Vintage Map Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Vintage Map Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl
Do you want to update a plain vanilla lamp shade? Do you have a vacation you want to remember? You can do both with this vintage map lampshade!

The process to create a Vintage Map Lampshade is easy, especially if your lamp shade is close to a perfect cylinder. But, what do you do when you have a cone shaped shade? The instructions are a little more complicated, but I can show you how.

Pull up a seat and I’ll show you how to create a cool decorated lampshade. (Keep in mind you don’t have to use maps. You could use wallpaper, fabric, a poster, or anything you want!) Let’s do this.

Vintage Map Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

During a trip to my local thrift store, I discovered an old atlas and knew I could use it for oodles of projects. As I walked out of the store a flood of ideas came to me. One of them was to make a Vintage Map Lampshade.


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

To add a vintage glaze you will also need:



Start by selecting the maps or paper you want to use. Carefully cut them out along the spine using a fresh x-acto blade — don’t let your blade get dull. (I use a new one for each project. Your cuts are much cleaner when working with a fresh blade.)

Set your pages aside for now.

To make a template for your shade, roll out a large piece of craft paper. Lay your lampshade on the craft paper. Start at the vertical seam on the shade (to give you a visual of where to start and stop) and set your pencil along the bottom edge of the lampshade.

Gently roll the shade on the paper and mark along the bottom edge of the shade.

When you reach the end, reverse your shade and draw along the top edge. At the end, add an inch or two for overlap. Cut along the outlines to create your lampshade template.

Tape the template onto your lamp shade using the low tack tape. Make sure it fits snugly.

Trim any excess from the edge of your template. Should you choose, trim excess to allow room for the grosgrain ribbon.

Make sure your template fits perfectly before you proceed.

Lay out your craft paper template on top of the map pages. Make any adjustments to the page layout.

Tape your map pages together using clear packing tape on the inside only.

Trace the template on top of the map pages.

Cut out the shape along the pencil line.

Wrap the lampshade with your cut out map pages.  Clip the edges with clothes pins.

Working in small 8″ sections, brush rubber cement onto the map and the lamp shade. Wait a minute or two for the glues to dry. Then press them together. This is the best way to get maximum adhesion when using regular rubber cement. It creates a stronger bond than just one coat applied and joined while it is still wet. Alternatively you could use spray adhesive (especially if you are using fabric.)

Continue by gluing another section until you reach the end. To finish the seams on the outside, brush some rubber cement under the seams where your maps overlap. Press and hold them down until the glue dries.

Add a Vintage Aged Glaze:

Time to give your maps a vintage aged look! Pour 2 parts mod podge into an empty cup. Add about 1 part cocoa paint. Mix them together. Test some of the glaze on a scrap piece of paper. If you like the glaze color, start brushing it onto the lamp shade. Be careful not to use too much of the glaze or the paper will start to wrinkle. (If it does, no worries, some of the wrinkles will come out when it dries. Any remaining wrinkles make it look old.)

Let the glaze dry.

Cut two strips of grosgrain ribbon the circumference of your lamp shade plus an inch for overlap.

Hot glue the ribbon onto the top and bottom edges of your lamp shade. (Please, please, protect your fingers, read my hot glue gun safety post before working with hot glue!)

Put your lampshade on your favorite lamp.

Admire your unique lamp shade that brings back fond memories of a special trip.

If you make one of these, what map would be on your’s? Your home state? The place you were born? Where your family’s heritage resides? Or something completely different? I would love to hear your ideas.

Did you like this tutorial? Want to learn how to revamp another lamp shade with paint chips!

The result are a beautiful ombré lamp that is fun and colorful.


How to Make a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign | Pretty Handy Girl How cool! You can use this technique to make or transfer any sign graphic.

How to Make a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign | Pretty Handy Girl How cool! You can use this technique to make or transfer any sign graphic.

How to Make a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign:

You guys, I’m super excited about this Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign I made using scraps from my workshop. This sign turned out 200 times better than I imagined in my head. I knew I had to share the tutorial with you so you can make your own vintage signs for any holiday! Let’s get this party started.


First I suggest measuring the space where you want to hang your sign (it would suck to build it too large or too small.) Begin laying out your scrap wood. It’s best to line up the same width boards along each row. If you need to, you can rip down scraps on a table saw.


Once you have the scraps laid out, add any stain or paint if you desire. I added a combination of glaze, stain and burned some boards to give them a similar color value but still let them look unique.



The key to building a sign with lots of scrap wood is to space your supports well. Each board should have two vertical support pieces on the back, unless the board is really short. You might be able to get away with just one support for those shorties.

Cut 1″ x 4″ boards to the height of your sign. Flip the scraps over and glue each support board.


Nail each support board 3-4 times to each scrap.


I ended up using 5 supports for my sign.


Allow the glue to dry. Flip your sign over and make sure the scrap boards are well secured.


Transferring the Image:

Now it’s time to have some fun. I made a shoebox projector by following the directions in this video:

I created a basic sketch for the sign. (You are welcome to use this image, but please use for personal use only. Do not resell products with this image on it. And please be sure to credit and link back to this post if you use my image and blog about it.)

How to Make a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign | Pretty Handy Girl How cool! You can use this technique to make or transfer any sign graphic.

For your convenience, this image has already been flipped and reversed for projecting it in the shoebox projector.How to Make a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign | Pretty Handy Girl How cool! You can use this technique to make or transfer any sign graphic.

Send the image to your phone. Insert the phone into the shoebox. (The brightness has to be turned all the way up and you might want to change the display setting to stay lit longer.) Turn the lights out. Move the shoe box back and forth until you have the image sized as large as you want. Then move your phone forward and back to focus.


I will say that my image isn’t as clear as I expected, but my magnifying glass is old and scratched up. However, it gave me enough information to trace my image. Use chalk to trace around the design.


Painting Your Sign:

Now you’re ready to paint your sign. It’s not hard at all, think of it like coloring in the lines of a coloring book. Here’s my video tutorial to help you learn all my tips and tricks while painting signs:

All done? Great! Hang your “new” Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign with pride.

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Pretty Handy Girl

I won’t let on that you just made it. Let’s let everyone think we scored this fun sleigh ride sign at an antique shop. 😉

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Pretty Handy Girl

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Pretty Handy Girl

Where are you going to hang your vintage rustic sign? I think I’m going to make another one for our kitchen. Maybe a market sign with a pig silhouette?

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Pretty Handy Girl

Hope you are enjoying the holidays!



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Add vintage charm to your holiday home with this DIY Reindeer Sleigh Sign | Pretty Handy Girl #DIYholiday #holidayhome #holidaysign

Rustic Wine Crate with Rope Handles

Have you ever stumbled across a wine crate and wondered what you could do with it? I have just the idea for you and it will take less than an hour to create. Today I’ll show you how to make a Rustic Wine Crate with Rope Handles. This is a great decor item that doubles as storage. And you can also use this as a gift basket if you fill it with goodies.


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


1. Clean your crate with a damp rag. Then brush the stain on and let it sit for a minute.

2. Wipe any excess stain off with paper towels.

Add a second coat if you like a darker colored crate. Allow it to dry thoroughly. (This might take several hours or overnight depending on your humidity. Hand raised…hot and humid North Carolina dweller here.)

3. Sand any words and printing on the crate until you start to see some of the wood coming through. Be careful not to sand too deep and expose the bare wood. Wipe off the crate.

4. Mark the location for the rope handle on the sides of the crate. Be sure to measure the same distances from the top and edges on both sides.

5. Choose a drill bit slightly larger than your rope. Drill holes at the marks.

6. Insert one side of the rope through the hole.

7. Tie a double knot inside the crate to keep the rope from slipping back through.

8. Determine how long a handle you desire and tie a single knot in the middle of the handle.

9. Feed the other end of your rope through the other hole and tie another double knot on the inside of the crate.

10. Fray the edges of your rope by untwisting them.

Fill your crate with magazines, blankets, or décor goodies and display it proudly!

Better yet, fill it with several gifts to create a unique gift basket. Keep with the wine theme by adding some wine, crackers, cheese, and nuts.

Easy tutorial right? How many of you are running to your local wine shop and begging for wine crates now? P.s. I’ve seen them at Costco, too.


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How to Get a Smooth Paint Finish without a Paint Sprayer | Pretty Handy Girl

A smooth factory finish is the ideal paint finish for cabinetry. A professional cabinet finisher would normally use a paint sprayer, but today I’m going to show you

How to Get a Smooth Paint Finish without a Paint Sprayer.


The first step in getting a factory smooth finish is to prep your cabinets by filling any imperfections with wood putty.


When the putty is completely dry, sand the cabinet face to perfection. Start with a medium grit sand paper and finish with a fine grit paper.


Use a high quality primer with a hard finish to seal the cabinet and prepare it to accept paint.


After the primer dries, sand it perfectly smooth again. This will remove any imperfections.


A big factor in getting that factory smooth finish is using good quality paint made for doors and trim like Benjamin Moore Advance or Sherwin Williams ProClassic. Add a small amount of Floetrol (affiliate link) to help the paint level better.


Brush paint onto the cabinets.


Spread the paint and smooth your brush strokes with a foam roller.


And that my friends is How to Get a Smooth Paint Finish without a Paint Sprayer

Pretty Handy Girl's Holiday Home Tour 2014

Get more painting tips and techniques from my painting tutorial gallery.


How to Save a Dated Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Save a Dated Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

If you have a dated vanity, you may think you have to rip it out and buy a new one. Well, think again. It’s not hard to save that dated vanity and make it look like new without spending much money! All you need is a little prep work and the right type of paint.


Ready to learn how to take your dated vanity from drab to fab in no time? Keep reading to learn How to Save a Dated Bathroom Vanity. Plus, I’ll share with you the best paints for this task.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


Are you looking at your bathroom vanity thinking it has only one place to go—the trash? Well, think again. It’s not hard to save that dated vanity and make it look like new without spending much money.


The best way to get a flawless finish on your paint job is to spend some time prepping the cabinet for paint. Begin by cleaning the surface with a mild cleanser to remove any toothpaste splatters, greasy fingerprints, and who knows what else.


Remove the doors from the vanity to give you easier access for painting.


Remove hinges and knobs.


Store hardware in a ziploc back to prevent tiny screws and parts from being lost.


Look over the vanity for scratches, gouges and holes. Fill them with wood putty and a putty knife. Allow the putty to harden.


Sand the repaired areas smooth with a sanding sponge. Lightly sand the rest of the vanity to give it some “tooth” for the paint to stick to. No need to completely sand the existing finish off.


Wipe off any sanding dust with a damp rag.


Choosing Paint:


You can use one of three types of paint on your vanity. In the past an oil-based paint was usually preferred for cabinets in the bathroom or kitchen because of excellent leveling properties and a hard finish that was resistant to chipping. Unfortunately, oil paint has a strong odor and is harder to clean up. Luckily improvements to latex paints have made them almost as durable as oil paint. Latex (water-based) paints made for doors, window and trim are a good choice for cabinets. This type of paint has an added hardener and excellent leveling properties. Both latex and oil paint require a coat of primer on your vanity before painting.  For wood with knots or some reddish stained cabinets, you’ll need a shellac based primer like BIN primer. A third option is to use a chalk paint. Many furniture painters like the ease of painting with chalk paint because it doesn’t require a primer coat first. There are many brands of chalk paint available on the market today. Even Lowe’s carries their own brand of chalk paint.

If using latex or oil paint, prime your vanity. If you are using a chalk paint, go straight to painting. Follow the woodgrain of the cabinet when applying paint.


Allow to dry and add a second coat of paint.

Chalk paint enthusiasts like the matte buttery finish of a furniture wax applied over the paint. Use a wax brush to apply furniture wax in circular motions onto the vanity.


Wait a minute and buff off any excess wax with a clean dry rag. Apply a second coat of wax if the finish feels dry and chalky.


You may choose to apply a polycrylic coat for a more maintenance free finish. That’s up to you and the users of the bathroom. (Have small kids that are rough on your home? Opt for the polycrylic.)

Replace dated knobs and hinges if desired.


Now, about that countertop and faucet. Do you need to trash those? If so, I give you permission. You can purchase new ones online or at your local home improvement store.


Enjoy your newly saved vanity! Aren’t you glad you didn’t throw it away? Looking for more bathroom DIY updates? You’ll love this surprise weekend bathroom renovation for under $5oo!  And here’s another bathroom vanity updated with paint.