I picked up this little desk lamp for my office from a yard sale. “An ugly little lamp” as The Hubs called it.
Knowing me, when we got home and unpacked our stuff, he immediately asked what color I was going to paint it. But as soon as he asked the question, he excitedly said “Matte black!” I said I had been thinking maybe turquoise or teal. He really liked his matte black idea better though. And after thinking about it, I like it too. Every room needs at least one thing in black—no matter how small—to keep the room grounded. (If you haven’t heard that before, I know it sounds funny, but try it and you’ll see.)
Matte black it was for our second-hand brass lamp makeover.
So, can you paint brass lamps?
All it takes to paint the brass is:
- A light sanding
- A thorough wipe-down with rubbing alcohol (you don’t want any dust sitting in the cracks or your paint will chip off)
- Covering delicate parts you don’t want paint in with painters tape
- A coat of spray primer
- A coat of spray paint
When you’re spray painting (both the primer and the paint), just make sure you spray light coats. The thicker you spray it on, the more likely it is to peel or chip off.
I’m very happy with it being matte black. I love how the brass on the inside lights up when the lamp is on and casts a nice warm glow.
I still wanted a little color though. And the the ugly brown cord was still bothering me. Usually a cord wouldn’t bother me much, but this one will be in full view since the wall outlet that the lamp plugs into is is a good 4 feet away from my desk. So I wrapped it in yarn.
How to wrap the cord in yarn:
The yarn wrapping is really simple to do.
- Just cut a piece about 6 feet long
- Tie a basic knot around the cord, at the half-way (3 feet) point of your yarn.
- Slide the knot up to the top of the cord and just start winding it around the cord.
- Put a dab of hot glue on the cord about every 8 inches to help it to stay in place.
- About a foot before your yarn runs out, cut a new piece like the first one
- Knot the new piece on top of the current yarn and keep wrapping. For a while, you’ll be working with 4 pieces, which will make it go much faster.
- When you get to the end of a string, just hot glue it down and keep going with the rest.
It only took about 30 minutes to wrap the cord and about $2 for the yarn (there’s a ton left).
The paint we already had on-hand as usual.
So with the lamp at $3 and the yarn at $2, this was a $5 lamp, with about an hour of work.
Next time you see an cheap brass lamp, buy it and give it a makeover!
We also gave a ceiling light a super easy makeover (with nothing but a sanding block!). And replaced an ugly ceiling fan with DIY industrial lighting. Check out all of our lighting projects here.
As for this powder room project of ours… I’ll give you just one example of how it is going so far:
I told you about our great plans to spend all of Sunday and Monday working on it. The first project was hanging the light fixture, but we forgot to buy a mounting box for it. First thing Sunday, we tried to go to the store to buy one, but when we got in our car, the gear shift broke. We messed with it for a while, but got nowhere, so we got in the other car, which started just fine but wouldn’t stay running. Instead of powder room remodeling, the Hubs spent the day fixing the cars and I caught up on housework. We did eventually get out of the driveway and manage to get the light hung, but that’s it so far. Hopefully this Sunday will be better.
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