DIY Glitter New York Skyline Lamp Shade


So not all projects turn out how you started them and this was one of them for me.  When I started off this project originally I realised it wasn’t working so I had to improvise or throw out a lamp shade 🙂

I’m going to tell you what this started as…I was trying to put little pin holes in the lamp shade in the shape of the New York skyline and then paint the lamp black.  Then when the lamp was on the light would shine out the little pin holes and light up the New York skyline.  This did not happen haha.

About 20 minutes into the project I realised this wasn’t gonna work for me because there was a special backing on the inside of the lamp shade which was kind of like hard plastic.  When I was trying to poke through the lamp shade with the pin (which by the way left me with a permanent dint in my finger and a throbbing pain for about a week!) the plastic was just cracking and falling off on the inside!!  However I am nothing if not persistent.

I kept going for a few buildings then I painted that little bit and turned off all the lights in the sitting room, plugged in the lamp……turned it on…….and yeah you guessed it, it didn’t shine out the pin holes.  The plastic was still blocking the holes and a few other weird things were going on with the lamp, anyway it was just a disaster.  I really wanted the New York Skyline so I said to myself….what do I love most in this world??? GLITTER 🙂

So here’s what you’ll need 🙂

What you’ll need:

  • A Lamp shade.  You don’t have to buy a new one.  Old one is fine!  My lamp shade was a dark cream colour
  • Paint Brushes
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Glitter
  • New York Skyline print out, Scissors & pencil/pen
  • Clear Lacquer Spray
  • Masking tape or painters tape (Mr. Price or Dealz)

Where you’ll get them:

A Lamp Shade
You can pick a lamp shade up in B&Q, Homebase, Woodies, Dunnes Stores.  Anywhere that does home furnishings really.  My lamp shade because I was using one I already had was shaped like a dog’s cone (you know the one they put on dogs after an operation?), If I was doing this and had to buy a lamp shade I would try get a cylinder one (so it doesn’t slant outwards).  It would make it easier to trace the skyline!  One like this:


Paint Brushes
Back to my old favourite, you can pick up decent paint brushes in Mr. Price for like €10 or so. Oh and while I’m mentioning Mr. Price, you don’t need a glue gun for this project BUT worth mentioning Mr. Price are doing Glue Guns for €7.50 now!! God bless you Mr. Price!!!

Paint brushes

Acrylic Paint
Again Mr. Price do decent paint.  I ordered mine from Amazon so you could have a look there too.  It’s cheap enough.  If you want the really super duper stuff you could go the Arts & Hobby shop but I find them too expensive for paint!


I ordered my glitter from Ebay.  I got a HEAP load for like 40e but please remember that I use a lot of glitter in my projects and I still haven’t run out of this glitter (ordered it like a year and half ago!).  If your not sure if you’d really use glitter after this project you can buy small bags.  From Amazon they’re like £2 for 25g of glitter.  To be sure I’d recommend getting two bags.  Alternatively Mr. Price (you’d swear I work for them!) are doing bags of glitter but I don’t recall all the colours.

New York Skyline
I just searched New York skyline under Google images.  You’ll need to print this.  I printed it twice in case of mistakes. Here’s the one I used


Lacquer Spray
This is a bit unconventional but it hasn’t let me down to this day!! I use Halfords Clear Lacquer Spray which yes it is meant for paint surfaces, which I can only assume they mean on cars or bikes or something because it’s Halfords.  It works and it’s only €9.99.  In fairness to me I did try order a certain type of Rust-oleum lacquer which is meant to be great for crafts etc. from Amazon but they can’t send sprays overseas.  I had a quick look here in Dublin but well I couldn’t find the one I wanted so I got this one from Halfords 🙂  But I’m sure they do have them in shops in Dublin.

halfords spray

Right let’s get glittering 🙂

Step One:
We’re going to start by cutting out the New York skyline.  If your lamp is cylinder just carefully tape down your outline onto the lamp.  It’s tricky to get this straight especially if your lamp is more cone shape.  It will take some time and patience (ALOT of patience) but once your happy it’s straight and the top of the buildings are positioned as high up as you want them on the lamp – tape it (trust me it won’t sit perfectly flat but that’s ok!) and take your pencil or pen (biro pen, don’t use a felt pen because it might bleed into the fabric of the lamp shade) and trace the outline of the skyline.  Then carefully un-tape your outline and just move it to where your traced outline ends and outline again.  Continue moving the template around the lamp shade until it’s all full.  You will probably be left with a stupid awkward little space between your last traced outline and your first.  Just pick a part of your template, trace one or two building to join up the two ends.

Step Two:
Painting!  I used black for the buildings.  I used a paper plate and squeezed out a huge pile of black and then I piled a load of silver glitter on top and mixed.  I added more glitter when I felt it was needed.  Once it’s good and mixed, take your paint brush and start painting in the building.  If after your first few strokes you realise there’s too much glitter or not enough just add glitter or add paint to accommodate your preference 🙂  You might need to use a smaller brush around the lines to make sure you don’t go outside the outline.  Paint all the way around.  Let dry.  Please don’t skip this.  You need to let it dry.

Step Three:
My lamp shade (I use the word “my” loosely because it was actually my housemates who left it there when she moved out….ooops) was a dark cream but I wanted it to look like night time in New York.  I was left with a problem.  I had already painted the buildings black with silver glitter, I had not planned ahead to be honest!  So I decided on a dark purple for the sky.   This was to give the effect of a dark sky but also there’s a lot of stuff in my sitting room that’s purple so then it matched 🙂 Sometimes you just don’t need a good reason, just need to do whatever you want haha 🙂 So I mixed my paints to get purple – Red and Blue, and if you want to lighten or darken it – add a touch of white or black.  I just painted everywhere that wasn’t the buildings.  I had to use the small brush again to get in between the buildings.  I let it dry.  I had to give it another coat.  So if you think yours needs another coat that’s fine, just wait for it to dry.  Doesn’t take too long really.

Step Four:
Take the lamp shade outside, I mean seriously take the lamp shade out of the house for this bit.  Opening a window or door is NOT going to be enough ventilation.  I’m the queen of “aw sure it’ll be grand” so if I’m saying to take it outside it must be pretty bad.  Take your clear lacquer and lightly spray the lamp, focusing on the glitter buildings.  Be careful not to get loads on your hands, like if you get a bit just wash your hands after.  Just don’t be like spraying everywhere and your hands end up full of it because it’s lacquer so it’s like spray glue so I wouldn’t say it does wonders for the skin!!  Leave to dry….leave it alone, it’s nearly finished 🙂  This last step now means you can touch the lamp and you won’t look like you rolled around in a field made of glitter!  Nothing worse then going into work with glitter all over your forehead and nose!!  You can even clean the lamp with a damp cloth and nothing’s gonna come off 🙂

That’s it.  So simple and yet such a lovely DIY project!!  Here’s the finished lamp 🙂




I hope you enjoyed this.  If you have any questions or suggestions let me know 🙂

If you want to try the pin hole lamp shade, make sure to use a lamp shade with no plastic backing on the inside and let me know how you get on.  Maybe then I’ll try it again! 🙂

Lots of crafty love




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