A Lamp Makeover: Shining New Light on an Old Lamp

What better way to celebrate a new year than to give a lamp makeover? At Curbside Overhaul, we see repurposing as a metaphor for the hope in life. See, a lamp makeover doesn’t have to be just about the lamp, it’s about taking charge of your life and changing what doesn’t suit you. It’s all about new beginnings. Endings can be dark and sad, but they don’t have to be. New beginnings come in all shapes, but taking charge of those beginnings can really brighten up your life. We might not always be happy with ourselves, but we have the power, creativity, ability to change our circumstances. We can also do this with any piece of furniture or home decor that doesn’t quite fit.

We are excited to showcase our latest lamp makeover and New Year's project! There is always another way to benefit from shining new light on an old lamp.

Repurposing is a sure way to brighten up any future. In the case of this lamp makeover, you are saving these parts from the landfill. You also saving yourself money that you can invest other ways. Maybe the most important thing in our minds is that it also gives you an creative outlet. A lot of people tell us they’re not creative, but what is there to be worried about with an old piece you were going to throw out anyway.

Materials Needed:

Black Spray Lacquer
Silver Spray Lacquer
Black Chalk-based paint
Bright Idea Spray Lacquer
Furniture Tonic-for wood base
Spray bottle with water
Fine Sandpaper
Lint-Free Cloth
Nylon Brush

Step One. Take apart the lamp.

Step One. Take apart the lamp.

Step Two. Clean with Clean Slate.

Although you can clean your piece with properly watered down Simply Green, Clean Slate gives you an easy cleaning solution that can get rid of any dirt and grime. Once you’ve wiped the piece down, give it a minute to dry. If you used Simply Green, remember to wipe with a wet cloth to get rid of the surfactants that will prohibit the paint from sticking.

Step Three. Paint a Coat of One-Step Paint.


To start our lamp makeover, we decided to start with a coat of One-Step Paint. Spray Lacquer has a hard time sticking to certain surfaces, but the One-Step paint will stick to anything. We used Amy Howard’s nylon brush because we wanted the smoothest finish. All you need is a thin, light surface area for the spray lacquer to grab to. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Step Four. Sand and Add Another Coat

Step Four. Sand and Add Another Coat

Because we want the smoothest finish possible, we’re going to sand before we add another coat of One Step Paint. You’ll know when the chalk-based paint is dry because it will have a dead flat finish with shiny spots. Wipe off the dust from the sanding. Then add the second coat. Let it dry for about an hour, sand and then wipe off any remaining dust or rough spots.

Step Five. Add a Coat of Black Spray Lacquer.

Step Five. Add a Coat of Black Spray Lacquer.

We want a shiny finish to our piece. You’ll want to paint in long, smooth strokes. Again, we’re not going for perfection, we are just wanting to get a glossy finish. Sand off any rough spots from the over spray, so you have a nice smooth finish. Learn more about how to use High Performance Spray Lacquer.

Step Six. Restore a Wood Base with Furniture Tonic.

For this project we had a wood base, so we wanted to give it a fresher look. We used Furniture Tonic to help restore the oils and sheen to our wood. Just tab a little on your cloth and wipe down your wood piece.

Step Seven. Add Drops of Water to the Surface.

Step Seven. Add the Pattern

To get the Mercury Glass type effect we’re going for, we sprayed just drops of water to the surface of our piece. Hold the nozzle, so that it sprays up instead of directly onto the piece. Immediately, spray that side with silver Spray Lacquer. Again, it doesn’t have to be complete coverage. Within a few seconds, take a lint-free cloth, which has no pattern, and lightly dab to pull up the lacquer sprayed down on the water drops.

Step Eight. Finish the Sides.

Step Eight. Finish the Sides.

Because the process has to happen so quick, do one side at a time.

Step Nine. Cover any Additional Areas.

This technique is all about layers. Because we didn’t do complete coverage of the silver spray lacquer, you might decide you want to add additional coverage. Just lightly spray those areas and add different layers of lacquer for additional dimensions.

Step Ten. Finish with Bright Idea.

Bright Idea is a clear spray lacquer to give the glassy finish and to give it a protective coat.

Step Eleven. Reassemble Your Lamp.

We’ve put together this video of the step by step process to reassembling a lamp.

Step Twelve. Enjoy Your Lamp Makeover!

It’s all about experimenting and finding something that works for your home. We love shining new light on old projects, but with this project, we especially wanted to give hope and new life into a new year. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to leave questions in the comments or send us your project’s results at chelle@curbsideoverhaul.com!

For more fun posts to get you excited for the new year, check out these links:

New Beginnings

Finding New Beginnings in Acts of Kindness

Starting Over

Don’t forget to pin this DIY project for later!

We are excited to showcase our latest lamp makeover and New Year's project! There is always another way to benefit from shining new light on an old lamp.





17 thoughts on “A Lamp Makeover: Shining New Light on an Old Lamp

    1. That’s great! That’s exactly what we’re here for. We all make mistakes and have to restart, but trying new things is always the best part. Enjoy!

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