Monday, September 26, 2022 Sep 26, 2022
79° F Dallas, TX

A Fabulous Do-It-Yourself Lampshade

Robert Rutherford and his daughter, LeeAnn Jones, show you how to use beautiful fringe, beads, and trim to embellish a simple lampshade.
By Patricia Lynch Smith |

Robert Rutherford is the kind of man who would start a high-end retail business in the 1980s—the Dallas recession—and make it work. He is, in other words, very good at what he does. Rutherford’s on Lovers Lane has become a virtual institution for fabric, furniture, and accessories—though when the occasional newcomer discovers it, frankly, it is a bit of a high. Mr. Rutherford (please don’t call him Robert) and his daughter, LeeAnn Rutherford Jones, have graciously agreed to teach us how to use fabulous fringe and beading to trim an otherwise dull lampshade. It is 8:30 in the morning and the store is quiet, except for our father-daughter team. Mrs. Rutherford, who is “very good with color,” according to LeeAnn, is not here yet, and we only get a glimpse of LeeAnn’s husband, Matthew Jones, who also works as a designer in the store. (Read: This is a very family business.)

The idea here is to revitalize, enrich, personalize—take something commonplace and make it a work of art, which is what Rutherford’s design sense is all about: the unexpected juxtaposition of the witty and the glamorous (Mr. Rutherford is the only person we know who can display Italian velvet next to  a chicken-print fabric and get away with it). LeeAnn shares her father’s gift, having grown up playing hide and seek with her brother among the fabric panels in the John Edward Hughes showrooms, where Mr. Rutherford served as president before going out on his own.

Meanwhile, the lavish selection of beading, fringe, and trim at Rutherford’s can get even a never-do-it-yourselfer into a glue-happy mood. Clients not only buy trim for shades—which can be smocked, pleated, sheered, gathered, beaded, fringed, puckered, ruffled, flounced, or rimmed with what Rutherford’s has available—but they can also embellish the cuffs of jeans, hems of skirts, and straps of shoes with what they find. Turn the page, and we’ll get you started.

Gather your supplies
– Fabric glue
– A tape measure
– Scissors
– Trim (Consider layering several complimentary trims alongside one another. Twist or braid two or three similar pieces of cording together. Or lay a background trim along the periphery, before adding long, dramatic beaded fringe.)

– Work with the lampshade on the lamp, at about eye level (it’s easier). Measure the circumference of the shade to determine the length of trim necessary.

– Apply an extra-heavy dab of fabric glue at the juncture where the wire frame and the shade fabric meet. Make a trail of glue, then begin to bind the trim working in approximately two-inch intervals until you have worked your way around the shade and glue line.


– Fuse the start and finish point together by holding the trim
firmly against the initial glue dab. Allow to dry.

– Enjoy your new lamp. Or make a custom shade for a holiday gift!

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