper clips out of the bunch just because I like when things match and I didn't know if you'd be able to pick up on another color behind the shade when the light was on.

Every fixture will require a little different use of the paper clips and it just takes a little bit of eye ball measuring to figure out how it they'll work on yours but I opened up one side of the paper clips so that they looked just like a piece of rubberized metal with a hook at each end.  Opening up the clip to extend it ensured that the light bulb had enough room and wasn't touching the spider and also allowed the pretty brass of the base to be seen even with the new shade on.  I hooked the side with the tighter hook onto the spider leg of the shade.  

The other side got hooked onto the screws on the base of the light fixture.

There was a little bit of quick maneuvering that had to happen for the shade to hang level - moving the paper clips up and down the legs to find that perfect spot - but really this project was just that simple.  Well, until I decided after living with the shade as-is for a week that it was still a little too plain.

Off it came as quickly as it went up and, armed with some pom pom trim I've had for years and a smidge of hot glue, it got gussied up.  Took me five minutes, tops.

 It's way more fun this way because it's a nod to another thing in the bathroom I've added that you'll see in the reveal...can't wait!

Side note:  No, I didn't paint the base gold.  It was already gold but the lack of light it received from the old shade made it look a lot darker.  Now, with new shade making all of that light bounce around, it's brought out the full potential of that gold, making it look 100 times brighter.  It was an unexpected bonus.

If you've got a light fixture like this in your house that you now can't wait to makeover, here's what you'll need:
--a lamp shade - The hardest part about this project might be finding the right shade.  You'll need to pay attention to the number of screws on the fixture base and the number of legs on the shades spider fitting.  You'll also need to make sure the placement of the spider fitting allows enough room for the bulb so that the two don't touch since bulbs can get hot.  If you can't find a shade, you can always attempt making your own - here's my tutorial.  I found this lamp shade from Ikea that's a great size for a smaller base like mine but it doesn't show any photos of what the spider looks like so if you're lucky enough to live by that big blue and yellow store, go check it out (and let me know, if you think of it, so I can update the post!)  My shade came with a diffuser that's basically just a flat piece of fabric-covered plastic with a ring around it that fits into the bottom of the shade.  (The one I linked to is so expensive for what it is but it gives a visual.  I'd encourage you to DIY one if you're up for it!  YHL has a great tutorial, along with another light fixture makeover, here!)  A diffuser is not totally necessary but it does cover up the underside of the base that's probably not the prettiest once the shade is gone.  But does anyone really look up into a light fixture with an exposed light bulb with the light on anyway?  Do you want to ruin your eyeballs?  I don't know...  It is 2020 and people have done worse things.  If you really don't like the underside visible, you could always just keep the existing shade on and cover it up with the lamp shade.  It depends on your particular fixture whether the screws would still have room to hold a paper clip and hold the shade in also.  Mine would be able to so I'm going to guess it's pretty likely.
--paper clips* - I used small ones since I had them already but large ones* would work too, especially if you need more length.  I would however, try to use the rubberized ones.  They "grip" the metal legs better, keeping both the paper clips and shade in place.
And if you want to go the extra, decorative mile...aka, the scenic route, you'll need:
-pom pom* or any other type of trim or elastic* - here's a tutorial on how to attach so it's easily removable later in case you change your mind

Pssst...I also wrote this post way back in 2013, showing how to add shades to ceiling fans and also threw in some ideas on options other than drum shades.

If your house was lucky enough to have avoided the grapevine light fixture flop but you just like the look, here are some similar fixtures:
1*    //    2     //    3*     //    4

If you take on this fun little project, I'd love to see!  I got randomly logged out of Instagram a couple of weeks ago and decided not to go back for awhile so you can either email me - beaninlove@gmail.com - or stick it on Facebook and tag me at Bean In Love.

Have a great weekend!  Maybe it will usher in a new light fixture project!  ;)

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*These links are affiliate links which means that, if you click over and/or make a purchase through the link, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  All of these links will lead you to things we actually paid for or that are similar to the item we paid for in case ours is thrifted/sold out/secondhand/handmade.  This extra money helps us with the costs of running the blog and buying spray paint...ha!  Thank you for your support and for fueling our love to share all things DIY!

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