This post comes by request of my Mother-in-law and it is definitely an Oldie. About a year ago I refinished two grody-rific lamps and documented my process (see, I was writing blog entries before I even thought to have one!). They were the types of lamps that you somehow found yourself in possession of after neither your parents, your siblings, nor your red-headed cousin wanted them and they always ended up at your house – sort of like the ugly casserole dish your Mom is always trying to pawn off as an “expensive antique”, but c’mon – you know it’s really just something she found at a garage sale and now you’re stuck with it!
Ugly, no? But I had already learned a few important lessons about lamps to know better than to throw them away:
- Lamps are expensive!!! Especially if the lamps each weigh 8 lbs apiece, then you *know* they were expensive at one time. Seriously, these suckers are cast-brass and sooo heavy! It’s like that line from Jurassic Park, “Are they heavy? Yes! Then they’re expensive, put’em down!”
- Lamps immediately can set a “mood” – lighting is key to any good room and lamps are the easiest way to bring in a “mood” to a room in a way that overhead lighting just simply can’t do.
- What you don’t like can always be changed! Of course, this doesn’t apply to the lamp below, but if it *is* an expensive import….
So here’s one lesson that anybody conscious of their style (and budget!!!) should remember; Spray Paint is your best friend and it is cheap, cheap, CHEAP! Remember how I saved oodles of $$ by spray-painting our knobs and towel racks? Who’s to say you can’t do the same thing with a couple of ugly lamps? What’s even better is that you could take a few mismatched lamps and immediately tie them all together with the same color spray-paint. Instant matched set! But here is one tip I would recommend if you do plan on spray-painting your lamps – be sure to use primer first!!
So about a year ago, I was reading through Budget Decorating Magazine and I ran across a pretty simple technique to give a Mother-of-Pearl Effect to any type of surface (metal plates, picture frames, lamps, candlesticks, etc.). Since I did not come up with this technique, nor can I find it anywhere online, I will re-produce the materials and techniques here for my readers just to show you how easy it is. My notes are in italics:
- Soft Cloth
- Flat Paintbrushes (3/4″ wide, 1/2″ wide)
- All Surface Primer (L’s notes: I used a Spray version from Rust-Oleum)
- Acrylic Paints: Plaid’s Apple Barrel “Satin Cream”, Plaid’s FolkArt “Metallic Champagne”, Deco Art Dazzling Metallics “Oyster Pearl”, and FolkArt “Metallic Pearl White” (L’s notes: found at Craft Stores and on that amazing invention – the interwebs).
- Clear Acrylic Spray Sealer and/or Polyurethane Spray Sealer (L’s notes: found at the hardware or craft store)
- Remove shade from lamp; wipe lamp with soft cloth. (L’s notes: I would actually clean it with something wet to remove the dust and then let it dry)
- Apply Primer to base. Let dry for 2 hours. (L’s notes: this goes much smoother if you use a spray primer).
- Using 1/2″ brush and horizontal strokes, apply a light coat of Satin Cream paint to lamp base; let dry for two hours
- Using diagonal strokes, apply a light coat of Metallic Champagne paint, allowing previous color to show in some areas; let dry for two hours.
- Using vertical strokes, apply a coat of Oyster Pearl paint; let dry for two hours.
- Mix Oyster Pearl with Metallic Pearl White; use diagonal strokes to apply a coat of the mixed paint. Using light strokes, apply another layer of mixed paint in some areas to create mottled mother-of-pearl effect. Let dry for two hours.
- Apply one or two light coats of spray sealer to entire lamp base; let dry for at least one hour before replacing shade.
So there ya have it! Oh, and here is the amazing after! A pic I took last year with our old camera:
What a difference, huh? And nowadays, those lamps sit in our Family Room, providing some much needed light and ambiance. Who knew that they were DIY?
This is a super easy project, though it does require a little bit of patience to get all completed, but the look is very authentic and expensive looking! I’ve priced out similar lamps from Lenox and they cost around $400 – yikes!
I hope this was helpful!