Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let There Be Light

Once upon a time, there lived the ugliest lamp on the face of the planet. 

I'm an ugly lamp.

I purchased this little beauty from MCC one day, one of my favorite shopping locals.
"How much for this lamp, good fellow?" asked I to the lovely man in his late 70's in his permanent position behind a workbench in a back corner of the store. 
"10 bucks for the both of them," he replied with little emotion. 
Oh joy! There were two!
I was shocked at what little passion he felt about the fantastic deal he was extending to me. Before he could realize his mistake and snatch my new prized possessions away from me, I rushed to the front counter, handed over my bill and raced from the store. 

A little black spray paint, purchased from your friend and mine, ICI paints,  for a decent employee discount, and a new shade from my place of temptation, Home Sense, and I had 2 beautiful new lamps.
I am truly lovely.
How do I do this? you ask. Have no fear. I am here.
Step 1) Develop The Eye
It's hard to see the beauty in the midst of horror. 
Instead of looking at something for what it is, look at it for what it could be. 
Ignore the details and look at the SHAPE. 
These bases had lovely curves. Sure they were brass and wood and some foreign gold metal, but they were rounded and had the filigree design I was looking for. Colour can be changed, shape can not. Well, can not without the help of some hefty tools I do not currently have in my possession. Once you've found your perfectly shaped item, you're halfway there!

Step 2) Stripping (Please keep your clothes on)
Strip your item down to the bare essentials, remove all the clutter! In this case, those Kentucky Derby meets Gone With the Wind shades immediately found themselves in the nearest dumpster. Any other bauble was removed and I was left with the one solid piece.

Step 3) Prepare to Meet Your Fumes
Find a spray paint with the finish you are looking for (flat, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss are your options). In this case I went for a pure black gloss. Oil (Enamel or Direct to Metal) paints will require no priming but are harder to remove if a spray-happy accident were to occur. This requires clean up with thinner.
 If you buy a latex, PLEASE PRIME! You will not be happy if you don't and I will not show you any sympathy. 
In this case, since I was spraying over metal, I opted for the oil option. If ever in doubt, ask me. As my friends in the hood say, I can hook you up. (P.S. I grew up in Hepburn, SK. I don't know anyone in the hood. But I'd sure like to!) 
Spray in a well-ventilated (badly ventilated if you'd like to opt to experience hallucinations) area. Set the item on some old cardboard and have at 'er! Follow the instructions on the can with how far away to hold the nozzle, etc. Let it dry, and do a second coat if needed. 

Step 4) Have Patience, Have Patience, Don't Be in Such a Hurry
Now comes the hard part, finding the shades to match perfectly. Please never be fooled into thinking projects like these just materialize. Many hours are spent on the hunt for the perfect fit! 
If you find something, take it home and try it. If it's horrid, return it and try again. Repeat process. 

Step 5) Enjoy

Lamp bases: $10
Spray paint: $4.00
Shades: $30
Total cost of purchase (for 2 lamps): $44.00

Average price for table lamp: $80
Total monies saved: $58

And that, my friends, is how its done. 


  1. hey sister. guess what? we both re-do lamps. let's have a lamp re doing party. i love it!

  2. Awesome!
    I would love if you do more DIY's if you posted pictures of the process, not just the start and finish...that would be super helpful for people like me who don't have a crafty bone in our bodies:

    Great work!

  3. Jenn, my new friend, I will do just that! Watch for creating a headboard, coming soon to a blog near you!

  4. Wow, Deanne! That is beautiful.You know that G&G just gave away 2 very similar to this (one was hanging). Nice to see the Something From Nothing idea carry on again!
    Love ya,
    Your Mommy

  5. You mean you didn't want to have those original lamps displaying in your home for all to see??

  6. You know Sam, I didn't want to promote the sin of jealousy while in my home. It's just to dangerous with lamps that beautiful!
    Thanks Mommy, Something from Nothing will always carry on! Thriftiness knows no generational gaps.

  7. maybe i'm insane, but i kind of adore the 'before' shade. did you throw it away?

  8. love it..amazing how BAD it was before and so GOOD after!!!!!!! kudos on your smokin deal!!!

  9. Do you still have the before shade??? My dear grandmother has a lamp similar to it that she bases her whole home on. During a move she went through years ago she lost one of the shades to her lamps. Now everywhere we go it is our job to search for a lamp shade that looks like hers. This one is so similar and I would love to be the grand child who restores her adored lamp.

  10. Unfortunately, I think the Kentucky Derby shade went to the dump. I would have loved to assist you in being a hero grandchild! My grandma had one very similar as well. I think the mother finally convinced her to purge her home of such...loveliness.