My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1539: Task Lamp Steampunk Makeover

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-20-2015 12:05 PM 1226 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1538: The Cast of Characters Part 1539 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1540: Carousel Canopy and Stands for the Figures »

Spring has finally arrived here in Nova Scotia! After the long, harsh winter, even me – one who loves winter – was ready for a change. The days are getting longer and the air is warmer and the last remnants of snow piles are slowly disappearing. 

I often find that the change of season encourages me to do some work around the house. Even though I was in the midst of my Haunted Carousel project, as well as several other things that I have on the go, on Saturday I opened up and let the warm air and sunshine in and went to town on doing my 'spring cleaning.' 

I did everything from dusting the ceilings to moving all the furniture and even cleaning UNDER the area rug in our living room. It felt good to get things clean again, and while I usually keep up pretty much with things, this deep cleaning really made me feel happy. I did some work on the speakers that Keith had built, as he finished them about a week ago. I know that our do over of our computer/electronics systems was something that I was going to blog and I still intend to do that. Keith has been weaving time to work on the project in between other things, much like I do with my projects, and I will be honest – the second unit that he built has been waiting for me to paint in the middle of our bedroom floor for over a month now (probably closer to two!)  So you see – I procrastinate just like everyone else on things. But the nice weather and getting things cleaned has encouraged me to get my butt moving in that direction. Besides the project I am going to show you today, I spent the weekend painting and finishing the two large sub-woofer speaker boxes that Keith built. But I will blog that soon on another day. 

Today I am going to show you a smaller project that I decided to tackle. As I was moving furniture and cleaning under my sofa, for some reason it bugged me that my little task lamp that I used for my embroidery and close work by my side of the couch was so ugly. It is made of plastic and painted silver, and very "unimpressive."

Keith and I have a decor that is pretty much black and brown. We love the "Steampunk" genre and little by little, piece by piece, we are adding to that style.  With all the wonderful DecoArt paint that I have, I thought it was time to give this ugly lamp a 'face lift'. 

I began by removing the bulb and carefully taping off the inside area. After all – in needs to reflect white and I didn't want to mess with it:

I decided to use DecoArt's Multi-Surface Satin Paint

This is my absolute favorite 'go to' paint for home dec stuff such as this, which will get some handling and use. The paint needs no prep and no top coat. It is an all in one products that has really great adhesion and durability. It is the same thing I used on my Ladybug Puzzles and I have used it on many other pieces of furniture. Once cured (which takes about a week) it is strong and durable and very easy to keep clean. As with all of their paints, it is water based and odorless and I am amazed that it dries so nicely and quickly. After 20 minutes to a half hour, it is no longer sticky or tacky in the least bit and you can apply the next coat. I had found that many 'satin' type finishes that I have used in the past stay tacky for a long time. I really highly recommend this paint for anything that gets 'use' or handling. The colors are amazing as well. I decided that I was going to use the Black Tie for the base and the Chocolate Metallic as the accent color. (YES! They have them in METALLIC colors, too! They look just amazing!)

After making sure the lamp was clean, I began by using a stippler brush and gently tapping on the first coat of paint:

As you can see, it didn't cover completely. I didn't really feel like sanding the surface, and I probably could have done that to give it a slightly rougher feel for the paint to grab on, but since I wanted somewhat of a texture, it didn't find it necessary. When painting a smooth, non-porous surface such as plastic (like this) we need to understand that it will take two or probably three coats of paint before we get coverage. Painting THICKER and using MORE paint at a time will not make it better. It will usually create a MESS!  The key here is to be PATIENT and allow the paint to work with the surface we are painting. 

By the second coat, there was much better coverage as you can see:

(Sorry the photo is slightly blurry!) But you can see the paint held on better and the coverage was much stronger. I still allowed this to 'dry' for another hour or so and applied a third coat. I then had my solid black, but slightly textured finish that I was seeking.

I allowed this to sit overnight on Saturday and then continued on Sunday. That way I was sure that the paint was completely air-dried (although I realized it would not be cured for a week!)  

I next took the Chocolate paint and did a sponging effect:

Isn't it amazing???  I was really thrilled with the results! I painted the joined areas with Solid Chocolate paint to give a finished look:

But I wasn't done there . . . 

I wanted to give it a 'Steampunk' look – remember? So I decided to use the hot-fix Nailheads that I had on hand from Rhinestone Canada

I will tell you – I fell in LOVE with Rhinestone Canada all over again! I used the 6mm Brown Nailheads which cost only 90 cents per GROSS! I was amazed at just how strong the glue was on them – even on the fresh paint. When I finished the trim around the light, I was really thrilled with the result:

How cool is that?  I think I surprised myself on this one! 

I decided to add a few around the base:

As well as on the middle trim piece:

. . . and here is a better picture of the head of the lamp finished:

Pretty darn cool, I think! 

Here is the final photo of the finished lamp:

I think it is much more attractive than the bland silver. And it looks like it fits right in with our decor.  I honestly don't want to put it back in the corner at the side of the couch. I want it to be "seen"! 

Edgar likes it too:

And it only cost me a couple of dollars! I don't even think I went through one 2oz bottle of black paint and I certainly didn't use much of the Chocolate Metallic paint. The nailheads cost about 40 cents, too. I would think that this entire project cost me about $7 or less to complete. Not too bad! 

I hope you enjoyed seeing this transformation. There are so many fun things you can do just with PAINT and some little accents. Let's face it – if I had purchased that lamp from a store looking like that, it would probably have come from China and still been plastic and cost me many times as much just because it looks more 'finished'. On another blog, I will show the technique I used for the marble effect, although I just looked up "Faux Marbling" on YouTube and looked at a couple of videos. There really is no way to screw it up. If  you put too much of the secondary color, you just go over with the base and start again. "Easy-Peasy"!!

I hope this inspires you a little. Today I will get back to my carousel. Getting away from it for a couple of days really did help me think through some things. I think I figured out the perfect way to get the characters to stay on the base. It is going to be great! 

Happy Monday to you all! Have a wonderful and creative week! 

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

7 comments so far

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2224 days

#1 posted 04-20-2015 12:12 PM

I like that transformation on the lamp. Steam punk is cool cool.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8985 posts in 2340 days

#2 posted 04-20-2015 12:18 PM

We absolutely love it, Roger! It is so fun to make stuff that works with that theme! Just about anything goes – gears, studs, etc! It is ever so cool!

Thank you for your comment! :) HAPPY MONDAY!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View MrsN's profile


975 posts in 2946 days

#3 posted 04-20-2015 04:50 PM

I love steampunk! it is such a fun style. I made a steam punk lamp last summer that I just love, but now you have me thinking of my “ugly” work lights in my shop. hmm….

-- ----- ----- --

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3538 posts in 1981 days

#4 posted 04-20-2015 05:03 PM


You surprised me with this project and I really like what you did with it.
Since you like Steampunk I have a project in mind to make you in the near future.


-- Please help me help other Vets click..> is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8985 posts in 2340 days

#5 posted 04-20-2015 06:40 PM

Thank you both! This was a really fun project. Katie – you will LOVE doing this. I know you will! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Celticscroller's profile


1203 posts in 1493 days

#6 posted 04-20-2015 08:43 PM

What a great idea! Your lamp turned out beautifully. Love the addition of the studs.

-- Anna

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8985 posts in 2340 days

#7 posted 04-21-2015 02:41 PM

Thank you so much Anna! I am thinking of lots of great uses for the studs and nail heads. They are really fun as well. :)

I hope you have a great day! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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