How Do You Fix a Tiffany Lamp Shade? A step-by-step Tiffany Lamp Repair guide

  • By: Michael
  • Date: November 10, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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If you have a broken tiffany stained glass lamp, you can quickly fix it at home by removing the broken slag glass pieces and replacing them with new pieces cut to the same size and shape as the open space in the lampshade. 

While you can take a broken lamp to a professional for Tiffany Lamp Repair, doing it at home is pretty simple and will save you a lot of money. That is why we put together a simple step-by-step guide on how you can fix your favorite lamp all by yourself.

How Do You Fix a Tiffany Lamp Shade? A step-by-step Tiffany Lamp Repair guide

Table of Contents

What is a Tiffany Stained Glass Lamp Shade?

Tiffany lamps were first introduced by Louis Comfort Tiffany to the world of home decor in the late 1800s and are hand made old fashioned world craftsmanship multi-colored stained glass lamp.

These slag glass lamps are made using a master mold from different shapes and size pieces to create a beautiful mosaic work of art. 

Each piece has a unique, geometric shape and an array of great colors and designs, from flower scenes to irregular borders, making them one-of-a-kind lamps and shades.

These antique lamps are generally paired with a copper pot metal base.

How are Tiffany Slag Glass Lamps Shades Made?

These phenomenal lampshades are first designed on cardboard with the aid of a custom mold, where the sections are drawn out and labelled for each color and piece. The stained glass is then cut and shaped to get each section on the cardboard. The slag glass is then soldered together with copper foil wire and placed in between a top and bottom ring that holds them tightly in place.

I discuss where Tiffany Lamps were made in this blog

How Do You Fix A Tiffany Lamp Shade? Should you use antique lighting dealers?

Because of the unique old world craftsmanship of the separated tiffany style lampshade, these expensive pieces of art can be pretty simple to fix with a little love and without the need to call in the help of professional antique lighting dealers. If a portion of your antique lamps shade cracks, chips, or breaks, the fix is fairly simple.

Step One: Prepare Your Working Space

You should always make sure you are prepared to work in a location that is free from crowds and pets that could further complicate the problem.

You may also want to consider washing the lamp to prevent scratching or damage from dirt and debris.

You can check out my guide on how to clean a Tiffany Lamp here:

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Tiffany Lamp

Step Two: Remove the Broken Pieces

Removing the broken glass might get a little tricky, breaks occur, and you have to use caution, as you may have hair line cracks for example, so you don’t further damage the lampshade.

With a small solid tool, such as a crafting hammer, tap the broken piece to completely remove it from the copper section, holding it into place.

There may be some left-over shards of glass from where it broke, and these can be brushed away with a wired brush.

Step Three: Trace the Empty Space

With the broken sections completely removed and cleaned out, tracing the empty space is the easiest way to prepare a pattern to cut your new glass piece, making it the perfect size and shape to replace the old one.

Step Four: Mold the Glass

The easiest way to replace a piece of glass is by having it professionally cut. However, if you have the proper tools and replacement glass, you can also do this part yourself. 

Use the pattern you traced from the empty space on your lamp and choose the color of glass you want to fill it in with.

Step Five: Insert Your Replacement Piece into the Space

Adding the piece of glass to its new space is one of the easiest steps. All you have to do is place the glass piece in its new spot and hold it there on the front of the lamp with a piece of painter’s tape. (this tape is best because it will create a good hold but is easy to remove later.)

If you want a bit more stability when re-inserting your new slag glass pieces then I recommend measuring the diameter of your shade and finding a plastic mold of the same shape and side over which to place the shade while making your restoration.

http://tiffanyartvilnius.com/photogallery/plastic-molds/ has a large supply of plastic molds of many diameters and specific shapes.

For the authentic restoration you will want to use the copper foil or alloy soldered method to permanently attach the replacement slag glass to your shade.

Tiffany Lamp Copper Foil Method – 10 steps to repair your lamp

The copper foil method is the most popular and easiest way to repair a Tiffany lamp shade. This process involves using copper foil tape to cover the damaged or broken areas of the shade. Here is a 10 step guide on how to fix a Tiffany lamp shade using the copper foil method:

1. Remove the Shade

The first step is to remove the shade from the lamp. Be very careful when doing this, as Tiffany lamps are often quite fragile.

2. Clean the Shade

Next, you will need to clean the shade. Use a soft cloth to wipe away any dirt or dust.

3. Inspect the Damage

Once the shade is clean, take a close look at the damage. Identify the areas that need to be repaired

a) mark any areas that need replacement copper foil with a pencil.

b) use a soldering iron to remove foil from any damaged glass pieces. Be careful not to remove foil from edges between glass peices that undamaged and remaining in place.

c) try and use the damage glass as a template for cutting out your replacement glass or if that’s not possible place a a sheet of paper inside the shade and trace around the missing edges of the glass to be replaced.

4. Cut Foil Tape

Cut a piece of foil tape that is slightly larger than the damaged area.

5. Apply Tape

a) if repairing an area where the foil has weakened, then peel off the backing from the copper foil tape and apply it to the damaged area. Make sure to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles in the tape.

b) if replacing a slag glass piece take the measured length of foil tape and fold it around the edges of the new glass piece.

6. Burnish the Tape

Use a blunt object (such as a coin or screwdriver) to burnish the foil tape. This will help ensure that the tape is securely attached to the shade.

7. Solder the foil in place, being careful not to remove copper foil from glass pieces already in place.

8. Repeat Steps 3-7

Repeat steps 3-7 for each of the damaged areas on the shade.

9. Reattach the Shade

Once the foil tape is securely in place, reattach the shade to the copper pot metal lamp base. Be very careful when doing this, as Tiffany handel lamp are often quite fragile.

10. Observe the Repair

Step Six: Finish your Lamp for a shiny finish

1. Using patina and flux remover, clean your work afterward. Rinse the piece thoroughly with tap water afterwards. Dry all of the solder joints with a paper towel to eliminate any remaining tap water from the item.

2. When the piece is dry, combine 3 parts distilled water and 1 part ammonia to make a cleaning solution. Fine steel wool (0000) moistened with the ammonia solution should be used to clean the solder lines and joints. Scrub until all of the solder on the board is a uniform satin finish silver.

3. Using a paper towel, dry the piece. Because the chemicals or minerals in the water may react with the patina at this time, do not use tap water.

4. Rub the patina over the solder lines on a paper towel to cover them. The patina should be extremely glossy after this process. If certain areas aren’t as gleaming as others, tarnish is still present in those locations. Repeat the procedure on these areas to fix the issue.

5.  Another dry paper towel is used to wipe away the solder lines and glass. Apply polish compound, as directed by the manufacturer, and polish right away.

How Much Does it Cost to Have a Tiffany Lamp Shade Repaired?

The cost of having a professional repair done on a broken Tiffany Lamp will differ on where you go and the size of the glass panel that needs to be replaced, with an average starting price being $75-$250 on most lampshades.

If the frame needs to be repaired or replaced, electric needs corrected, or the time of labor goes beyond the standard time frame, the cost to repair will increase in price. 

Summing Things Up

Just because a Tiffany lamp will cost you an arm and a leg doesn’t mean repairs to one will be just as pricey. Fixing a cracked or chipped Tiffany lamp from home is a quick and cheap way to restore your beautiful decor.

If however you would prefer to find a local crafts person to restore your lamp then one of the following google searches will direct you to the nearest one

Local glass lamp repairers:

  • stained glass lamp repair near me
  • glass lamp shade repair near me
  • lamp shade repair near me
How to clean a Tiffany Lamp – Cle...
How to clean a Tiffany Lamp – Cleaning Stained Glass

References

https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-repair-a-tiffany-lamp

https://www.antiquetrader.com/antiques/tiffany-lamps-how-to-tell-real-from-fake