I don’t know about you, but nothing says dated like a brass lamp. I’m not talking about a trendy new lamp from Home Goods or Pier One. I’m talking about the old, ugly, shiny brass lamps that run rampant in thrift stores. People who stop in my shop tend to be surprised that most of the lamps I have for sale were once shiny brass. ”You can paint those??!” they ask with surprise. My dears, you can paint almost ANYTHING!
What’s great about these lamps is their shape. Sometimes it is hard to see under all that BRASS, but they have unique, fluid, bulbous designs. Once they are coated in a solid color, that shape really stands out. But you have to start with the ugly first.
Spray paint is the key to this. You can’t just paint with a brush – it doesn’t have the same results. I usually use Krylon or Rustoleum…whichever brand has the color I’m looking for. Most spray paints work on plastic and metal, unless otherwise stated. I always spray outside on a non-windy day. I throw down cardboard, or in this case, a piece of insulating Styro-Foam left over from aheadboard project. Using a ZipLoc baggie and painter’s tape, I cover the socket and switch to protect it from the spray.
They usually take a coat of primer, and then several light coats of the color. Don’t spray too heavy, or there will be visible drips. Light and easy, that’s the ticket!
For the aqua and red/orange ones (see pictures), I used a satin finish spray paint. It makes a smoother and softer finish than the typical high gloss paint.
Also, for these two, I was trying something different by going shade-less. I painted the harp and socket a brushed nickle, and the finial the same as the lamp base. I used a vintage style Edison bulb (available at some hardware stores) as a decorative accent. These lamps aren’t intended to be bright enough to read by. They are more of a style statement in a room – adding a little whimsy and vintage charm with the bulb.
See the other pictures for examples of paint and glaze combos used to update outdated lamps.
J. Paris Designs - ReDesigned Home Furnishings & Accessories
1835 4th St. (between Falls and Sackett Ave.)