Skeleton Lamp Shade: I Finally Found The Perfect Lightbulb!

About 31/2 years ago I cleaned up a thrifted lamp and DIY’d a skeleton shade for it. The skeleton shade was one of those projects I was dying to do, had so much fun with and today enjoy this little lamp’s industrial/steam punk presence as much as the day it all came together.

Here’s a look back at the lamp and shade when it was all done…


Finding the right bulb was a challenge, and in the end I settled on this 40W bulb.


I loved the way this large, round bulb looked as it provided the effect I was going for… but even this 40W was really too bright without a filter over the shade.


This meant actually using the lamp was a bit moot since it was too bright to look at without seeing spots long after turning away!

I never stopped keeping an eye out for the right lightbulb, and read about all kinds of wonderful options I could pursue online. Of course I never did, never quite got to it… until we visited Portland, Oregon this summer.

We stopped in at a store call Rejuvenation. If you’re into reclaimed, repurposed, vintage and vintage inspired decor, this is the store for you! It’s a modern blend of old and new, and then there is this whole back area of salvaged wares.

Hardware, tools, doorknobs…

Rejuvenation Portland, OR (2)

Signs, lighting…

Rejuvenation Portland, OR (1)

A decorator DIYer’s dream…

Rejuvenation Portland, OR (3)

You get the picture, and you know me by now. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven! Oh the things I could have brought home with me, and well, there was one thing I actually did!

I know you know where I ‘m going with this. We were talking about the perfect lightbulb for my skeleton shade, after all.

When I saw Rejuvenation’s incredible selection of bulbs, I was hoping to find a bulb that would be a good fit. And then I saw this 40w beauty and knew it was meant to be.

Source: Rejuvenation
Source: Rejuvenation

 The half gold top was both aesthetically and functionally perfect! It’s like this bulb was designed for our lamp.


No more seeing spots when glancing at the light!

Rejuvenation Light Bulb, Half Gold (2)

And what a perfect top to compliment this old thrifted gold lamp, don’t you think?


We are now using this lamp for its intended purpose, and it has finally become more than a conversation piece!

Would you have a skeleton lamp shade in your decor? What kind of lightbulb would you choose?

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

All photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise indicated below image. Please link and credit if you choose to use.

Since We’re On A Lighting Roll…

I’ve had this little project brewing and semi-complete for a while now. But the hold-up in finishing was finding a shade that would work. It’ll all make sense. Trust me.

First, here’s the lamp I found thrifting.

Round Base Lamp

I bet you’re wishing this find was yours. I know you do! Don’t you just love the sombrero scale of the shade?

Here’s a close-up of the base.

Diamond Design in Lamp Base

A little grimy, and in need of some TLC scrubbing.

Just the job for Bar Keepers Friend. Have you ever used this before?

Bar Keepers Friend Liquid Cleaner

I was introduced to it by Lisa from Lisa Goulet Design in this post… thank you for the introduction, Lisa!

Here’s a quick ‘Before’ and ‘After’…

Cleaning With Bar Keepers Friend

Sure took the tarnish off.

But I had to get into the grooves with a Q-tip.

Removing Tarnish from Metal Lamp

Can you see the difference between the pattern on the left vs. the right? I didn’t want to emphasize the pattern, even though the black in the grooves was intentional.

After the lamp base was completely cleaned, check out the golden hue it took on.

Tarnish Removed from Metal Lamp

Here’s another look at it.

Bar Keepers Friend on Metal Lamp Base

And this is how the lamp was left since the beginning of March, but only because finding a shade was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Fast forward to last week, and here’s what I found just on spec at Liquidation World.

A pretty little cotton shade…

White Cotton Lamp Shade

And the scale is good.

Metal Lamp & White Cotton Shade

Perfect for what I have in mind!

Here’s what I did next.

Frame inside Cotton Lamp Shade

Gasp! Ruin a perfectly good shade?

You bet, and I blacken the frame, too!

Painting Wire Frame of Lamp Shade

You see I wanted to try a skeleton shade. Do you remember when I featured skeleton shades in this post?

What I didn’t anticipate was how tough finding an inexpensive shade with the right center piece and all the wire sections would be. Trust me, I looked!

Want to see how the lamp turned out?

First, a little look back…


Round Base Lamp - Metal

Remember the sombrero?

Well here’s the skeleton shade in place of the sombrero!


Skeleton Lamp Shade on Metal Lamp

Kind of fun, right?

We replaced the socket piece with one that had a tri-light switch, but couldn’t find a clear tri-light bulb in this round shape. We ended up putting in a 40 watt bulb, and it’s plenty bright…

As you can see here.

Skeleton Lamp Shade on Metal Lamp

Round 40 watt bulb in Skeleton Lamp Shade

Round 40 watt bulb in Skeleton Lamp Shade

Skeleton Lamp Shade on Metal Lamp


Skeleton Lamp Shade on Metal Lamp

What do you think? Is a skeleton shade for you?

I was inspired by a few blogs that I read, and some photos on Pinterest. This project was all about trying something new, and the key was to keep the costs down… but also just to have fun. By thrifting and being thrifty this project only cost $15 and it really was fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!