Fishing Pail Lamp Shade Makeover

My love of vintage and antique items definitely came from my parents. I grew up around items that most kids my age didn’t have a clue about let alone appreciate. Lately my parents have been going to auctions and finding a bunch of awesome stuff, which I am very jealous about. So, while they were visiting over the Thanksgiving holiday we all had to go out to a local antique store to see what they had to offer. Finding items that my parents couldn’t live without but still fit into a suitcase to take home was definitely challenging, but it was still a fun day.

The biggest thing that I found was an old fishing pail that I transformed into a lampshade. I have been noticing this look all throughout blog land and in certain catalogs. There was also a booth at the antique store that was selling similar lamps but with more frills to them. I have had this lamp for years but have never liked the look of it, consequently it ended up in my bedroom where no one else could see it. Now that it is in a more public viewing area, ie. my living room, I knew it needed an update. Took me over two years to finally do something though!

When my parents and I got home I couldnt wait to get started on my lamp make over. Lucky for me my dad was a good sport and helped me out, even with all the timeouts for taking photos. He was also the mastermind behind drilling a hole in the bottom of the pail. I originally wanted the top to be used for the bottom but it was too wobbly and just didnt work.

This was a very basic project and took literally 5 minutes to make. It might have been faster if our drill battery didn’t keep dying on us. Luckily there was an extra one that had more juice. Make sure that your item that is going to be the lampshade is clean and ready to be installed afterwards.

We also matched up our circle saw to the size of the shade ring from the old lamp shade. This allowed us to secure the whole thing together. Depending on what you have to work with, you may or may not have to do this step.

This is looking down into the pail. Our hole is already drilled and the pail is sitting on top of the stand. Now all that we did was screw on the shade ring and then put in the light bulb to finish it off.


The shade ring keeps the pail in place and the top has a bit of character with the lid popped open like this. For now I am leaving it as is, but I may find that I don’t like staring at a naked light bulb and may enclose it with parchment paper or fabric to hide it.

Do you have a project that needs to be done and are just waiting for the right piece of inspiration? Share your thoughts, frustrations and success stories with us!

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