If your glass lamp shade is looking lackluster or dull, consider painting it. A quick coat of glass paint can transform any lamp shade from boring to interesting. If you have more time on your hands, you can even add a stencil. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can turn a paneled lamp shade into a faux stained glass lamp shade instead!
Remove, clean, and dry the lamp shade. Remove the shade from your lamp. Wash the shade with warm, soapy water, then rinse it off. Dry the shade off with a paper towel.
2. Wipe the surface down with rubbing alcohol. This will remove any oils or residue that might prevent the paint from sticking. From now on, only handle the lamp shade from the inside, otherwise you might get those oils on the part you're painting.
3. Pour your desired glass paint into a disposable container. You can find glass paint in the glass painting section of a craft store. It comes in many different finishes, including translucent, opaque, glossy, and matte. Some glass paints even have sparkles in them!
4. Make your own paint with glue and dye if you cannot find glass paint. Choose a decoupage glue (e.g. Mod Podge) in a finish that you like: glossy, satin, or matte. Pour enough glue to coat your lamp shade into a disposable container, then stir in 1 to 5 drops of food coloring. Keep stirring until the color is consistent and no streaks remain.
5. Apply the paint to the outside of the lamp shade. Hold the lamp shade from the inside, and apply the paint with a wide, flat brush. Make all of your brushstrokes point in the same direction: up-and-down or side-to-side. Apply a light, even coat to reduce brushstrokes.
6. Let the paint dry and cure in a dust-free place. How long this takes depends on the type of paint you used. Glass paint can take up to 24 hours to dry, while decoupage glue will only need a few hours. Some paints also have a curing time, so double-check the label.
7. Apply a second coat of paint, if desired, and let it dry. This will give you a more opaque finish and help conceal any brushstrokes. Alternatively, you can paint the inside of the lamp shade--just be sure to wipe the inside down with rubbing alcohol first.How long this takes depends on the type of paint you used, so check the bottle to be sure.
8. Reassemble the lamp once the paint has dried. If the paint still feels tacky, it has not finished curing yet. Let the lamp dry for a few more days before you reassemble it. If you try to put it back together too soon, the sticky paint will pick up dust and dirt.