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

by on Sep 9, 2012

created at: 09/26/2012

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.

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.

created at: 09/26/2012

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).

created at: 09/26/2012

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.

created at: 09/26/2012

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.

created at: 09/26/2012

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.

created at: 09/26/2012

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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