Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lamps & Spray Paint

The latest project in my quest to update our master bedroom is lamps.  They can get pretty pricy, so I decided I would try to find a couple at thrift stores and spray paint them.  I picked up this orange one a few months ago for 4.00 at Goodwill.  I had been scouting around for shades, and I finally found some I liked at Lowe's for 15.00.  I haven't purchased them yet, but I know they have some that don't require a harp.  After finally locating the shades, I figured I could start looking for another suitable lamp.

I ran in Goodwill last Friday to see what they had, and found the brass and white lamp.  Ironically, I had a lamp just like this in my bedroom as a teenager.  My mom probably paid about 12.00 for it at Walmart in the 90's, I got this one for 6.00.

When we got it home, I realized it was about 2 inches shorter than the first lamp, and I wanted them to be the same height so they wouldn't look completely asymmetrical on our night stands.  I started looking around for something to use to add some height to the base.  I was thinking I might have to cut a few pieces of wood but I found this black plastic thing in Mr. Backwood's hoard of random junk.  He said it was an end cap used on large water pipes to protect the threads from being damaged during transport.  Apparently he'd picked up a few of them out of a trash pile or something somewhere and was going to use them as containers for who knows what.  It was the perfect size to add to my lamp base, so I confiscated it, cleaned it up and gorilla glued it together with the base.

I covered the sockets and cords with paper and tape so they wouldn't get paint on them.  Then I took them outside and coated them both several times with Krylon Gloss Sun Yellow spray paint.  I used the whole can and brought them in once they were dry.  After looking at them for a day, I decided they needed a few more coats, the paint was thin in spots.  Also, there was an unsightly visible gap between the smaller lap base and the plastic cap I had glued to it.

I found some paintable caulk and used it to seal the crack.  We stopped by Walmart again Saturday night and I picked up another can of yellow spray paint.  Here they are after I got a few more coats on today.

A tip for painting anything bright yellow, do it in the winter when there are no bugs or in a garage or something if you have the option.  I had to keep picking gnats and things off of them while they were wet.  I think the bugs thought my lamps were huge flowers or something.

I left the tissue paper and tape on one of them so you can see how I kept from getting paint on the cord and socket. The tissue paper was a lot easier to wrap around than the note book paper I had used the first time.  I'm pretty happy with them, so far my total investment for lamps and paint is about 17.00.  Lamps this size without shades would probably cost me at least 40.00 each new in a store.  I didn't really want an exact matching pair, and I think I got pretty lucky finding 2 that were fluted vertically, so they are similar and should look pretty good together.  Once I get shades and dust my bedroom furniture, I'll update with photos of them in place.

Photos of the lamps with shades here.   Shades were 15.00 each bringing total cost to 47.00!


  1. Wonderful idea and the lamps look great!

  2. the bugs comment cracked me up. I have so been there. :)

  3. Your lamps look much happier. Nice job.

  4. I love your idea of keeping them similar but not matchy, matchy. Love the yellow too!

  5. I love that they match without being exactly the same. So much more interesting that way! Does the paint stay on without priming first? I've always used spray primer over anything slick like ceramic, for fear the paint would rub off. Love the yellow!

  6. Very cute lamps..great ingenuity in coming up with a way to make them equal in height!

  7. Melisa - I'm honestly not sure how durable they will be without primer. The can said it would stick to metal, etc and they won't get a lot of wear sitting on our night stands so I figured I'd wing it. For something that might get moved around more or in a high traffic area like the living room, I would probably prime.

  8. What a couple of happy lamps they are-Following from TDC-stop by for a visit!