Salvaging an Expensive Lampshade with Men’s Ties

Salvaging an expensive lampshade with men’s ties, you say? Yes!


We bought this lamp from Ethan Allan about 20 years ago, and I remember sticker shock….$300! No more Ethan Allan for this cheapskate! You would hope a $300 lamp and lampshade would be something out of the ordinary and never deteriorate, but maybe I have my head in the sand. After 20 years of dust, the inner lining was in tatters, so I tore it off, but it needed trimming, which I got around to a year later. Yep, I’m pretty prompt.



salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties










salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties









Have you seen the lampshade repurposes on Pinterest, such as using doilies and lace, shredded fabric, or even sweaters? While I admire those looks, I’ve been dying to experiment with my stash of men’s ties. Two things I have a lot of are men’s ties and doilies, so using doilies was Plan B.


I have wide ties, narrow ties, knit and silk ties, ties in pieces, whole ties, pre-knotted ties…everything from Oscar de la Renta to Rush Limbaugh. Did you know there are Rush Limbaugh ties? Yes indeed!


Where can you find ties cheap? Thrift stores, yard sales, and sometimes estate sales. I got most of my stash from an antique shop going out of business. I’ve also put the word out at church that I’m collecting worn or stained ties.


If you think about it, ties have fascinating textures, colors, and designs! In addition to the Rush Limbaugh tie, which is the loudest one on the shade, I found a King Tut tie. Somehow I don’t think Tut wore ties in his day! 🙂  Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration for tie projects. Check them out on my board!….Repurposing Using Men’s Ties. 


salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties
My entire tie stash


Having never done this before, I took my time, and if I do it again, maybe it won’t be an all day-er…LOL. I used 21 ties for this project, but it totally depends on how big the lampshade is. I tried not to obsess over being matchy-matchy. Ties close together aren’t going to match, but they can blend.


Salvaging an Expensive Lampshade with Men’s Ties



You may be surprised, but these are the only supplies other than ties and my sewing scissors. The brush is a stiff bristle I got from a yard sale. Probably any brush besides an artist’s brush would work. The idea is to apply a larger amount of glue than the little bead you get from squeezing the bottle.


salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties


I began by using fabric glue which is fine, but it was too dried out, so I switched to Elmer’s which is good for fabric as well as paper. Mod Podge would probably work too. That was Plan C. Hot glue is not a good idea. It hardens and makes cloth look lumpy, and can cause fabric to tear.


salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties
applying the glue to the tie


I dabbed the glue at the corners where the tie forms the bottom triangle. Placing the tie points at the bottom border of the lampshade covers it and gives a nice decorative edge, like so….


salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties



But I goofed in one spot. It’s not perfect.


salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties




Rather than placing ties side to side, I overlapped them a bit, which gives a nicer look


salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties


I did not do any measuring. I cut the ties off with sewing scissors roughly where I planned to glue them on the underside of the shade. Elmer’s worked fine for this too.


salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties
where the ties are glued down at top of shade


It looks a little messy here, but the bulk and color of the ties prevents this from showing. If I had it to do over, I would remove the inner white lining of the ties to lessen the bulk.


Here’s the finished result! I quite like it. A good thing about this is you can twirl the shade around to a different side when you are tired of one look. I love the pop of color between the two red recliners! What do you think?


salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties



salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties


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salvaging an expensive lampshade with men's ties

38 comments on Salvaging an Expensive Lampshade with Men’s Ties

  1. It actually looks nice, especially there between the red chairs. It is sort of like a patchwork quilt, with the abundance of patterns and colors, and it works.

  2. Well aren’t you the clever one! Very fun idea that could be taken in many directions–thanks so much, Florence, for sharing it with us all at Vintage Charm 🙂

  3. Florence this is such a brilliant repurpose of ties! I love it. You used your creativity to salvage the lamp and now you can have it for another 20 years. After all at that price you won’t begetting another one any time soon.

    1. Believe me, at that price, I won’t ever set foot in Ethan Allan again! Overpriced for sure. Thank you! I’m so pleased with the result! I’m enjoying it so much!

  4. That’s just brilliant Florence. I love the look and it’s such a fun element to add your decor. I think my hubby is going to be missing quite a few ties, hopefully he won’t notice 😉

  5. How very cute is this! I used to go to garage sales twenty some odd years ago and look for men’s ties to use in my crazy quilts I made. I’d also look for prom dresses real cheap. This lamp is a real conversation starter for guests!

    1. Thank you Brenda! I see you WERE able to read it all the way through this time. Hopefully that problem got fixed & somehow it was due to the social share buttons. So do you still have the crazy quilt made with men’s ties? I’d love to see it! Making a quilt is a project I’ve never attempted, but I admire the one I’ve seen made with ties.

  6. Florence, this lamp went from sad to glad. It adds an upbeat funky Tempo to the room. I think it looks great between the red chairs and with the glass birds in the window. It’s perfect for you, since you are a fun original yourself! I may have to start collecting ties.

    1. Thank you Nikki! I think it looks funky too. I always like a little funky in my decor. Yeah, you gotta start collecting ties so you can do you one…LOL. Make pillows too.

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