Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Craftsman-Style Lamp Makeover

Before and After

Though we've been out of college for years, my husband and I are still using those cheap flexible desk lamps next to our bed. Now that we're only a few months away from moving into a new home, I thought it was time to invest in some actual lamps.

I saw the below lamp online and fell in love. It's a custom pottery lamp with a mica shade made by William Morris Studios.

They don't list a price which to me says that it's probably more than I'm willing to pay, so I decided to try to make something similar. I found the brass lamp and paper shade in the top left photo at Target. I thought about buying a lamp with a mica shade there, but the reviews I read online said that the cheaper mica shades sometimes melted or caught fire so I decided against it!

Step 1
Step 1: I taped and covered the parts of the lamp I didn't want painted, then gave it a couple coats of Krylon Primer in white.
Step 2
Step 2: After letting the primer dry, I gave the lamps several coats of Krylon Satin in Jade. I let them dry overnight.

Step 3
Step 3: The spray painted color was okay, but I wanted it greener and I also wanted to give it some depth and texture. I tested out some mixing glaze on an old cookie tin and didn't like the way it looked. I ended up using watered-down acrylic paints and mixed my own color.

I dabbed the paint on to the lamp with a sponge then spread it around with a rag while wiping off the extra. It took practice to get an even coat. I screwed up the first time and ended up with an unfixable splotchy mess but I just spray-painted over it and tried again.

Step 4
Step 4: I added some touches of gold using Liquid Leaf metallic paint in Florentine Gold. Once it dried, I did a top coat of Valspar Perfect Finish clear sealer in Satin. I'm not 100% happy with the sealer as it gave the lamps a bumpy texture, but it's only noticeable to the touch and looks okay.

I'm still debating about the lampshade. It would be great to have a mica shade instead of paper but I doubt I will be able to find one that I can afford and that will fit the lamp. I would like to add ginkgo leaf details like in the Morris lamp, but I can't find a way to do it that looks good and will not be affected by the heat of the bulb. Acrylic paint gets soft with heat so that's out. I've experimented with stencils and ink on paper bags but I didn't like the way it turned out. I think decoupaging real or cut-out leaves on to the shade would look best but I don't know how well that would hold up with the heat from the lamp. I think I'll use the shades as they are for a while and see how I like them.

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