Thursday, October 17, 2013

The one with the spray paint (or why I should stick to sewing)

The problem with reading a lot of crafty DIY blogs is that you start to think you can actually do all of the things they suggest. Build your own bookcase! Refinish that table top! Spray paint lamps! Which brings us to this. Our bedroom has been a bit unfinished ever since we moved in a year and a half ago. First, there's this wall above my dresser.
There used to be a TV on the bracket, but then we moved it downstairs, and the wall has been sad ever since. I've been wanting to frame some of our Italy pictures, and this wall was just screaming to be their home. On the other side of the room sits our bed, flanked by two very sad Target lamps. (Also, for the record, the paint color is the same throughout our room; there's just some weird lighting in these pictures. The picture above is pretty accurate.)
Anyway, the lamps were originally purchased as part of a matching set with some floor lamps that are no longer in use. They're cheap and pretty sad and will hopefully be replaced before too long, but I thought perhaps I could do something to spruce them up in the meantime. Not to mention their black bases didn't go with anything in the room. Cue DIY blog: yes, you too can spray paint a lamp. It's easy! (Lies!) So a few months ago, after wanting to do it for months and months and finally tracking down the right paints and some plain wooden frames, I set up this station in our garage.
It just went downhill from there. So many rookie mistakes were made. First, you might note how close everything is. FYI, one drop cloth is not a sufficient amount of space on which to spray paint three lamps (I also grabbed one from the guest space in the basement), five picture frames, and a jewelry holder, especially when using three different colors on various pieces.

Then, there was the paint dripping. And the parts of lamps that just wouldn't cover. Take, for instance, the guest room lamp, which turned out the worst and simply couldn't be salvaged.
Yeah, that's not going on anyone's Flikr favorites. After multiple coats, countless sighs of frustration, and a few tears, I gave in for the night and determined that I needed a different kind of paint. I came back the next day with a paint that included primer (duh!), and things drastically improved, but please don't look too close. Here are the bedroom lamps after.
The color's not exactly what I was going for and combined with the white shades, I fear the lamps come off as a bit juvenile (they'd look better in a teen girl's room), but I do think they're better than the old black version, so it wasn't a total loss.
As for the frames, I gave up on the spray paint altogether after the first night and ended up finishing them by hand with a few coats of gloss paint. Again, the colors turned out brighter than what I was going for, but at least the paint looks good, and I think they fill up the wall nicely.
I'm still debating whether to add anther one to the left side (maybe a vertical one?). I can't decide whether that space needs something.
See? Good even up close.
So, no more spray painting for me, but now I keep thinking of all the spaces in the house that could use some colorful frames. In case you're interested, the frames were from Michael's (bought on sale and with 40% off coupons), and I used gloss acrylic paint for the final coats. I hung them using these command strips, which are wonderful.


  1. Poor child, what a struggle, but the lamps don't look half bad. At least you will know what to do next time! On the other hand, I love the picture frames, especially the different shades of blue. And yes, I think you do need one on the left and vertical would look really good but now you have to find a vertical picture! :) Love you, you did well. :)

  2. Practice makes perfect, isn't that what people say. I like the different shades of blue that you used for the frames. As to your question about adding another vertical frame...collections tend to look better in odd numbers and since you have 4 frames on the wall, adding another wouldn't hurt. Yay! for trying something new.


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