I wanted a farmhouse style lamp and when my local stores didn’t carry anything like that and online prices were $150+ each for shipping to Canada, I decided to do a DIY Lamp makeover myself!
The lamps that I have in our living room are a beautiful mercury glass that I found at Homesense and adore! We have been using these for a year or so but they didn’t feel like they belonged in this room. The vibe of the room is a bit formal with a cozy atmosphere and these are gorgeous and scream ‘Formal Don’t Touch!’. I realized I needed something a bit taller for this large room as well. These mercury glass lamps do not throw enough light but rather emit a soft glow…perfect for the bedroom and that is where they are being moved! Our bedroom. The hunt was on for a better, taller lamp, that the kids could turn on and off with no fear of breaking glass.
Several DIY’s on Pinterest has some brass lamps from the 80’s redone to look like vintage rustic goodness. I did hunt for something at Walmart or Homesense but nothing in our Canadian stores was what I wanted. The brass lamps were plentiful at the second hand shops!! For $20 I was able to purchase two large old school brass lamps. Both had previously a makeover and wasn’t too bad but not 100% the look I wanted. The large one you can see the paint chipping away to reveal that brass glory trying to come back. I used a sanding block and lightly sanded those chips to make sure no more wanted to come. Covering the electrical cords and tops with plastic bags and painters tape to protect them.
The first mistake was quickly buying a spray paint, chalk mink. I didn’t do any research but saw it in the store and quickly grabbed it. And sprayed away. The spray paint was actually gorgeous. Went on great and looked smooth BUT the colour was a cool grey/brown. These lamps will be next to dark wood work with a red-brown undertone. What I needed was a warmer brown.
The next expensive purchase was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I bought cocoa and old white. I also purchased the clear wax because the store owner explained how I could mix colour with it and that had me excited! Yes an expansive investment BUT I hardly used any, this can be used for many projects down the road and decided to take the plunge.
Using large bristle brush I dry brushed the cocoa overtop the cool mink. The change was very minor but enough that I knew I was heading in the right direction. The paint dried very quick and I was able to use the Old White. This colour is perfection!! White with the slighted warm undertone!! I used a VERY light hand with the dry brushing and wiping away when I thought I had too much. And then switched back to a few more touch ups of the Cocoa in areas I felt there was too much Old White. At this point I could have stopped but I decided I wanted to take it a step further. Using some ArtMinds Wax in Antique from Micheals, I mixed this on a plate with the Annie Sloan Clear wax.
Disclaimer, I used this antique wax before and while I liked the warm tone I disliked the liquid consistency. So mixing it up I tried this instead. Using a small paint brush I paint the crevices and cracks of the lamps, then with an old sock (it had a hole and re-using it saves buying old rags!), wiped away. The second lamp I had a little epiphany, I coated the lamps first with clear wax, then antiqued and then wiped. This lamps moved the antique away much easier with a more organic look then the first. Now the changes were SO slight that you would have to sit and stare to see the difference but now I know for further projects.
The final purchase was a simple lamp shade from Walmart. $16 each, fresh and new they gave an entirely new look to the lamp. Now I also realized the the harp (metal thing that goes around the lightbulb and screws the lampshade in place) is SLIGHTLY crooked. Walmart has the best price for these for $4/piece!
I am thrilled with the results. They look like an expensive lamp, they are more rugged then the fancy mercury glass ones I had, I don’t worry about the kids manhandling them and the height is what the room needed. The best part? This will be easy to do again for other rooms!