Green With En-…Paint

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled the past several months for some chunky new/old lamps at our local thrift stores to replace the tall, thin ones we have in our master bedroom. 
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So many times I’ve found only one really cool lamp without a matching partner but a few weeks ago I lucked out and found these heavy, vintage glass lamps:
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They were nice and dirty and in need of some tlc…just like I like ‘em.

Here’s what they look like today:
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After taking apart and refurbing these lamps in the girls’ nursery, I knew a little of the how-to’s of wiring and taking apart/putting together lamps.  It’s really not hard at all and so worth it if you find a sweet pair for cheap and in need of some paint or just new wiring.

Here’s how to do it.  One lamp at a time; slow and steady does it.  Turn the lamp over so you can see the base.  You should see the end of the threaded rod and a nut holding everything in place.
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Unscrew the nut from the rod, which allows you to pull apart the lamp piece by piece.  Be extra careful if you’re working with a glass lamp with lots of pieces like me.  You’ll want to make sure the lamp is on it’s side and slowly start sliding each part down the rod just enough to loosen the whole thing up and get enough extra wiring at the top to remove the wiring from the light bulb base.
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See what I mean by loosening everything up?
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You won’t be able to remove all the pieces individually until you remove the wiring at the top of the lamp, which looks like this after you simply pull off the little top cover (sorry, no technical terms from the non-electrician over here).glasslamps 004
Depending on how old or new your lamp is, this top part might look a little different.  Some you simply unscrew and some you might have to remove a screw to separate.  Mine simply pulled off.

Next you’ll want to remove your wiring.  There should be two wires to remove (at least in the lamps I’ve messed with there were two) and those wires will be wrapped around two screws.  Unscrew the screws which then loosens the wire and pull off the wire.
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The light bulb casing will now be on it’s own and your wiring might be tied underneath it like this:glasslamps 008
Untie it and now you can completely disassemble your lamp, piece by piece.

VERY IMPORTANT:  Make sure that when you’re taking all the pieces off that you either take lots of pictures showing how they go back on to use as a reference later or take them off and line them up as you’re going and snap a shot.  Unless you’re a master lamp maker, it’ll be hard to remember where each little piece goes!  I lined all the pieces up and took a couple of pictures:

Now we get to the fun part.  Painting.  :)

The metal pieces of my lamps were peeling and discolored so at first I decided I’d spray paint them gold.  So I did:glasslamps44

And then I changed my mind and spray painted them silver instead…fickle me.glasslamps2 (2) 

And then after I put the lamps back together I regretted the silver and wished I’d have kept them gold…fickle fickle me.

Whatever.  Moving on.

I’ve had plans to inject some more color into our bedroom for some time now and thought the lamps would be a good place to start.  So, the girls and I made a little trip to Michael’s to grab some acrylic paint and came home with this color: glasslamps2 (3)
A minty green called Spearmint.  (Side note:  Is it just me or do you go into a craft/home improvement store on a mission to get paint knowing exactly what color you want, only when you get to the paint aisle you stand there dumbfounded because you thought you knew what you wanted but then you see the other shades of the color you thought you wanted and all the other colors and the other shades of every other color and all of a sudden you just don’t know what you want so you stand there looking like you got hit by a truck until you finally just grab a color hoping you won’t regret your decision (or you just leave thinking you’ll sleep on it another four nights)????  Whew, take a breather Sheena.  Well, that’s me every. single. time.  Fabric decisions and paint decisions.  My life be like rough.)

So anyway, I got my paint and a little craft paintbrush and painted the inside of each glass piece (after washing them out nice and good-like).
glasslamps2 (1)I gave each piece one coat and I know it looks a little streaky but the streakiness doesn’t show once the lamp is put together because no light illuminates through the glass, only from the top down…comprehendo?

After the paint was dry I referenced the picture I took of all the lamp pieces lined up in a row and put the lamps back together, starting with the bottom-most piece and working my way to the top.  If you’re working with painted glass pieces like me, be extra careful about scratching the paint.  It will scratch off if scratched (one reason I wouldn’t recommend using acrylic paint on glass if you’re painting parts that will be touched once you’re finished).  On the plus side though, if you change your mind about the color 10 months down the road, all you have to do is scrub and repaint.  :)

Here’s an “unofficial” after picture showing the fabric for the pillows…
and the Tums I rely so heavily on every night set on a cluttered night stand.  Plans include painting those nightstands (white?), adding some legs to raise them to bed level, and adding mirrors.  :)  I can’t wait.  Other plans include building an upholstered headboard, hanging some much needed art around the place, and convincing Anthony we need some matching faux sheepskin rugs on each side of the bed.  Then there’s always other ideas like hanging some faux roman shades under the curtains, maybe building a bench for the foot of the bed, yadda yadda yadda.  All of this with three kids in tow.  Should be done circa 2020. Am I asking too much if I say “stay tuned”?  :)

Back to the project at hand though, here’s a budget break down:
Lamps:  $12 ($6 each)
Shades:  free (stolen from the guest bedroom whose lamps now sport some clearanced shades I found months ago)
Paint:  37 cents (from Michael’s and purchased with a 50% off coupon…because $.37 saved is $.37 earned people)
Spray Paint:  already had (but purchased at Walmart for around $4 a can)
Total Cost:  $12.37

What do you think?  Isn’t the pattern on the glass the coolest?  That’s what had me at hello…and cha-ching.
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Funny, not-related story:  As I was eyeing these lamps in the thrift store, an older gentleman eyeing some other second-hand item next to me looked over and with a serious face and twinkle in his eye said “You’d better pay for that basketball before you leave Miss.”  (He was talking about the baby bump in case that one flew you by.)  Usually I’m not one for comments on the belly (“Any day now, huh?”, “Looks like someone had too much to eat!”…), but that was cute, I had to admit.  :)

Anywho, let me know if you have any questions or if I can explain anything better.  I know the thought of taking apart a lamp can be intimidating but trust me, you can do it too! 

Have a good Tuesday all you people!

.           .           .

P.S.  If you already have your Christmas decor out and lit, you’re ages ahead of me…which I assume since Christmas is umpteen days away, you do.  I was all excited to get ours out but the past few days have left me wondering if, on January 13th (the day Christmas officially ends, fyi) my future self will hate my past self for putting it all up so that I can take it all down while recovering from labor, nursing/caring for/changing/being attached to a newborn AND painfully chasing the twins.  Is it worth it?  Is singing Happy Birthday to Jesus enough for this year?  I’m leaning toward yes…


  1. Crimeny. Those are some seriously awesome lamps. Love the pattern in the glass and the paint color is very tranquil. Sheena FTW!
    P.S. Don't stress out about the Christmas decorating! I am a notorious non-decorator and the season is always wonderful anyway:)

    1. Could you use chalk paint on the inside? Already have the color I like did not want to reinvest in paint.

      I was at our local goodwill today Saturday (everything 50% off) found a crystal lamp as shown; purchased for $2.50 awesome right. Need new shade and rub and buff. Can't wait to do project for guestroom.

    2. Definitely Karen! What a great buy! I'd love to see a picture when you're done - Have fun!!

  2. The lamps look so cool! Great color choice. We moved on Thanksgiving day and just got our tree up on Sunday. We won't even be home for Christmas but I do love the lights of the tree in the evening. Do what is best for your energy level right now.

    1. Thanks Emma! Ditto to the lights of the tree in the evening. So homey and I know if we don't put the tree up I'll really miss that. Might have to just put the tree out but skip the ornaments...happy medium? :)

  3. Those are awesome. You're so good at seeing the potential in things! I'm a bit jealous of your mad skillz. ;)

  4. Those lamps were an awesome find made even more awesome by your genius. Ps. I likey the silver, for what it's worth!

    1. Thanks Natasha! I really like the silver too, even though the gold is beckoning back, but I think I'll like it even more when the nightstands are painted and done.

  5. Ooooh I love them!! That color of green is one of my favorites and with the glass it is perfect! Better guard them well! ;)
    I have never taken a lamp apart before but the way you showed looks so do-able. Maybe one of these days I'll get the courage to try.
    Oh and by the way I juuuust put up my first Christmas decorating item today. We'll maybe get a tree this weekend and do a bit more decorating. It is always so much easier/more fun to put up than to take I'm learning from my past self to simplify a least until the kids get big enough to help out more.

    1. Ha! It actually crossed my mind to put these in the living room instead of the bedroom and then I remembered I have kids and kids plus glass bueno. :)
      And yes, putting up beats taking down by a landslide. Maybe I can put some stuff up and then convince my in-laws to take down while they're here after the baby is born...haha! :)

  6. what a fabulous idea! love that you painted the insides! and green is a fave color of mine and they remind me of the vintage-y bowls that start with the letter B... bakelite? oh geeesh, one of my 6 kids must have run off with my mind again.
    and you described me to a T as you stand before paint/fabric. TO.A.T! This also happens when I just walk into a craft store anymore. I'm all "why am I here? do I want to start making jewelry? what are all these unfinished wood pieces, maybe I should buy 10..." it's a vicious place. lol

  7. I'm devoted to thrifted projects and here's one that NEVER would have occurred to me. These turned out fabulous -- such a high-end and up-to-date result. Bravo!

    1. What a compliment from a fellow thrifter! Thank you! :D

  8. Loved your finished project; that cool mint green is so in right now, too! Wish the thrifts would carry more reasonably priced lampshades. Easy to find lamps, harder to find shades! Loved people's humorous comments.

    1. Thanks Kathy! Our thrift stores carry loads of cheap lampshades but they're always pretty ugly and those are a little harder to manipulate into looking good, I think. It's funny you say that though because, now that I think about it, all of my thrifted lamps are topped with new shades. Haha!

  9. Hi there! Love this idea!! Trying to follow your excellent instructions but I have snag--there is something called a "hickey" that electrical part that is called a hickey attached to the base--don't know how to loosen or remove to continue to de--semble the lamp....any experience with the electrical hickey part on my lamp from the 80's?? Thx!

    1. Hey Rosanna! First of all, HAHA! Who came up with that name, huh? Second, I have no idea and I"m so sorry! I've never seen them before my quick google search two minutes ago! There has to be a way though...they got it on somehow and it must come off! I'll reply in the future if I ever come across one and figure it out! Good luck!!

  10. Wow, your lamps are awesome! I love the color. I know what I'll now be on the look-out for while thrifting :)

    1. Thanks!! Good luck! I hope you find some! :D

  11. I love what you did with these lamps! I just found this exact lamp, which is how I came across your post - but no lampshade! May I ask what size lampshades you used on yours (slant height)?

    1. Hey Jessica!! That's awesome!!! I used the 'medium' size at Target...I think it was a 13" slant? Not positive on the measurement and I can't measure because I sold these two before we moved. :( Have fun with it!

  12. Looks great! I love the look of painted glass.
    Funny... I have VERY similar plans for my bedroom. Same color on the walls too!
    Great minds...

  13. Very good job on your posting,very detailed and anyone can comprehend what you are trying to convey! The lamps are lovely!

  14. I have two of those exact lamps from my mom but one doesn't work but now that I've seen your tutorial I'm good to go and I'm going to paint mine! This is a great posting ... concise, clever and the photos and instructions are clear ... I can do this! Thank you so much.

    1. Ooh, that's great!! And thank you for the compliment on my instructions!! That's my goal so it's so good to hear feedback! :D