Using a $7 lamp I found at a local thrift store, a bit of putty, and some mud, I created this gorgeous antique pottery lamp that looks like it cost hundreds!
I stopped into a local thrift store the other day, which I rarely ever do, and it just happened to be 50% off day!
I was looking for some decor pieces that I could update to style shelves in my soon-to-be-new-office.
I picked up a weird wine bottle (that I thought was a vase), some small shutters, a light box that I have no idea what to do with right now, a planter and….
This glass lamp:
You can see it too right? The potential?
This glass lamp is practically begging for a faux ceramic look right?
I washed the lamp down with a bit of TSP and water, then dried it thoroughly.
You don’t have to take the lamp apart before starting your lamp makeover, but it does make life a bit easier. I removed the felted bottom, loosened the screw that held the switch/bulb mechanism in place and gently pulled the cord through the the centre pipe to allow me a little “give”
From here it’s much easier to bag (using a lunch baggie) and tape off the electrical components before attempting the thrift store lamp makeover.
For the best adhesion, I recommend using a spray primer on your lamp before attempting any kind of putty application.
A single coat is plenty and will give the spackle something to adhere to.
For this thrift store lamp makeover I used a drywall spackle/compound (I’ll be posting another makeover where I used a joint compound). The spackle (like polyfil) is much easier to spread onto surfaces, but is less durable and can slough off fairly easily.
I slathered the compound over the lamp with my hands, adding lots of texture and movement.
Once completely dry – I left it to sit overnight to be sure – I applied a second layer of the spackle to cover any bare spots.
The spackle sands off very easily, so I went over the entire lamp with a 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out any “texture” that was too much for my taste.
Following the sanding, I grabbed some soil from the garden, added a bit of water and then rubbed the mud into the finish. This is what will add age and character your thrift store lamp makeover. Make sure you get mud into every nook and cranny – and don’t panic too much if yours looks lighter or heavier than mine. You can always add more, or sand off the excess in the next step.
Use your 220 grit sandpaper once again, and lightly sand off as much or as little mud as you like.
My goal was to have a very subtle antique look; I wanted the lamp to be primarily white, but with hints of age and texture.
I did use a spray lacquer in a matte finish to help seal the spackle and stop it from cracking or rubbing off. This added a yellow tinge to my finish, which wasn’t my ideal, so I ended up sanding most of it off as well.
You don’t know till you try right?
Guys! It is GORGEOUS!!
This simple thrift store lamp makeover took a $7 glass lamp and made it look like a $750 McGee & Co antique ceramic lamp!!
I couldn’t be more pleased with the finish and I fully intend on heading back to the thrift store to see if I can find another lamp of a similar size and shape to make a matching pair.
If you find you’ve sanded too much off, add more putty and start again. If you find you want more texture – apply the putty with strokes flowing in different directions and pat it with your finger tips to get more raised surfaces.
It’s all to taste and there is no wrong version. Try it and try it again until you’re happy.
Remember this is a $7 thrift store lamp makeover – you really don’t have anything to lose by trying.
Have a great one!