Have a couple of old lamps around the house that just don't fit your style anymore? Before you pack them off to Goodwill consider giving them a little lamp-revamp. I a matching set of lamps in the living room that I loved when we bought them all those years ago but times have changed (and so has my style) so I wanted give these lamps a fresh look. It's a whole lot cheaper than buying new lamps and it's a super fun and easy project that you can do with any skill level. If you don't have lamps that need a makeover, there are PLENTY at your local thrift store that would be good candidates for this project.
- Dixie Belle White Lightning Cleaning Solution
- Dixie Belle Bunker Hill Blue (or the Dixie Belle Color of your choice)
- Dixie Belle Round Small Brush
- Dixie Belle Warm Gold Gilding Wax (or the Dixie Belle Gilding Wax Color of your choice)
- Dixie Belle Slick Stick (optional)
Step One: Selection of your lamp
- Pay attention to the material that your lamp base is made of. If you choose a lamp base that is a slick surface (like ceramic or glass) you may need to coat your lamp first with Dixie Belle Slick Stick so that paint will securely adhere to your lamp base.
- If you are choosing a lamp at a thrift store, make sure that you check the cord and plug for any defects. Also look at the socket for the bulb to confirm that there are no burn marks. Many thrift stores will allow you to plug a lamp in and test it ahead of purchase.
- Confirm that you lamp has all the needed pieces. Thrift store lamps are notorious for having missing lamp shade brackets. They are about $12 on Amazon so you can replace them but if you’re only paying $7-8 bucks for the lamp you’ve already over doubled the price of your project by having to purchase a lamp shade bracket. Likewise, a missing finial will cost you around $3 so it’s good to pick a lamp that has all its pieces. Sometimes, the lamp is just too perfect so it’s worth paying the few extra bucks to replace its missing parts.
- It’s a good idea to spend a few moments just giving your lamp a once over to make sure that it doesn’t have cracks or chips that you can’t live with too. I like a little wear on my décor so a lot of times I don’t mind some imperfections.
- When selecting a lampshade give it the sniff test. Shades that have been in smoker’s houses are WAY too difficult to clean and descent than they are worth.
Step Two: Prep your lamp
- Make sure you clean your lamp well. I use Dixie Belle White Lighting to clean every surface I paint (mostly) but if there are stubborn, stuck-on spots on your lamp don’t be afraid to apply a little elbow grease and a stronger cleaner.
- Take the time to confirm that your lamp is free of any left-over cleaning residue before your paint. You don’t want anything to come between your paint and your lamp.
- Tape off the cord and the bulb socket to prevent paint from getting on them.
- Dry your lamp before you begin painting.
Step Three: Get to painting and waxing
- You’ll love your finish and the painting experience much more if you choose a good brush.
- Choose a paint that covers well and bonds to your paint surface. I like Dixie Belle because I haven’t yet found a surface that I can’t get it to stick to.
- If you are painting a slicker surface like glass or ceramic, you may have to apply a thin tack coat to the piece, let it dry and then add a thicker second coat. A tack coat is simply a thin coat of paint that provides a surface that you can then paint much easier. Dixie Belle also produces a product called Slick Stick that is designed to use a primer for slick surfaces to provide a base coat that paint will stick to easily.
- When applying your paint, use a light touch. We tend to want to get as much paint out of our brush as we can before we dip it in the paint again, so we press the brush into the surface. This pressure can cause the paint layer underneath to reactivate if you are painting with a water-based chalk type paint. It'll essentially pull is right up. Use a light touch and don’t overwork the paint.
- Dixie Belle paints are thick and provide great coverage, but thick paint can also cause your brush to drag on the surface of your project. This is easily remedied by keeping your paint brush damp. I use a Dollar Store spray bottle with water. Every few dips in the paint I give my brush a little spray of water. I want it stay damp but not dripping.
- Once you have completed painting. Set your brush aside and let the project dry. It’s tempting to try to fix something or add paint to thin spots, but you are better served by just allowing the paint to dry and returning to the project later. You can apply a second coat your or touch up thin spots in your lamp if needed once it’s dry.
- When your project is dry you can add a little distress if you'd like with some fine grit sandpaper or a damp cloth. Sandpaper is best used for wood or plaster surfaces; a damp cloth works well for ceramic or glass.
- Once my final coat of paint was dry I added a little Dixie Belle Warm Gold Gilding Wax to a few of the edges to give it some additional character and depth.
Step Four: Seal it up!
- If you are using Dixie Belle Paint and your lamp is not going to be in a high use area you don’t have to seal it, but I recommend that you seal any lamp that is going to get much use.
- When it comes to sealers you have a lot of choices. Depending on the look that you are trying to achieve, you can choose wax or a liquid top coat. Wax will give you a more matte finish with little sheen. Dixie Belle top coats are available in matte, satin or gloss finishes. Gator Hide top coat from Dixie Belle has a satin finish and is a SUPER hard coat. If you have a lamp that is going in a high-moisture area or this lamp will be getting a lot of use Gator Hide might be the best choice for you lamp.
I hope you're now inspired to get busy on your own lamps. Comment with a picture of the lamp you revamped and follow the links within this blog to find the products I used in my own lamp revamp.