Yes you can spray paint those thrift store brass lamps!

Spray painted brass lamps

Here’s the story of 2 brass lamps I bought a while back at Value Village for $3.03 each.  I see brass lamps like these all the time, but I was excited to find a matching set.

thrift store brass lamps before

And here is where I turn into a bad blogger.  I spray painted them, but I either didn’t take pictures of the process or they have mysteriously disappeared off of my memory card??  I am usually really good about taking pictures so I am wondering if they got accidently deleted Sad smile

So I have no pictures of the process.  Don’t worry, I am sure I will spray paint another lamp sometime and can give you the full tutorial, but for now I will just talk you thought it.

You will want to clean your lamps very well.  Dust, dirt or grime will make the spray paint bubble so make sure to wipe them down very well and make sure they are completely dry.

Then cover the light sockets.  I usually stuff paper towels or old newspaper into the socket and then tape around the switch or anything else that I don’t want painted.  You won’t see this part because the lampshade will over it.

Then PRIME!  Highly recommend spray priming anything metal, glass, ceramic, any kind of smooth surface.  I did several light coats of Krylon white primer until it was covered.  Then I did several coats of Krylon gloss white spray paint.

Because I wanted them to have that store-bought glossy finish, I used Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear high gloss spray paint.  It did make them glossier. but I didn’t read the instructions on the can.  You have to apply this clear finish within an hour of spray painting your last coat of paint or AFTER 48 hours.  My lamps had been drying over an hour, closer to two hours when I went back out to check on them.  So when I sprayed the clear coat on them, a few places crackled like you can see below.    You can’t tell unless you are closely examining it, but maybe one day I will sand it and repair the damage.

crackled spray paint

I need to pick up some of this –   Krylon 12-Ounce Triple Thick Clear Glaze Aerosol Spray.  I would really like to see how that works especially over ceramic spray painted pieces.  Anyone tried it before?

But here are my finished lamps!

Spray painted brass lamps

I keep looking at yard sales and thrift stores for shades, but have a hard time finding modern looking ones in good condition.  The cheapest new ones I was able to find where these lovely ones from Target for on sale for $10 each.  So that makes each lamp+ shade cost $13.  Not too bad considering just the lamp itself new would cost way more than $13 and you would still have to buy the shade separately.

Spray painted brass lamps

I love the lines of these lamps and the shape of the shades.

Spray painted brass lamps

They look very nice on in my entryway.  I need to officially reveal the dresser they are sitting on – look for that post next week.  And I just staged it for pictures with the old window and the flowers.  I am actually considering adding a DIY chalkboard frame where the window is, but I haven’t made it and tried it out yet.    And the flowers are just some lantana that I clipped from my mailbox flower garden that I plan to show you on Wednesday.

Spray painted brass lamps

And I don’t plan to leave the shades white.

Spray painted brass lamps

You may remember my inspiration pictures from this post.  Like this DIY chevron lampshade.  I am just trying to nail down some other color ideas in the living room before I make that decision.

Chevron lamp shade

Leaving them a solid color with some rosettes or other trim is another option too.  Can’t decide what I like better.

Burlap lamp shade

What do you think?  I think I need to nail down the look and feel I want in the room first.  The first chevron shade is very modern and fun, while the second one is more cottagey and homey feeling.  Plus I always try to imagine how it will look decorated around for holidays like Christmas or fall?

Spray painted brass lamps

But for now, I am enjoying this view when I open our front door…

Spray painted brass lamps

ok, maybe not the brass doorknobs – would really like to change those out but that is way at the bottom of the to-do list right now.

You can find the tutorial on the yellow and white wreath here.

Have you ever spray painted any lamps? 

Where do you stand on the brass debate – love it or hate it?

Linking up to Upcycle Monday Linky part at Rockin’ What you Got

Sometimes I link up to these wonderful parties: Sarahndipities, Skip to my Lou, Today’s Creative Blog, How to Nest for Less, Home Stories A to Z, Apron Thrift Girl, Tools are for women too, Not just a Housewife, A bowl full of lemons, Uncommon Designs Online, Someday Crafts, No Minimalist Here,Somewhat Simple, 36th Avenue, Sew Much Ado, The Style Sisters, The Thrifty Home, Domestically Speaking, House of Hepworths, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Weekend Blogging party at Serenity Now, Home Happy Home, Tatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, The Girl Creative, Miss Mustard Seed, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, Remodelaholic, The Lettered Cottage, Before and after party at Thrifty Decor Chick, Pinterest Challenge at Young House Love, Best projects of July at Beneath my Heart,  Rhoda’s Thrifty Treasure party


  1. Oooooooo…love it!!!! they look really great! and love the view when you open your front door!
    Christa @ BrownSugarToast recently posted..A HeroMy Profile

  2. Adorable! I love the look of two white lamps. I’ve been seeing them on designer sites. You are right on trend!

  3. I have a thing for spray paint! Easy to use and (usually) love the results! I found your blog through Refresh Restyle’s fb post. That re-post “reminded” me that I needed to repaint my family room lamps. So, right now, my lamps are sitting in my front yard drying. 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration! I’m now a new follower!

    • Christina says:

      wow, you were quick! it has been too hot here in GA to spray paint. waiting for some cooler temps.

      would love to see pictures of your lamps if you post them.

  4. I need new shades for my lamps. I will now head to Target. I think I would just put removable ribbon around the shades so that you could change it for Christmas or any other holiday or any good reason. I fall on the side of shiney brass. I love it. My maiden name is Brasfield so brass is my favorite anyway.

    • Christina says:

      maybe you can find them on sale at Target – or watch for a sale. They had much better shades than Walmart. 🙂

      no problem – you can like the brass still 🙂 I do like antique brass but just prefer ORB or white better 🙂

  5. Those turned out great! Spray paint makes everything better, doesn’t it!? 🙂
    Vivienne @ The V Spot recently posted..Target Clearance Schedule & Shopping TipsMy Profile

  6. Very cute thanks for the spray paint tips!
    Ikea has great/cheap shades but sometimes they are custom fitted to their lamps so watch out.
    Think you could spray paint doorknobs??? Hmmm!!

    • Christina says:

      There are some tutorials online where people have spraypainted their knobs. I would love to do mine too but taking them all off (you have to take the doors off so you can get to the hinges and then take the knobs out) times like 20 doors! Sounds like a good project for 2013! 🙂

  7. I just did this (spray painted garage sale brass lamps) and looked around for shades as well. I think your $10 target shades are good price. I bought a pair of shades from Ikea, but they are a little more tapered then a straight drum shade. I got mine from Lowes and they were $14/each.

    Your lamps are lovely!

    • Christina says:

      mine were on sale that week – I think normally they are $12-14. I should check Lowe’s too. I first checked Walmart and wasn’t impressed with their supply – expensive and no drum shades.

  8. These look awesome! I like brass only if it is has beautiful patina. Most often, this is NEVER the case, so spray painting them is such a great idea! I am loving these! Nice job!

    • Christina says:

      I do like aged brass or antique brass but not the shiny, gold kind of brass. 🙂 I am so glad that spray painting them turned out so good – I am really enjoying them.

  9. Jo LaBounty-Krohn says:

    I am a decorative finisher (faux) so I’m not a fan of plain anything. By nature I have to jazz it up a little with glaze to give depth and dimension. I have used the hammered iron spray paint in black or bronze and after dry, glazed with either a copper, bronze, silver or just brown giving an aged effect. Beautiful! And no one would ever imagine it was a old brass or cheap find!

  10. so gorgeous! I’m glad you were brave enough to spray away – the lamps were gorgeous to begin with, but I love how you painted it and now sits well with your decor!

    Linking from “serenity now” blog!
    vel recently posted..Fab Friday Finds!!!!My Profile

    • Christina says:

      thank you, Vel! Yes, I am brave enough to spray paint pretty much anything ONCE! 🙂 Thanks for hopping over from the party!

  11. Wonderful redo!
    They look perfect on your dresser!
    dee dee

  12. I always see lamps that I would LOVE to makeover, but I do not NEED any lamps!
    These look amazing and make me want to “accidentally” break one of mine so I can do a new one!
    Visiting from Southern Hospitality
    Laurel (@abubblylife) recently posted..Thrifty Tuesday! Owl Find!My Profile

  13. These are fabulous! Love the look and can’t wait to see what you decide to do with the shades!
    Renee@ Living Laughing & Loving recently posted..How to make your own Giant iPad Bulletin Board!My Profile

  14. Christina, your lamps came out great! I will have to keep an eye out for a pair when I go to my Salvation Army store. They always have lamps that I imagine would make great makeovers.
    Seeing as you’re a spray painting kind of gal, try spray painting your door knob – I changed out a bunch around my house but to replace the front door hardware was so expensive, I sanded and then sprayed it – and it has held up great!!

  15. i spray painted a couple of brass floor lamps – one is black, the other ORB. I love the look of them. They are solid and sturdy and now I will never have to polish them again! Yours turned out really nicely!

  16. Not only have I passed up great shaped brass lamps, but I have gotten rid of a few myself! I can’t believe how great they turned out! I would never guess in a million years that they are brass underneath that fabulous finish! I was thinking that the chevron stripes would be perfect but maybe not in a strong contrasting color. Something a little more subtle. The rosettes are cute, but will be dust collectors!
    Elaine recently posted..Dramatic Bath Remodel!My Profile

  17. What a great re-do!…I’m in love with Value Village finds. I’ve been afraid to try lamps but you’ve inspired me!
    Jenna Hill recently posted..Front porch planter for fallMy Profile

  18. Just painted all my brass knobs oil rubbed bronze (spray paint) and they look great. You commented on your knobs and I just wanted to let u know. Don’t pay to replace them.

  19. What a fabulous outcome. That goes with my theory that everything should be painted white. At Least until I see the next fabulous piece in gorgeous color.
    Melissa Aldana recently posted..When I say Festooned I mean FestoonedMy Profile

  20. I am truly happy to glance at this web site posts which contains lots of useful facts, thanks for
    providing such information.
    Elaine recently posted..ElaineMy Profile

  21. Those lamps turned out great! I’m pretty sure I have a few spray cans laying around….*runs to local thrift store*
    Jenny Rice recently posted..Possini LightingMy Profile

  22. WOW! I love the update–they look modern and fresh!

  23. I have to ask…. WHERE did you find your window treatments????

  24. Hi! Loved this post. I’m 25 and about to move into a downtown Charlotte apartment so my Mom and I went bargain hunting (YARD SALE!!). I found 2 brass lamps, tall and beautiful…suddenly I became so inspired! I knew there was a way to revamp them. At $1.50 per lamp it was a steal! I can’t wait to follow your instructions above for chic new lamps.

    There is a great store that has awesome lamp shades of every shape, color, pattern, size…it’s called Garden Ridge. Not sure if you have them in GA, but it’s terrific for home decor.

    Thanks for the post!

  25. I found this site via P interest. I picked up a brass candelabra last week for $4.00. Hubby won’t let me paint it. He even went and got some Brasso to show me how good it will look done up. He’s a spoilsport. Now I have to find something else to paint and yet I see these lamps of yours and I swoon.

  26. I have painted several brass lamps with good success. I use a spray bonding primer and then an iron/dull pewter spray paint (both from Lowes). The paint covers and wears well. I used burlap shades.

  27. Your DIY lamps look very nice! I’m in the process of painting lamps similar to yours and was wondering if you knew the dimensions of the shades you purchased from Target. Thank you!

  28. JA Walter says:

    Your lamps are. so beautiful. I love painted things, but I aim still a lover of brass as well. The shiner the better!


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