Revamp a lamp in 4 steps

Brassy is not sassy.

I’ve had this brassy lamp forever. It was my sister’s; she tried to sell it in our last garage sale but there were no takers. Since I needed a lamp I decided to keep it, and although I didn’t really like it all that much there was something about it that I found interesting. Fast forward 4 years and here it is now.

I see a brass lamp and I want to paint it black.

But that’s not before my first attempt at revamping it failed miserably. It turned out so bad I thought it was a lost cause and didn’t even take a picture of it.

Initially, I was ecstatic to stumble upon directions for refinishing brass. I didn’t know it was even possible to paint brass, so I was thrilled to find out I’d be able to change the look of this old lamp quickly and with just a few cheap things. I followed each step exactly (right down to using the same color specified in the directions), but when I finished my painted white lamp looked nothing like the crisp, clean white lamp pictured on the website. The white lamp on the web could rival any at Pottery Barn while my white lamp had a urine-colored tint to it which became even more prominent as the days went on. I figured it was the polyurethane topcoat I brushed on (per the directions!) that made my white paint turn such an uncomfortable-looking color and decided to add it to my list of failed projects. Feeling defeated, I left it in my room until my next local charity donation drop.

But a few days later I realized I could try again only this time not follow the directions exactly! I could go rogue, which is completely out of character for me since I am a very Type A, rule-following personality, especially when it comes to projects like this. So I threw caution to the wind, sprayed the rest of the white primer I had on the lamp again (only once this time), brushed on 3 coats of a flat black paint I had, and then applied a spray acrylic enamel (also on hand). It turned out better than I could have imagined. It even got upgraded from hiding in my room to resting modestly on a hall cabinet near the kids’ rooms. 4 Easy Steps to Painting a Metal Lamp

1. Apply painter’s tape to any part of the lamp you don’t want painted. (I taped part of the cord closest to the lamp base and the light bulb area)

2. Spray an oil-based primer on the lamp, covering all areas so the paint will adhere sufficiently in Step 3. Shake the can thoroughly before and during the spraying process to ensure a smooth application. Allow the paint to dry and then smooth any drips gently by rubbing with steel wool. (I used spray Zinsser Cover Stain Oil-Based Primer)

3. Brush or spray on flat paint. Watch for drips, catching them as they appear. Allow the paint to dry before applying a second coat. Inspect the lamp thoroughly, looking for splotches and unevenness, and add a third coat if necessary. Allow all coats to dry before moving to Step 4. (I used Rustoleum American Accents Smooth Flat Finish in black)

4. Spray on an acrylic enamel to seal the paint and protect the lamp. Look for one that states it does not yellow! (I used Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic)

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