How to apply plaster, paint, and dirt to a lamp and make it look like a designer inspired lamp. This DIY lamp method can also be used with vases, bowls, planters, pots, and more!
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While browsing thrift stores, I always take a look at the lamp section. There are so many lamps that have gorgeous shapes and textures. If you learn to look past the outdated color and dirty old lamp shades, you can start to see the potential of the lamp. While it is not impossible, it is more difficult to locate two matching lamps. I’ve also found that places like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowes carry inexpensive lamps. For this project, I found a lamp from Walmart that has a similar shape to one that I loved from Pottery Barn. I purchased two lamps and got busy using plaster. Here is how I gave our lamps a little makeover!
- Spray Paint I with Paint + Primer
- Spray Paint II
- Perfect Plaster
- Paint Brush
- Sanding Sponge – 220-grit
- Dirt – substitute with coffee grounds if you don’t have brown dirt.
- Harp + Lamp Shade – optional if you already have one.
- Prime lamp if the lamp has a shiny or slick appearance. The plaster will work better if it has something to adhere to over the slick surface.
- Mix plaster in a mixing bowl, two parts mix and one part water until a pancake batter consistency. Be prepared to work quickly, the plaster sets and gets clumpy within several minutes.
- Apply plaster to lamp. I started working around the lamp using a spatula to apply even amounts of plaster. You can make it as rustic or smooth as you desire. I added several layers of plaster, moving on to a brush for a smoother appearance.
- Let dry. Lightly sand any clumps that you do not like. The package says to let plaster dry for 24 hours but I let it dry for a few hours before moving on to the next step.
- Apply several coats of spray paint until desired color is achieved. I started with Rustoleum 2x Ultra Matte White and also used Rustoleum Chalked Linen White Spray Paint to add more texture.
- While paint is still wet, mix dirt and water in a bowl. Rub dirt on the lamp in various locations using a paper towel or glove. Let dirt dry and use a damp rag to remove any excess dirt. Allow dirt to dry again.
- Repeat steps 3-6 until desired look is achieved. I found that ending with Rustoleum Chalked Linen White Spray Paint made the project look complete.
- Optional: I found an adjustable harp at Target and spray painted it using Rustoleum Flat Black. Then I splurged and used this lamp shade from Pottery Barn.
While I spent approximately $100 per lamp, that is well under the $299 price tag for the Pottery Barn lamp. I actually splurged by buying new lamps at Walmart for $49 each and lamp shades for $49 each from Pottery Barn. The lamp shade is so beautiful and worthy of the price. If anything, always splurge on the perfect lamp shade because it will decide the fate of your lamp!
If you enjoyed this project, make sure to check out my other plaster projects here. I recently installed this molding and shared this DIY bed. I can’t wait to share what is next for this room! Stay tuned and have a wonderful week!