Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brass is Out

I have to set today's craft up with a back story and apologize because this is going to be a long entry. Since I moved into my apartment last year, I have been searching for a lamp to put on a small book shelf next to my door. I have never found one that matched the color scheme of my room.

Specifically, I wanted it to match the framed poster I have hanging next to the book shelf.

You know what they say, if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. So today I have decided to create my own lamp instead of endlessly searching for one.

Now for the craft.

I absolutely love thrifting. Thrift stores are one of the best places to find cheap crafting materials. That being said, most of the things you find in thrift stores aren't exactly "display ready" upon purchase. But with a little creativity and free time these thrifty finds can become one-of-a-kind masterpieces. I ended up spending less than $15 on the lamp I made today, which isn't too shabby if I must say.

Today, at my local Salvation Army, I found this gem for $4.

It was ugly and brass (vomit) and had a terrible lamp shade that was stained with God knows what. It needed me to fix it up. I also purchased a new, less tacky, customizable shade from Jo-Ann's (for about $10 on sale) and a can of spray paint to do the base.

Just for giggles I took a journey down the paint aisle of Lowe's after picking out spray paint to see if they would have any colors that came close to matching my poster. Without the poster with me, I was doing this entirely by memory. I purchased a small container (for about $3) of a color I thought was sort of close. Somehow, I struck gold.

I brought all of my treasures home and began my craft. I removed the original shade from the lamp and disposed of it. Since the lamp was in such rough shape, I gave it a nice sponge bath with warm, soapy water. I dried it off and took it outside to begin spray painting. I covered the parts I didn't want painted in painter's tape (like the cord) and began painting. I did about three coats of paint to make sure I got every crease. It already looked a million times better.

Next, came the shade. The one I bought came with an outer layer that you could customize and then stick back on to the shade. I painted about 4 coats of the Valspar paint onto the shade cover. I made sure to always paint in the same direction and that the coverage was even. That way, when the lamp was turned on, the coverage didn't look spotty on the shade.

After painting the first coat, I thought I was going to hate the color and had a small anxiety attack that I had just committed a major craft fail. But after a few more coats, it actually looked really nice.

Next came the trim. I had some lace left over from a previous craft so I decided to add that to the shade to give the lamp some character. I cut a piece about a half inch longer than the shade cover (to allow for possible mistakes).

When it comes to gluing anything, I swear by Mod Podge. I credit it with all of my greatest crafting successes. I applied a liberal layer to the shade and worked on smoothing the lace down onto the surface. Don't be afraid to get your hands a little messy during this step. The lace can be a little tricky to get to lay flat since the shade is curved so you really have to work with it. I ended up cutting a few slits in the lace so that I could lay it evenly without creating lumps or creases.

I covered the lace with another layer of Mod Podge after I had it positioned where I wanted it. I let it dry for about an hour.

Next, I reapplied the shade cover to the shade. This was honestly the most frustrating part. I felt like I needed a glass of wine after peeling and place and then repeeling and replacing the shade cover until it was perfect. But once I got it in place, I was really pleased with the result. I used another layer of Mod Podge to seal the ends together.

I let that dry for another hour or so and finally put the lamp together. Voila! The end result!

Stay crafty, my friends.

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