Thursday, July 19, 2012


how about a quick little dining room update?
i talked about my BIG PLANS here, and basically most of it is done. but i still have a few finishing touches to do before the BIG REVEAL.

but here’s a quick and easy project that came out waaaaayyy better than i expected it to.
in the old dining room i had two lamps on the buffet table.


there’s nothing wrong with these lamps, they work fine, the shape is pretty…but the colors are all wrong for the new dining room design.

the key word for this update is CHEAP. and since i only spent $11 each for the base and $4 each for the shades, so i decided before ditching them i’d see if i could do a quick and easy update.

first the base—easy enough. just a quick spray with black spray paint and they’re totally different.


the kind of ornate gold and vine patterns on the bases disappeared under the black. but the carvings are interesting enough to keep them from being boring.

now what about the shades? i was just going to forget them…give away or donate, but in a fortuitous trip to joanne’s i found this:


metallic acrylic fabric paint in pearl turquoise. and even better:


clearance…possibly my most favorite word in the entire english language.

now this is the truth: these were two good lampshades. i debated whether or not i should mess with them.


there’s nothing at all wrong with them, and maybe i should pass them along to someone who could use them as-is, rather than take the chance of ruining them.


the one jar of paint was exactly enough to do one heavy coat on each shade. i used a combination of dabbing and brushing to make sure i got in all the little nooks and crannies. i worked on one side at a time, and after it was all covered i went back over the whole thing lightly brushing in one direction to smooth it all out.

i planned on going back for another jar of paint to do a second coat, but…well, i just didn’t. and i don’t think it really matters, because even my own mother didn’t recognize the lamps.


they ended up such a pretty, yet impossible to accurately photograph, pearly turquoise. (just like it said on the jar! who knew?!)


wanna hear the best part of the whole project? you know, besides it being a $3 upgrade (i used leftover spray paint) that totally works and adds just the right pop of turquoise to my dining room? besides all that?
shhh…come in close…


those brush lines on the shades?


they make it look like i always just vacuumed the dust off. permanently.


i’m so ready for an unannounced mother-in-law visit. ANY. TIME. i’ll bet you were even fooled. i’ll bet you thought i just vacuumed these shades to take these pics. well, my friend, you’d be WRONG.
you wouldn’t even know if there was a 1/4” of dust on there. you’d see those lines and assume if i’m the type of woman who has time to keep her lampshades so pristine and dust-free than obvs i’m a woman who has all her ducks in a row—both figurative and literal. that’s right—you’d assume i must have literal ducks. your eyes would gloss right over the piles of dirt and laundry, not even seeing them—as if they were covered in an impenetrable force field.
i call that a lamp win, don’t you?

so here’s the important pinnable image, thus answering the burning question can i use fabric paint on my lampshade?


the answer: YES.

and also is it completely life-changing if i do so?

also: YES.

now back up from your computer screen. and stop trying to see my curtains in the background. cheater.
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  1. wait, I'm supposed to be vacuuming my lamp shades? crap.

    1. umm, hello, YES. that's what all us happy homemakers do. DAILY.

  2. Those are lovely. You may have just given me courage to jazz up my boring bedside lamp. Did you use a gloss spray paint? Thanks!

    1. yay! go for it! spray paint is a wonderful thing! plus, the more you paint, the more the fumes give you courage and a devil-may-care attitude ;)

      i actually used a textured metal spray paint in black. we got it from home depot a few months ago on clearance for 97 cents a can! it's pretty flat, and has little nubbies (?) in it giving whatever you paint a rough kind of texture.
      let me know how your lamps turn out!

  3. What about when you turn the lamps on, do you see the red underneath?

    1. i'll be honest...I don't turn these lamps on, well...ever really! haha! so I did plug them in and turn them on (finally) just to check, and yes--you can see a little bit of red through the shade. I think if I had gone back and done a second coat there would be no red visible--even when the light is on.

  4. Love the transformation a little paint can do and it doesn't look tacky as you might think when you think of painting fabric. It looks great! Love the color too!

  5. They look more beautiful in person



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