Lamp Revamp

A while ago… well, actually a long while ago,  someone at my apartment complex was giving away two lamps for free on our community FB page.  I snapped them up as they were begging for me to have a crack at making them look more modern. I like to help out a lamp in need when I can. Also, we needed another lamp in our lounge area and what better lamp is there than a free one that I revamped myself?!  Seriously though, most of my DIY projects are things that I am only happy to have in my own house as I experiment a lot and have no idea on the longevity of them!

The lamps are big – a rectangular shape and about 50cm tall. It turned out that only one of them worked but I wasn’t concerned as I had never painted straight onto ceramic before, nor have I ever re-covered a lamp shade, so I was happy to have a test lamp in case it didn’t work out!  I must apologise that I cannot for the life of me find the original photos I took of the lamps. I definitely took them as this was ALWAYS going to be a blog post!  But I managed to take a pic of my “tester” from the angle that doesn’t show the painting I did on it, so you can see it in all it’s glory! To be honest, it was the shades that were really dated and clearly very worn out.  The base wasn’t that bad and is actually pretty close to being this year’s Pantone Colour of the Year: Marsala.  I, however, don’t really like the colour marsala right now, and don’t have it anywhere in my house, so it had to go!

Original lamp

Original lamp

Lamp revamp 2

A close up of the ceramic lamp base.

My initial thought was, of course, “Gold! let’s paint it all gold!”. This is my initial response to pretty much any DIY project.  I have to try very hard to keeping my gilding instincts in check when picking colours, otherwise I fear our house would look like a drunken Midas went through it.

But I did still test gold.  And a more sensible black.  I just used regular old acrylic paint and a small paint brush.  I wasn’t worried about seeing paint brush lines as I wanted a textured finish to contrast with the matt ceramic finish of the bottom part of the lamp.  So I just dabbed on the paint in rows to give it a good texture, and the acrylic paint gave a nice shiny finish to the top half of the lamp base.

Next up was the lampshade.  I had grand ideas of what to do – I went to the fabric market in Sham Shui Po and got samples, I trawled Etsy and EBay for beautiful fabrics.  All of this took SO long though and this project had dragged on for months already. I needed it done.  I had hoped to go back and get fabric at Sham Shui Po but I wasn’t going to be able to get back out there for a month as we had to fire our old helper and our new one wasn’t going to be starting until the end of April.  No helper = no break for me.  But one Saturday I had to go grab a few things at IKEA for our new helper (our old one stole a bunch of towels from us) and I saw a fabric that would work.  At HKD80 for the yard, I just grabbed it.  It wasn’t amazing but it was available!  I decided to personalise it a little bit.  One guess as to what I added 🙂 Yep, some gold!  I did some gold outlining to part of the pattern and gold dots over all the leaves.  Just to add a little sheen and dress up the fabric a bit.  I ended up having to use the brush from my liquid eyeliner to do it as it was the smallest brush I could find!

Lamp revamp 6

It took a few hours but wasn’t difficult.  Then I just re-covered the lamp by wrapping it a bit like a present.  I just left a couple of inches spare around the top and bottom to wrap over the edges.  I did find it tricky to get some sort of adhesive to stick to both the fabric and the lamp shade. Superglue stuck to the fabric pretty well, but not the slick plastic of the shade. My hot glue gun did the reverse. So in the end I used double sided tape. It really was just like wrapping a present! Then I help it up to my test lamp to see if I should go with the gold or go with the black.

Lamp revamp 7Lamp revamp 8I think it’s pretty clear that the black looks better.  So I then set about painting the real lamp base with black. And voila!  I put the shade back on and now I had a new lamp!

The finished lamp!

The finished lamp!

Then I put it into the lounge room and realised that it wasn’t the best fit there 😦 Never fear, I just took the gold lamp from my bedside table and popped it on the desk in the lounge room and put the new lamp onto my bedside table instead.  I think it works!

Lamp revamp 5 (edited) Lamp revamp 4 (edited)Of course, it involved a complete restyling of the bedside table to balance things out again, but I am liking the direction of the bedroom. There are still a few things to adjust and add (I bought some gold gongs in Vietnam on our holiday and they will join the mirrors when I get some time) and there will need to be another piece of art added to the left side of the room and I still really want that bedside table on the left to be a marble topped Saarinen style side table.  It is just the perfect piece for that side. The glass topped table can’t hold it’s weight against the chest on the other side.  When it is eventually “done” I will finally do a proper post on the master bedroom!


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