Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIY Lamp Update

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wandered through the aisles at TJ Maxx, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Tar-Zjay (this super trendy store here with a big red bulls eye as it’s logo) looking drooling over the lamps.  This is one endearing quirk I have picked up from my mother.  (If I start hoarding dishes that’s it, I will have officially become her)  My mom has had a thing for lamps since I can remember.

I on the other hand can’t justify spending more than $12 on a shirt (but won’t bat an eye at spending $60 out with friends…weird) so you’ll find me dead before you find me paying what’s on the price tag for some of those lamps.  So what’s a girl to do?  DIY it…duh!

This project started out with the idea that these would be mercury glass lamps but of course, our high-class hardware store in town only carries chrome spray paint and for a DIY mercury-glass finish you really want to use Krylon Looking Glass paint.  Krylon Looking Glass has an amazing reflective finish on it.  Even though the chrome spray paint’s cover is reflective, that is NOT what the dried finish will look like, trust me.
Looking Glass on left: Chrome on right

I wanted to change these oogly brown lamps (I have 2) ASAP so I figured I would use the mercury glass method with my chrome paint and see what happens…it ended up looking like a silver leaf finish!

  • lamp
  • water
  • vinegar
  • spray bottle
  • paper towels
  • chrome spray paint
  • painters tape
  • plastic grocery bags (1 for bulb, 1 for cord)
Step 1:  I scuffed up my lamp just slightly with some fine-grit sand paper since the surface of my lamp was extremely smooth.  I wanted to make sure the paint had a good surface to adhere to.

Step 2:  Tape off your cord and top part of lamp (where the bulb goes).  As you can see I just used painters tape and some plastic grocery bags.

Step 3:  Take your 1:1 water vinegar mix and mist your lamp.  Make sure your spray bottle is on the finest mist setting.  You want to just slightly dampen the lamp, not drown it so there is water running down the sides.

Step 4:  Immediately after you have misted the lamp, take your chrome spray paint and spray the lamp. Just as with anything you spray paint, just do a light coat so you don’t get runs.  It will look like little bumps. Let dry for 2-3 minutes.

Step 5:  With a paper towel dab (DON’T WIPE) the entire lamp.  This cleans up any excess moisture and it flattens out the bumps.  Don’t worry if you can see your lamp through some spots as you will repeat these processes.
Step 6:  Repeat steps 3, 4 & 5 until you are satisfied with the look making sure to dab after each spray paint coat.

After the first coat I got pretty aggressive with my dabbing.  It not only flattens out the bumps but it takes away the chromey sheen and gives it that nice matte silver finish that silver leaf has.

Step 7:  Let dry the recommended amount of time on your spray paint can.

Step 8: Remove cord covers and plastic bags.

Find a better lampshade than mine and done!  You now have a great lamp for a fraction of the cost.  Your friends will never guess it didn’t come from Tar-zjay.

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