For me, the enjoyment of upcycling is about the process. While the thrill of the thrifting jitters is fun and the end result always gives me a sense of joy and satisfaction, it's the process that I revel in. I picked up a $12 lamp from an incredible charity shop here in Noosa. I have been sworn to keep it's location a secret and I will honour that - sorry guys! When I dropped in for the first time, I could not pick my jaw up from the ground. This place is incredible and I immediately gravitated towards a lamp with a walpole blackboy base. The shade was meh but the base had potential. I actually picked up this lamp a couple of months ago and haven't had the time to think about how I would upcycle it until this week.
I wanted to paint the vase using plaster of paris, but that ended up being a bit of a fail and when I realised I had some Selley's white grout leftover from another project, I wondered if I could use this to paint the vase instead. I knew I wanted to use the grout as "paint" but then it struck me - why not try something new and fresh and paint the lampshade. Yup! You read correctly! While my original plan was to paint the lamp base in grout, I decided to paint the lampshade instead and use my liquid terracotta paint and plaster of paris mixture to paint the base. And here we are. The process had a lot of twists and turns, and I am so glad it did because I honestly couldn't be happier! Read on to learn how to make your own upcycled lamp - using grout, liquid terracotta paint and plaster of paris.
Remove the lampshade from the base and set aside. Wipe down the base and shade using a clean cloth. Apply painters tape to the light fixture and spray the base with white spray paint (sorry I forgot to take a photo of this step!). Set aside to dry.
Mix 1/2 tablespoon of plaster of paris with about 1 cup of liquid terracotta paint. Mix vigorously to combine. It may look a little lumpy but that's ok. Keep mixing until the paint is fluffy and smooth. Add more plaster or paint as you need. Paint one coat on the base. Set aside to dry. Apply another coat of the terracotta paint and set aside to dry. By all means, feel free to apply three layers if you want a more organic terracotta finish. Remove painters tape.
Paint the exterior of the lampshade with white paint; don't paint the inside of the lampshade. Set aside to dry.
Apply grout to the lampshade using a paint brush. To create the textured pattern on the front of the sconce, slap the paint brush down on it's flat side then smooth it down lightly with your hands (make sure you wear disposable gloves!).
When the lampshade is dry, screw it back onto the lamp base.
This transformation is epic! I can't believe how different it looks and I couldn't be happier. It's amazing what you can do with a little creativity and some fun tools by your side - in this case grout, liquid terracotta paint and plaster of paris. I seem to be in the midst of a lamp addiction at the moment so if you're loving this lamp upcycle make sure you check out these projects: