Lampshade Repair

by Jet

Hi Sue,

I am repairing a basic lampshade where the foil seams have come away from 4 out of 6 panels, and the lampshade has collapsed out of shape. The glass is all good, the design is simeple. But when I try to remove any of the pieces, it takes the adjoining foil with it, causing more damage.
The black patina is extremely difficult to clean off even with wire wool and wire brush, so I don't know if I have to heat up the solder to pull the empty foil strip off the adjoining glass, or if there is another option. I just don't feel the soldered seams are getting clean enough for me to heat them up with an iron. Is ther a quick and easy way to remove/refoil/replace lampshade pieces?
Thanks heaps!


Hi Jet,

You will need to heat up the solder to get the pieces apart. Go to Repairing Copper Foil to see how I use aluminum strips, from soft drink or beer cans, to get pieces apart. That should make your job much easier.

It sounds like you might have to take some of the panels apart and re-foil them. When you put it back together, run some copper wire from the bottom to the top of every other panel with enough sticking out each end, so the wires will attach to the vase cap when it is soldered on, and the wire around the bottom of the shade will also attach to those wires. You will be making a framework of wire that will hold the shade together and prevent it from collapsing again.

By the way, the heat from your iron will burn off any patina that's on the seams.

Comments for Lampshade Repair

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Nov 19, 2009
Lampshade Repair Finished
by: Jet

Hi Sue,
Job done! Thanks for the hint with the aluminium can strips. I was impressed by the concept, and how effective it was. I gave it a go on my repair lamp and was thrilled with the area that I did apply it to, but was concerned that the glass would crack from me working in one spot for too long!! Do you use 80 or 100watt for such a job? And does over-heated glass become an issue for you?
I ended up pulling the larger panels apart and refoiling them, and the adjoining sides. It might have taken a bit longer, but it was a success. I appreciate the boost of confidence that your advice provided, so thanks very much.


Hi Jet,

The only iron I have is a 100 watt Weller but it has an 80 watt tip in it...Weller irons work differently than most, as the tip defines the temperature of the iron.

No I don't worry about the glass cracking as long as I move slowly and steadly along the seam when I'm using the aluminum strips. Don't get me wrong, of course there has been an occasional crack over the years, but I don't worry about it happening.

Most offen a crack will happen because there is already an underlying problem with the glass. There might be a chip along the edge or a very small fissure that is going to run as soon as heat is applied. Occasionally (actually very seldom) it can be the glass itself...the way it was annealed or an impurity in one of the ingredients. Anyway, don't spend your time worrying about cracking the glass. In most instances it will happen no matter how careful you are and when it does happen it will always make you wonder what you did wrong. Most times you didn't do anything wrong, it was going to happen no matter how careful you were.

Nov 16, 2009
Lampshade repair
by: Jet

Thanks Sue,
Aluminium strips sound like they are going to be a treat. I thought the job would be quick and easy as the bottom "skirt" is all strong and intact, just the top 6 panels under the cap are caving in. I think the aluminium strips will be great. Thanks for your wisdom!

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