From Thrifted Tote to Marimekko Lampshade

by Katy on February 13, 2013 · 24 comments

Remember my new/thrifted Jonathan Adler-esque lamps?

Lampshade -- before

Yes, that one. Well, as much as I love the lamp, the actual lampshade wasn’t doing much for me. However, it was perfect size and shape, (plus it came for free with the lamp) so I lived with it for a while.

But as much as I profess my love for Sir Adler, I really love most everything from Finnish design company Marimekko, especially their fabrics, and especially their iconic Unikko floral print.

However, it is waaaaaay out of my budget. I’m such a fan-girl of theirs that I even made sure to visit their NYC store the day before my Today Show appearance last summer. See?

Huge, graphic bold pattern? Heaven . . .

Marimekko Katy

But since their fabric is for the moneyed elite, ($59 per yard!) I’ve been making do with a $3 Goodwill tote bag that’s from a breast cancer awareness campaign they ran with Avon. Unfortunately, as much as I loved the fabric, the tote itself was pretty much useless, as the straps were too short to even come up to the shoulder.

But it occurred to me that I could deconstruct the bag and use the fabric for something better. Like pillows or . . . wait for it . . . a lampshade!

I’d been wanting to try recovering a lampshade, as there are countless online and Pinterest tutorials.

Here’s the bag before I went to town with my trusty seam ripper:

Marimekko tote

And here’s the fabric, all flattened out and ready for a new life:

Marimekko fabric

And here’s one of the pieces of fabric, taped onto the shade to get a sense of how it will look:

Marimekko fabric

Because I haven’t officially completed this project yet, as I started it at 11:00 P.M. last night. But you can be confident that I will rush through my boring household tasks today in order to finish the lampshade.

I ♥ you Marimekko. Truly. Madly. Deeply.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Leigh February 13, 2013 at 10:31 am

So fabulous!!! Can’t wait to see it finished!


Katy February 13, 2013 at 11:08 am

Thanks, me too!



Anne February 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

I’ve been a fan of Marimekko for decades! And I was in Manhattan a couple of weeks ago, and went to that store, too. Unlike you, however, I was NOT a non-consumer, and splurged on two wildly expensive Unikko shower bags to use in my gym bag. I’m frugal in many ways, but I knew these bags would bring me joy on a regular basis. Nice job on the lampshade!


Katy February 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm

What, you mean taping a scrappy piece of fabric onto the lampshade?

Well then, thank you! 😉



AnnDenee February 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Looking good so far. Can’t wait to see it when it’s completed. 🙂


Sadye February 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm

That’s going to look fantastic when you’re done. Looking forward to the “after” pix!


One Day At A Time February 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm

That’s going to look amazing!!!


Jackie February 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I have that very same tote bag, thrifted for $3!


tonya February 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Am loving your creative projects lately. This one is genius!


AFS February 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm

You are such a tease. Showing us befores without afters.
The wait is always worth it though.


Katy February 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I just borrowed an iron from my next door neighbor, so I’m on track to finish this project by bedtime!



Tracy Stone February 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I want the tote bag, and I love the to-be lampshade! You “see” the greatest things. I could never have come up with that.


Katy February 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Aww, thank you!



Katie February 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Very nice! I like how the warm/splashy/floral of the shade contrasts with the cool/reserved/geometric of the lamp.


Rachel in Portland February 13, 2013 at 7:39 pm

That’s a come-up!


Katy February 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm

And I didn’t even have to pop any tags! 😉



Helen February 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Awesome. It will be awesome. I love Marimekko too. I have threadbare Marimekko purse I just can’t give up. Now I have been inspired to maybe resue the fabric…. hm….


Mamarosa February 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Greetings from Finland! I’ve been following your blog quite a long time and now I have to comment too 🙂

The lamp is going to look great! My husband’s daughter loves Unikko too and their whole house is Unikko wonderland. All the curtains, children’s bed covers and even the front door has poppy-flower engraving. (Unikko = poppy)

Thank you for you blog, it’s great inspiration and confirmation for the fact, that you don’t need much money to have fancy stuff.



Katy February 14, 2013 at 7:11 am

Wow, her house must be so bright and cheerful!



dusty February 14, 2013 at 4:31 am

I’m impressed by the fact you work on projects at 11 p.m. By that time, I’m staring at the inside of my eyelids. Also, love the old school phone in the pic. Can’t wait to see the finished product.


Katy February 14, 2013 at 8:28 am

Don’t be too quick to be impressed. All I was doing was picking the stitches out.



Diane February 14, 2013 at 4:44 am

I remember so fondly visiting the Marimekko store in Harvard Square on more than one occasion in the 60’s. Love the Marimekko design sensibility.


kariann deno February 14, 2013 at 8:12 am

Sooo impressed Katy. 🙂

What a great use of your resources to jazz up your home.


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