Sometimes it’s hard to see the potential in a thrift store. That’s why I’m so glad St. Vincent De Paul invited me to work on a makeover project for them. A lamp makeover! Yes, that’s right even an old neglected lamp can be new again and I’m going to show you how you can do it.
Before we get started on the nitty-gritty, here are a few tips to choosing a piece to makeover before you even walk into a thrift store. Have an idea of what you are looking for. I love to get design magazines and home catalogs. (Really, I get super excited about a new one in my mailbox!) I often find my inspiration in these. I cut out pictures of things I like. So when I see a piece of furniture or mirror or other item that has the same lines or a similar style to my inspiration piece I get very excited. Bring that magazine or picture with you. Keep a little style notebook/folder that you tuck all those inspiring images in. So when the time comes to go thrifting you will not be lacking for ideas.
Yup! LOVE. Did I love the color? No! Did I love the shade? No!
I loved the shape. The rest is fixable.
The shape reminds me of a vintage silver trophy. Like this one I recently collected.
Only the lamp isn’t silver….. yet! But the lamp has a very masculine shape and I think it will look really great on a man’s dresser or night stand.
The first thing I did was removed that lamp shade. It was damaged and didn’t really look very cool anyhow.
I decided to use chalk paint on this lamp because that is what I had lying around from some other projects. Chalk paint is environmentally safe, really easy to clean up and it’s a great paint to use if you want to distress and make any piece look vintage. I used CeCe Caldwell’s. It is a bit more expensive than picking up paint from the hardware store, but a little goes a long way. And I think the best part is that there is no prep work. There is no need to prime or sand anything that you are going to paint. So that’s a real time saver for me. But any paint will do. I often find oops paint at the hardware store or I will use spray paint to add new life to a thrift store find.
I did 2 coats of paint on this lamp. The first coat was the darker color that I wanted to show through when I distressed the lamp. So my first coat was
CeCe Caldwell’s Vermont Slate. A dark gray, almost black shade.
After letting that dry for about an hour, I used a coat of
CeCe Caldwell’s Pittsburgh Gray. It a lighter shade of gray and has a bit of a taupe undertone.
Don’t worry about buying an expensive paint brush. I just used a cheap chip brush. Say that 3 times fast. I didn’t want the paint to be perfect. I wanted it to be textured and imperfect.
I let that dry and then with 320 grit sand paper I lightly rubbed away the top layer of paint in some areas. I wanted to expose some of the original gold patina on the lamp and the darker paint underneath. One more cool thing about CeCe Caldwell’s paint. You can also use a wet rag to wipe away some of the paint. It saves you all that dust from the sandpaper on bigger projects.
When you use chalk paint, it needs to be sealed. A coat of poly would work but I love the look of a waxed finish. It is a very European finish and gives anything painted with chalk paint a great feel and a soft sheen when buffed. And when you apply the dark wax it gets in all the nooks and crannies and gives that time-worn look.
First, apply a coat of clear wax. You can use another chip brush or a soft cloth. I just used a paper towel. Working in a small area at a time and before the clear wax hardens apply a coat of dark wax. I used an old paint brush for this. It helps to get into all the details of the lamp.
You really cannot make a mistake with this wax. If you get a little too much dark wax on a piece you can rub it off with the clear wax. It acts like an eraser. I left the dark wax on for a few minutes and then wiped off the excess with a rag.
I let the wax cure overnight and in the morning I used a soft cloth to buff the lamp. Remember that soft sheen I mentioned? This is where the magic happens.
Finally, I had to replace that shade! I wanted a shade that would be a bit more masculine and modern. As I was running errands at Target I found this great shade on clearance. It was perfect!
Check out the “New” lamp!
It looks totally custom and no one will have one like it.
I love all the detail in this lamp. With the antiquing wax it really looks vintage.
It’s always great to add a few accessories to go with your new lamp.
Not up to completing a thrift store find makeover on your own? Contact me for custom orders. I’d be happy to work with you to make your thrift store find “New” again.