Use Your DIY Talents to Make the World Shine: Upcycle a Globe into a Lamp Shade

We want to keep our world vibrant and vital, so shop at Goodwill to help make that happen.  Rather than ending up in a landfill, donated items become treasurers for others while generating support for the organization’s life-changing mission.  Here’s a super simple and timely DIY project that uses a globe as a lampshade.  

What a bright way to honor Earth Day/Month and our home planet!

Here’s How:

1.      Go for the globe at Goodwill

Words of wisdom to new and regular Goodwill shoppers:  anytime you see a globe for sale at one of its retail stores, take it home with you!  A globe is always a hot accessory to add to your home place or office space, especially when you repurpose it in an unusual way. 

After you have shopped and scored, hopefully, a globe, check out the store’s section where lamps are available for sale. You are playing matchmaker with the globe and a lamp base, so consider their respective sizes so they complement each other. The lamp base featured here was the ideal size when paired with the globe, and it even came with a harp, the part that holds the shade above the bulb. Score!

2.      Cut along the equator

After you carefully remove the globe from its stand/base, use an exacto knife or box cutter to separate its two hemispheres. 

Most globes are two halves connected along the equator, the perfect dividing line.  Be careful as you cut the tape/paper/part that holds them together. 

3.      Brighten up the world

Many globes are made of cardboard to keep them lightweight and durable.  When the two halves are separated, you might need to trim up and sand down the top edge where they came together to ensure a smooth finish.

Give the inside of your globe half, to be used as the shade, some shimmer and shine by spray painting a light tone. 

A bright gold tone was applied gently to help reflect light and make the soon-to-be inside of the shade look finished.  Also, consider brushing on a light layer of colorful craft paint along the globe’s outer edge to make it look sharp, too.  Use a foam brush for super easy application. 

As you are able to see, bright blue paint was brushed on and picked up tones in the globe.

4.      Beautify the base

Depending on the color and look of your lamp base, you may consider making it look like new with a coat or two of spray paint. Globes come in a variety of hues, so you want to connect the lamp base with the globe by picking a paint color to complement and match it. The lamp base featured here was already a cheerful green, so a spritz of blue and a spritz of gold was added to give it more dimension and visual interest. 

5.      Flip it, secure it

Now that your globe is painted inside and along its outer edge, flip it over and place it on top of the lamp’s harp part.  The screw on top should go right through the hole in the top of the globe.  If not, use your drill to make the hole a little larger. 

Secure your worldly lamp shade with a finial selected to match your new lamp’s overall design and feel.  A round, wooden one was perfect, given its tone and shape. 

Design idea: Like any DIY project, you can easily transform a finial with paint or other embellishments to complement your lamp’s look. Sometimes, a very simple one works well so it blends in; you can have lots of fun with a funky, eye-catching one, too!

6.      Place it, light it, cherish it

Your globe lamp will look great in any setting, room, or location, so enjoy the fun of deciding which space gets this unique piece.  Given the old-school look of this globe and its traditional-feeling base, this one was happy amongst the books and art pieces in a home office.  Also, it would look super inviting on your entryway table next to a Goodwill-found bowl to hold keys and a thrifted basket to collect mail.  And how charming would a globe lamp like this look in a child’s room next to colorful toys and cartoon figurines? 

The world is your DIY oyster, so have fun transforming the world—or at least a globe—in a creative and memorable way!

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Tim Kime

Artist, Motivational Speaker, Life Coach

Tim Kime is an artist, life coach, and connector. He is the President of Kime Leadership Associates, offering executive coaching, meeting facilitating, and motivational speaking. He is also the Chief Creative Force of Transformation Junkies which upcycles furniture and other household items into functional works of art. He combined his two passions—unleashing the potential in people and transforming items with the launch of the Art of Possibilities Workshops. These workshops are part upcycling, part dreaming, and part goal setting.