This is a response to a post by Space Commander over at Atomic Living about the possibilities of restoring damaged or dirty fiberglass lampshades. The plastic or leather lacing on vintage lampshades often becomes brittle and breaks off. The shade in the photo above was missing a lot of the lacing. This is the lampshade after it's been re-laced. I didn't have a blog way back when I repaired this lampshade, so I didn't take a "before" photo.
Replacement lacing can be found in most craft stores. It's very inexpensive. I think it costs a dollar or two. This is the same stuff we used at summer camp to make bracelets and keychains. It's plastic and stretchy and has a matte finish with a little texture. It looks sort of like leather. I bought the lacing at either Michael's or Hobby Lobby. It looks nearly identical to the vintage lacing on my lampshade.
I took the old lacing off one piece at a time so I would have an example to follow for restringing the shade. The new lacing looks just like the old, except it's not falling apart. For very little money my vintage lampshade looks as good as new!
Here's another lamp that I tried to spiffy up. The shade on the left hasn't been cleaned and the shade on the right has. I followed the cleaning instructions here. I whipped up some dish detergent in a bowl, rubbed the thick suds into the shade, and gently wiped it clean with a damp cloth.
There is a noticeable difference in the shades, but the shade didn't brighten up as much as I'd hoped. I don't know if the result is worth the trouble and time it took to clean.