diy {vintage hat box lampshade}


I have so many big projects going on around here. Sometimes I just need to ‘make’, but only have 5 minutes to spare. Earlier this week, I passed by our entryway. I’ve had the same little lamp there for 4 years. Previously it was our old house. I’ve never changed it. So, I decided that would be my 5 minute project for the day. I moved it to the kitchen table to decide what I could do with it. I thought about fabric, hankies, wallpaper, scrapbooking paper…none seemed right. Then I remembered a vintage hat box under a bench that wasn’t really being used. And, thus, a 5 minute project.

Here is the old lamp & shade. I tore off all the black & white paper to get down to the wire frame. I also spray painted the base glossy white.

Next, I marked the center of the box and cut out an opening using an X-acto knife. Finally, I hot glued the original metal frame to the hat box. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

By the way, I had time because I traded kids with a friend. Really trading kids for a day is a genius idea. My three that were at home were so excited about someone new in the house they entertained themselves all day. AND the kid that was traded thought he got the better end of the deal because he got to go a friend’s house. Trading kids…such a great idea ๐Ÿ™‚

Can you put paper airplanes in the compost bin? Because, seriously what else are we going to do with all these?!


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  • Kirsten - the pressing question is: with 4 kids in the house, HOW do you have a chalkboard wall that doesn’t have childish scribbles all over it? i painted a wall near our back door and an entire hallway with chalkboard paint, but I never get to use either of them, as my kiddo covers them within minutes of my wiping them clean!

    (and yes, i LOVE the lamp makeover! so easy!)

  • andy - cute.
    did you just chalkboard paint the corner there.
    like the frame and tree. fun

  • Lindsay - Great project. I could certainly do with a few 5 min ones as I never seem to get any projects done these days. The paper planes should be fine in the compost as long as they’re well mixed in with organic matter – if you’ve got a shredder then it may help to shred them first so they break down quicker, but they’ll still be ok as they are – just a little slower to break down.

  • Lisa Johnson - Love the lamp. Really love the “Campbell Party of Seven” next to it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah - your lamp turned out fantastic! maybe you could hang all those paper airplanes from the “soar” boys room? just an idea…but yes. you could compost them too!

  • Sarah @ Handbags*N*Pigtails - This is brilliant Ashley! As soon as I read it, I ran up to our attic where we’ve been storing my husbands grandmothers hat boxes(full of her hats I might add). This one is a red plaid though and not in the best of shape. Im thinking of covering it with either scrapbook paper or fabric but dont want it to be so dark that no light comes through the shade. Any ideas?

  • Fanni - @Sarah: use hole puncher, you can make several desing, and then the ligth can come out through the lampshade also!

  • Lydia - I used to be on the receiving end of ‘trading kids.’ We would beg her, “Can we pleasssse do a swap?” Little did we know that she loved ‘swaps’ too!

  • Alicia @ La Famille - trading kids IS a great idea! i should do it more often ๐Ÿ™‚ and your lamp is adorable. i especially like it against the chalkboard wall.

  • cailan - Very fun…but of course now I want to see the Whole entryway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Laura - Looks amazing! Did you paint a wall with chalk board paint?

  • Cynthia - Do you get the mpix emails? Firecracker is on their email today! So cute!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Very cute! It turned out great!

  • Amy J. - LOVE IT! … and I love the chalkboard wall…mmmm, good.

  • Pamelotta - I love this! And I think I might just be able to do it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    By the way, I saw your sweet firecracker’s birthday picture in the new Mpix ad I got today. So sweet!

  • Kristen B - Make a mobile with the paper airplanes, hang it above one of the boys beds.

  • brianne - This may be the genius solution I am looking for! I have been searching for just the perfect drum shade online and can’t find anything just right. Maybe i need to change my search criteria to hat box! THANK YOU!

  • kL - brilliant!

  • heather - i love the way your brain works.
    that lamp is just brilliant!!

  • Urska - Wanted to let you know your daughter is shown on Mpix new discount promotion for gallery wrapped pictures. I got a picture of her in the email and the photo is on their website too. Check it out.

  • elizabeth - agh! there IS someone else out there who has a MILLION paper airplanes all over their house {as well as lego’s :0)
    we got this great paper airplane book {}
    i love the paper that came w/ the book but there is a never ceasing supply of them throughout my house.
    sigh. boys ~

  • Amy Liddell - Great transformation! I really love the frame with the chalkboard – is it from Vintage Crush? By the way, I recognized a sweet face in the Mpix e-mail ad this morning!

  • Kathie M - Great Idea…now I want to start going estate “sale”ing! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Michelle Thomas - Too cute! WIth two boys, I see many paper airplanes in my future! By the way, did you see Firecraker’s gallery wrap in the Mpix email today?!

  • Lynnette - I just had to leave a comment when I saw your little girl on the mpix email that I got today. How exciting!

  • Colleen - I’m sure you already know this, but FireCracker is on a canvus on the MPIX e-mail that went out today. Let me know if you need a copy of it. She looks so cute! I loved that photo shoot you did. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, that is too cute!

  • Joy - What a great idea! Your new lamp looks so hip! And I know what you could do with those airplanes – I’ll tag you in a fb picture soon to show you.

  • Rachel- Wildflower Photography - love, love, love this lamp! what an awesome idea…i might steal it…just so you know. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • amy jupin - your blog makes me happy.
    that’s all.

  • tracy ashley - hey ash! i have those exact same lamps (target, about a billion years ago!). you also painted it white, eh? spray paint and primer? the hat box looks absolutely awesome! and i love the little chalkboard sign. thanks for always inspiring me!
    ps, jason and i have almost closed the deal on a piece of land and that means i’ll get to diy my own place soon enough!! can’t wait!

  • Kendra - With regards to the paper airplanes – Mix some flour and water, heat it up, get a few balloons and shred those planes into paper mache material. ( that is what we do here, the kids LOVE it! )

  • Georgia - Love the “Party Of Seven”!

  • gkey - Dear When the ‘light comes on’,

    AWESOME!! I need a new lampshade too…and am contemplating.

    And trading kids? Oh yeah, it Rocks out here that way sometimes with our grandkid-lings and ours still @ home ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your ‘Campbell party of seven’ sign is PERFECT too!

    when it’s
    “Easy peasy lemon squeezy”

  • Katie - Oh my goodness, I love that!

  • Natalie - Oooh what a fun idea! And I love the turquoise chalkboard; did you make it yourself?

  • Kirsten - Party of Seven! Love it. Great project, but that one joyous little number brought a BIG smile to my face.

  • Megan - Ashley- Just stumbled on your blog and love your voice. You rock the slice of life images. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jen - Oh my gosh – what ARE you going to do with all of those paper airplanes??? Because I’d really like to know…since I have an equal number OR MORE in my house, and I’m honestly tired of stepping on them, or grabbing them from my 9.5 month-old’s mouth, or picking them up from my bedroom floor…you get the idea…they are ALL OVER OUR HOUSE! LOL! My 6-yr old and 3.5-yr old twins LOVE to make them!!

  • Beez Rental Designs - This is so cute and easy. Your imagination and creativity is awesome. I am starting a blog party on Tuesday: Frugal Treasures Tuesday! I hope you’ll stop by and link this post. I think my readers would love it as much as I do. I have so many hat boxes and of different sizes and colors. I hear a project calling me! lol I just finished a lampshade this morning that I covered in silk blue for-get-me-nots that I picked up at the dollar store! I will be posting it tomorrow, hope you can stop by and check it out!

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  • Carmen Russell - A wonderful project ,so cute, you did a great job ,keep it up all the best to you.

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