Easy Lamp Revamp

Apparently this is my winter for lamp make-overs!

Last month I painted a stained lampshade to update a pretty blue canning jar lamp and today I chalk painted and waxed two out-of-date 1960’s brass lamp bases. My bedroom lamps are not old enough to qualify for vintage but they are certainly not new either.


Here is the “before” shiny brass lamp with its old pleated shade. 

The pleated shades are quite dated and because they are a light weight fabric and pleated they collect dust and are a pain to keep vacuumed.



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Both lamps bases before the recent make-over.

I have been looking at new lamps at Home Depot and on the Internet and I fell in love with this wooden artisan-shape lampbase (which I would have painted or more likely washed using my watered down green chalk paint.) But when I realized each lamp cost $125.00 plus shipping and that I needed two of them I knew new lamps were not going to be in my current budget.

And besides I don’t want my lamps to look too matchy-matchy, right?


A Kathy Ireland designed lamp with the look of a hand-turned base. So pretty.

So instead I bought two new lampshades at Home Depot at $19.95 each and painted the lampbases I already had. I would have preferred a drum-shaped style shade but the size I needed did not come in that shape. I also needed a shade large enough and deep enough to cover up the brass screw in the lightbulb part so this was the only shade that actually fit my older style lamps.


A close up of the shiny brass look that was popular in the 70’s & 80’s.

My choice of shades colors was a bit limited but these marbled tan shades will do the trick and will certainly freshen up our bookshelf headboard and provide some nice contrast of the dark green paint against our medium green painted wall.


Left lamp based painted right hand side base painted and waxed.

I crawl into bed early every night to read and wind down so these lamps get quite a workout in my home.

  • I started off by washing the bases well to remove any dust or gunk that might have settled there over the past few decades.
  • Then I brushed on the Ce Ce Caldwell’s Michigan Pine chalk paint just covering them with one coat because I wanted some small bits of brass to show through for contrast.
  • Then I waxed each base using Ce Ce Caldwell’s Aging Wax using a rag to apply the wax because my waxing brush was too stiff to get the wax into the cracks and crevices. See more information here; http://www.cececaldwells.com

I was torn between waxing and not waxing because I like them both ways so I  sat with them a few days until I made up my mind.


The painted lamps bases in process in my kitchen.

Finally I waxed them both and this Ce Ce Caldwell’s wax took forever to dry. I’m not at all sure I like that slow-drying trait. It took the wax longer to dry than the chalk paint itself which dries in less than an hour!

I put on the new shades, took a few photographs and put them into place in my bedroom. This project was very easy to do and only took me one day (except for the wax drying which took more than a week) so my “satisfaction rating” is high. LOL!

This is budget-based decorating at its best!


Do you have any lamp bases or shades you might like to paint?

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

My DYI Chalk Painted Lampshade

I tried a little experiment today.

I had a seriously discolored lampshade on a DYI lamp that I put together a couple of decades ago from an old canning jar and stones. I was visiting a hardware shop in Shipshewana, Indiana and purchased a DYI lamp making kit.


I photographed this image so that you could see the cord set-up coming out from under the shade. That’s my handmade paper on canvas artwork on the wall behind this vignette.

I found this large quart Ball jar and added the screw on lid, added some pretty black stones I had gathered and I had a small-scale lamp. I was a young bride and I was pretty proud of myself then.

I noticed this past week that the white replacement lampshade was mottled and discolored. I automatically set it aside to go to Lowe’s with the intent of purchasing a new shape. Then it occurred to me, why not try to paint it before I discarded it? I even had the same color chalk paint that I used on the dresser turned family room storage unit that it sits on.


I have successfully used chalk paint on wood, metal, and a vintage leather top table so why not give it a try? It was incredibly easy to do. I watered the paint down very lightly, used a regular paint brush and painted it on taking care not to load too much paint on the glued edge.

I am really pleased as how the fabric took the paint. Not only does it cover the stains beautifully the finished shade has a lovely velvety look to it.


A vintage Ball Perfect Mason jar holds Petoskey stones I gathered over the years.

This little trick save me the cost of a new lampshade and even more important it saved me over an hour’s drive to get to the closet home improvement store. It also saved a lampshade from going into the landfill. What a win-win!


A repurposed and painted gentleman’s chest in maple wood and sea foam green chalk paint adds a bit of pop to the window wall in our family room as well as needed extra storage. This chest which is adjacent to a bathroom is filled with TP and paper towels!

This is one DYI experiment that worked!

Small House Homesteader, Donna

Finding the Courage to Paint my Island

I’ve have wanted to paint my kitchen island for a long time now. But I have had this irrational fear of a future buyer (most likely my age) not buying my home because my kitchen island is now chalk painted. I know this is crazy but honestly this is how I have felt. I know it’s only paint but the fear of a future buyer being turned off by the idea of a painted island has stopped me in my tracks every time.


My maple island “before” its current transformation.

But every decorating magazine or book I pick up shows the kitchen island painted a lovely color,, a look I adore and I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE chalk painted furniture. This week I finally decided to forge ahead and paint it anyway. This kitchen island will stay here while any of my other painted furniture pieces will be sold or go with me to our new place, wherever and whenever that will be.

I do love my maple kitchen cupboards and am grateful to have such a lovely kitchen to cook in but if there is such a thing as too much wood in one room then this room is definitely the poster child for that. I knew I wanted a deep dark green and that I was going to start by painting and waxing the drawers. I would leave the sides maple to start. I often paint furniture in a two-tone kind of way leaving quite a bit of the natural wood showing and this is my way to test the waters, so to speak.


The finished island with its original maple pulls put back on. It looks like I had better stain and polyurethane the back of the second chest!!

I purchased a quart of chalk paint by Annie Sloan in the new color called Amsterdam Green. Roadblock # 1: I did not like that shade of green color. It was just too Christmassy green for my room. So I reverted back to my old favorite stand-by Michigan Pine green, by CeCe Caldwell. I had just about enough left to accomplish my goal.

I quickly realised that Michigan Pine green is a much better choice of green for our home and especially for the deep shade of green found in my green, rust, gold and brown runner that lies in front of this island. My area rugs were chosen with dogs and our homesteads ample outdoor dirt in mind!


This runner has a forest green color that just works with the Michigan pine chalk paint. 


This is the Amsterdamn Green that was too christmassy looking for my tastes.

We put down a light-colored bleached wood look linoleum floor throughout our home when we moved here in 2000. When we moved here Small House had a country-practical dark brown carpet and the space look way to dark for my taste.

This linoleum is laid using three varying sizes of linoleum strips that make it look just like wood to most guest eyes. This runner was put down when my Labrador Retriever Spirit started aging and was having trouble managing the slippery floors. This runner also keeps my granddaughters from tripping and falling to.

My original plan was to take it slow and paint just the island front and then wax it with black wax. I know I can always paint the other sides later on if I really like this new look.


My newly “tweeked” kitchen with the repurposed maple shelves, the black stove vent newly painted and kitchen island adorned in Michigan Pine chalk paint. 

Yes, I know that using dark wax directly over paint goes against the “rules” of chalk painting but I do this all the time.  I love how it look when completed to. Just call me a chalk painting rebel!

Yes, all the directions tell you to wax with clear wax first and then wax with dark wax but that is not how I do it. I like dark wax right over the paint. I expect to put the old maple wood pulls back on but I will see how that looks and decide if I will go safe or make a change to go a bit more spiffy with new pulls.


I extended my storage space by adding an antique chest. This piece holds placematts, linen napkins, candles and tall vases that my homes lack of storage cannot house. 

What do you think? Do you like it painted green?

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna