This is my ugly lamp before. This is my ugly lamp after.
I have to admit I’m kind of impressed with myself. For a spray painting, lamp DIY-ing virgin, I think I made Martha kinda proud. The only thing I do need to do (a project for the future!) is obtain a new lampshade. Or make one. Or DIY one. Who knows? All I know is that I feel like I deserve a trophy for best DIY by a DIY virgin. Wait – doesn’t the lamp sorta look like a trophy? Sweeeeeet! Now, I know you are asking how I achieved this amazing feat of DIY awesomeness and I’m going to show you. Again, I did a bit of reading online – several different sources give different methods. I was looking for something metallic, so that left the spray paint route.
Step 1: Clean the Lamp
Clean the lamp. WELL. And then clean it again. Make sure it’s totally dry before you start.
Step 2: Frog Tape!
You want to frog tape everything you don’t want to be silver (or whatever color you are painting the lamp). I taped off the cord and the light switch.
MISTAKE ALERT: I didn’t tape off enough of the cord (or the switch). Make sure to cover further than you think on the cord and switch! Wound up not a big deal (I mean… could I make the original lamp uglier? No.)
Step 3: Set up
I live in a townhouse, so all of my projects must be completed in the great outdoors, far enough away that I won’t get wind-blown paint on anyone’s house. Thankfully, I have an end unit and I set up this cardboard box trick I learned in my scrapbooking days when using spray glue. In the future, I’d like to have something plywood, but for now, this lovely Amazon box (below) will have to do.
I used two old stools with a found board across (I scavenge lumber from construction sites). and that’s my work table. Then I used an old sheet as a drop cloth. The lamp was heavy enough to hold the box up.
Step 4: Primer!
Repeat after me: Primer is my friend! The better you prime, the easier and smoother the paint sticks. Thankfully I primed this enough I only needed one coat of the spray paint with a few light sprays to touch it up and that was it. I wound up putting on about 3 coats – light coats and the directions were easy. Had to let it dry about 5 minutes in between coats. Then when done, it has to sit at least an hour before you can paint it. Cost: about $4.00. Used about 1/2 the can, so $2.00!
I thought the lamp looked great just with the primer! Like I said, anything was a massive improvement!
Step 5: Paint It!
I was amazed how quick this part was. Literally after one coat, it looked incredible. You would swear it was a metal lamp. I did a few touch ups in a 2nd coat and that was it. I let it dry outside for about 2 hrs though the instructions
The paint: Valspar Brilliant Silver #66010
stated 1 hour to handle (it just didn’t look dry enough to me). After 2 hours it was fine to touch. I brought it in and let it sit overnight on a drop cloth. That was it! Couldn’t believe how easy it was. Cost of paint: $6.00 and I have at least 3/4 or more left in the can, so I’ll estimate $1.50 for that.
Total Time: Priming: 30 minutes, then had to sit an hour
Painting: 15 minutes, had to sit at least an hour after.
45 minutes active time!
Bam… I have lost my spray paint virginity, and now I’m looking at what else I can paint… Hmm… to be continued!