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How To: Make an Old Thrift Store Lamp Look New Again

How To: Make an Old Thrift Store Lamp Look New Again

I found this lamp base at a local thrift store and loved the overall shape and indentations. I didn't know if it even worked but for $5 I thought it was worth the gamble. To my surprise, when I got home and tested it out everything was in working order. It just needed a little sprucing up, so I headed out to a home improvement store to pick up some supplies.   

I wanted to be sure to go through the entire process the 'right' way, which meant no short cuts and lots of waiting for paint to dry. I can be inpatient when it comes to drying times. Here is the proper way to repaint/refinish a thrift store lamp step by step.

Materials: 

  1. lamp and lampshade
  2. spray paint primer
  3. spray paint finish color
  4. household cleaner and rag
  5. sandpaper
  6. painters tape

Step by step instructions:

1. Remove the lamp harp if there is one, by pushing the metal 'sleeves' up (those tiny caps toward the bottom of the harp) and pinching the sides of the harp inward.

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created at: 09/26/2012

2. Clean the entire surface of your lamp thoroughly with soap or a household cleaner and a dry rag to make sure it is free or any dirt and debris.

2. Lightly sand the surface of your lamp anywhere that will be getting sprayed with paint and primer. A fine grit sandpaper works best. Once the surface has been sanded, take your dry rag and lightly wipe the surface clean once again from debris.

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3. Tape any areas off with painters tape that you do not want spray paint to go (cord, socket shell where you'll eventually put the lightbulb in, etc).

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4. Move to a well ventilated area and spray entire surface evenly with one or two thin coats of primer about 6 to 10 inches away from the surface, using a steady sweeping motion. Let dry completely according to instructions, usually about an hour. Spray additional coats of primer if needed. It took three coats for my lamp base. Let dry completely before spraying on the color.

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5. Now it's time to spray the color. Again, in a well ventilated area, spray on a coat of the color of your choice about 6 to 8 inches away from the surface, using a steady sweeping motion. Let dry completely and add an additional coat of paint if necessary. For bold colors you may need extra coats.

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6. Once your lamp is completely dry (24 hours is recommended if you want to be on the safe side), remove all the painter's tape, add your lampshade and a light bulb and you are good to go.

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created at: 09/26/2012

I also experimenting with using pieces of silver washi tape on my plain shade to give it a little more depth, but I'm not sure which look I like better. 

created at: 09/26/2012

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Conan on Oct 29, 2013:

Awesome


Sophie on Sep 01, 2013:

Hi there,

I feel the texture of the base, alone, is enough to give your lamp that gorgeous & tastefull look it has.  It serves as focal point and accentuates the lovely harmony you chieved with the colos you chose. The washi tape is distracting: Eyes are all over the place when looking at the lamp; and steals away from the clean look of the lamp shade. Sumarizing, the texture alone is more than enough (^_^)!!

Lovely job!


Anonymous on Feb 28, 2013:

I never would hve thought of washi tape.  Wondering how it stayed "stuck"....I have 2 lampshades sitting in front of me now and know they need "something".....just debating with myself to proceed.


fabulosa on Oct 01, 2012:

you made a great selection of color and the use of washi tape. Looks amazing, however, I will put the washi tape also as a trim. And please take this little advise: if you buy an old lamp, you must change the electrical cord, just to be in the safe side. Thanks it is a beautifull proyect.


Anonymous on Oct 01, 2012:

that lemon yellow makes me feel...well..... lemon yellow


lori on Oct 01, 2012:

i agree with Lucia like it with out hte tape


Kim on Oct 01, 2012:

Love it! I like the washi tape but I would remove the tape that's on the trim of the shade, it will make it look more finished IMOHO. :-)


Kim on Oct 01, 2012:

Love it! I like the washi tape but I would remove the tape that's on the trim of the shade, it will make it look more finished IMOHO. :-)


Kim on Oct 01, 2012:

Love it! I like the washi tape but I would remove the tape that's on the trim of the shade, it will make it look more finished IMOHO. :-)


Angela on Oct 01, 2012:

Really, really cute.  Love the not to bright yellow with the gray lampshade.  Thanks for the tutorial,  Angela @ Mrs. White Twig & Tea


how2home on Sep 30, 2012:

this is brilliant! I love the colour combination, grey and lime green! I agree with Lucia, I think without the tape looks better! Great makeover though!


Brittni Mehlhoff on Sep 30, 2012:

Thanks Clare. :)


Clare on Sep 29, 2012:

Great make over. I'm inspired. Perfect style for my flat. (ps without the tape. More mid century modern.)

Cx


Clare on Sep 29, 2012:

Great make over. I'm inspired. Perfect style for my flat. (ps without the tape. More mid century modern.)

Cx


Lucía on Sep 28, 2012:

Glad I could help! If you get around to it you should definitely post the updated version so we can see how it turned out... good luck!


Brittni Mehlhoff on Sep 28, 2012:

Cool idea Lucia. I might just try that. The best thing about using washi tape for the lampshade is you can change it out in just a couple of minutes. Thanks for the inspiration.


bing on Sep 28, 2012:

I think you should try to imitate the lines of the base on the shade. But great job


Lucía on Sep 27, 2012:

You're welcome! I was thinking maybe if you try the washi tape horizontally in a stripe pattern that might work... Something like this: http://image.universaldistributingllc.com/is/image/K7496-M3994.fpx?qlt=75&wid=550&hei=550&fit=constrain&fmt=jpeg


Brittni Mehlhoff on Sep 27, 2012:

Thanks Lucia. 


Lucía on Sep 27, 2012:

I like it better without the tape... great makeover!


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