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Recycling/Re-purposing: Painting A Lamp Base

July 11, 2013

We've had a pair of gold lamps for years.  They've moved from an office, to the living room and then, finally, to the master bedroom.  I was noticing, however, that they kind of blend into the painted walls - not really standing out on their own.  What to do?  Why, paint them of course!

I like the lamps and they work just fine so it would be a shame to buy new ones just for the color.  Most people know you can change the lampshades but not everyone thinks to re-paint the base.  This is important though, not only to re-purpose something you've already got but also, it's a quick and cheap way to make a lamp you find at a thrift store or garage sale, match your decor.

For the paint I ended up choosing a hammered black spray paint.  Why hammered?  2 reasons:  1. the texture will hide any small imperfections in the lamp itself and 2. it will hide any small imperfections in my painting technique.

Painting the base is simple, here's the quick and easy steps:

  1. pick a paint.  Again, I chose a hammered paint, but any home improvement store has quite a selection to chose from.  If your base is metal, make sure your getting a paint for metal - same goes if it's plastic, ceramic, etc. make sure the paint is compatible.  
  2. remove the shade and cover any areas you don't want painted, i.e. the cord, the switch, etc.  I left the hardware on my lamp when I painted because I wanted to be able to pick it up and paint in the creases.  The hardware gave me a bit of a handle to do so.
  3. cover the ground, outside, with newspaper or some sort of protective covering.  Remember the overspray goes a bit further out than the item you're painting.
  4. if your base is glossy, you'll want to give it a light sanding first to help the paint adhere.  Mine was not glossy so I skipped this step.
  5. shake the can according to the instructions, it's usually for a full minute.  {on this note, follow all instructions/precautions on the paint can}
  6. when I begin spraying, my first spray is not on the object itself.  For instance, if I'm going to sweep left to right then my first spray will be just left of the lamp, onto the paper on the ground.  The reason for this is, if the first bit of paint comes out in a glob, it won't be on my lamp.  Holding the can about a foot away from the lamp base, you'll want to use a moderate-paced, smooth sweep, going around the entire base.  Continue to shake the can, from time-to-time, as you paint.  I move myself, not the object, for the first couple of coats.  *Important to note, you are not trying to cover it completely your first or second coat.*  If you focus on covering the old paint and not on sweeping it evenly, you'll likely end up with puddles of paint.
  7. after 2 coats, step back and look at the base.  In the photo above, you can see where the gold paint still shows through.  Because of the bases grooves, it's going to need me to paint at an angle.  This is where I carefully pick it up by the top hardware so I can paint into the grooves, still at a foot away so I don't get puddles of paint.
  8. continue re-examining and re-painting until you have a fully covered base.

And now you can see what really goes on when I'm trying to take a photo.......

Jack and Oliver have an ongoing feud as to who's throw blanket that is on the bed.  They both love texture and this blanket has been a big hit.

Jack jumped up to claim it for his own so Oliver jumped up to let him know who it actually belongs to......

then Emerson jumped up because it looked like a lot of fun, but Oliver and Jack took off after one another which left poor Em alone.....

then Emerson and Oliver discover the mirror behind the door and Oliver admires the handsome black Frenchie he sees......

This is life at Cobble Hill Farm!

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