Transforming a Lamp

I picked up this old metal lamp from Facebook Marketplace for $5. The finish was outdated, damaged and starting to significantly age. But it was a very solid piece with stunning curves and a lampshade in good condition.

Tip: When looking for lamps to restore/upcycle always consider the lampshade, lampshades are incredibly expensive to purchase new, but if the lampshade is in excellent condition it's very easy to recover. Also consider the electrics, although rewiring lamps isn't an overly expensive practice, they do need to be done by an Electrician which can quickly add up, if you wish to sell your lamp please get it tagged and tested to ensure the safety of the piece and your end user.


Transforming the Lamp Base

This piece is by far the dirtiest piece I have ever had the pleasure to clean, it took four buckets of hot soapy water to get all of the dirt and grime of this piece. When cleaning lamps don't forget to clean the shade and the cord, mine had a lot of built of dirt and grime and needed a good scrub. Because of how grimy this lamp was I used Dishwashing Liquid as it is designed to break through grime quickly and easily.

Once clean I wrapped the cord with some masking tape and coiled it together to make it easier to manage while painting. I also wrapped the top of the lamp. 

Because this lamp is metal, my paint needs some help to adhere, this is where All in One Base, Blocker & Primer comes in handy. I applied one coat of Grey All in One as I have chosen to paint the lamp black.

L'essentiel Botanics All in One Base, Blocker & Primer

TIP: As a general rule of thumb grey needs to be applied under dark and duller colours, white needs to be applied under light, bright and white colours. 

Once the All in One was dry I applied 2 coats of L'essentiel Botanics Liquid Carbon. Using a good quality smaller brush is key to achieving a beautiful finish on a round piece like this. Liquid Carbon self settles and brush strokes are very minimal, I did not need to sand between coats but if you do need to use 1000+ grit sandpaper and sand very lightly. 

L'essentiel Botanics Liquid Carbon

To finish, I used L'essentiels Pearl Lustre Beeswax Polish, this particular wax has a shimmery pearlescent finish.  I chose this finish because it accentuates the curves of the piece and lets the light bounce off it.  It is important that when using L'essentiel Botanics Chalk Style Paint that you seal your paint as it is porous and will easily mark, you can use a topcoat, wax, oil or glaze. I used a lint-free microfibre cloth to apply and buff the wax into the surface of the lamp, you can use a brush to apply your wax if you prefer. I applied two coats of wax to achieve a higher level of shine. 

L'essentiel Botanics Pearl Lustre Beeswax Polish     

See the application of the wax here.

Recovering a Lamp Shade

Choosing the fabric was by far the hardest part, I ended up choosing a vintage look Linen from spotlight. If you choose a fabric with a pattern or lines make sure you take that into account when asking for the fabric to be cut. My fabric doesn't have any pattern to it so I brought half a meter.

To begin iron your fabric, you can wash your fabric as well if you like. Ironing gets all the creases out which makes your job much easier. 

Lay your fabric out and position your lampshade, make sure you have at least an inch each side and two inches extra at the ends when you wrap your shade with the fabric. If your fabric has patterns ect make sure you pay attention to these when postioning your lamp shade. 

Now take a pencil, starting at the crease/join of  your lamp shade slowly roll your lamp shade while lightly drawing/tracing the edge of the lampshade until you reach the crease/join again. TIP: Using the crease/join as your starting and finishing point simplifies the process and ensures you cut your fabric to the right size.
Repeat on the top and bottom of the lampshade, once complete you will have two long lines.



Use a ruler and join these lines so you have a rectangle. Now take your ruler and measure approx 1inch out from each line all the way around your rectangle, join the dots, you should now have a small rectangle (the first one) inside a larger rectangle (the second one). This larger rectangle is the part of the fabric which will be folded over the edge of the lampshade.  Cut out the larger rectangle. 


Now its time to apply your glue. I chose a spray glue which is suitable for fabric. I find a spray glue is much easier to use when it comes to fabric, make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and are away from anything you don't want to get glue on. Like spray paint the glue will go everywhere. Evenly spray your fabric on the side of fabric with your lines (this is the back), this particular glue also wanted the shade to be sprayed - follow the instructions on the glue you choose to use. 
Fold over the two short ends of your fabric along the inner line to create a clean seam, spray both well. 

Once both surfaces are beginning to go tacky carefully line up your lamp shade at one end of your fabric, line the seam of the lampshade with one of the folded ends of the fabric. Press firmly and begin slowly rolling your lampshade along the length of your fabric. You should have enough open time with your glue that you can reposition and smooth your fabric as you go. Use a credit card to press out air bubbles as you go.


Once your fabric is wrapped use a sharp pair of scissors and snip at the points where the frame of the shade met the edges of the frame - see photo above. This will make it easier to fold your edges of the fabric over. Spray the inside edge of your shade and begin folding the edges of your fabric over, pressing firmly, continue all the way around your shade. 
Reattach your lampshade to the lamp, add a globe and ta-da! 
Optional: You can line the inside of the shade as well or create a nice seam on the internal by folding the excess in half then folding it over the edge of the lamp. 




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