I used baking soda to transform some outdated Goodwill lamps! I’ll show you just how easy it was…
But for just a moment, let’s travel back in time about 3 years – we were finally finished renovating our kitchen and my previous dining room buffet lamps now clashed with our new kitchen wall color (we combined the two rooms). I decided to use them in our living room since we had no lamps in there:
So for the next 3 years I had buffet lamps on my living room end tables. Not just buffet lamps, but permanently crooked buffet lamps since my son miraculously managed to knock one off the table twice and bent the entire frame without shattering the glass.
Every time I looked at those lamps I cringed, but hey, they worked.
A few weeks ago I decided it was finally time for a change. I began scouring thrift stores for a pair of lamps that would be a good size and shape, even if the finish was less than ideal. I finally stumbled upon these at $6 apiece:
I was inspired to create textured lamps as I was cleaning my oven a few weeks ago. Haha, yes, my oven… I was using a baking soda paste to clean and loved how smooth and moldable it felt – I thought why not make faux pottery with something similar?!
- Baking Soda (amount depends on the size of your project – see below)
- White School Glue
- White Acrylic Paint (or other color if you want it tinted)
- Measuring cup & spoon
- Disposable container for mixing (I used a clean old yogurt container)
- Spoon for mixing
- Spray paint or antiquing glaze ( I used Rustoleum Chalked Smoked Glaze)
- Foam Brush
Make sure you test your lamps to ensure they work! I forgot to do this before I started, but thankfully they worked fine! Whew…
First I cleaned the lamps well with a damp rag – you can use a cleaning solution like Simple Green if you’d like. Obviously, do all of this with the lamps unplugged, please…
Next, I removed the harp at the top (the part that holds the shade) and sprayed it with the smoked glaze. Then I sprayed the shiny brass parts on the lamps with the same glaze. I liked using this somewhat translucent glaze instead of opaque paint as it left it still looking like metal. The smoked glaze on top of the shiny brass created an aged oil-rubbed bronze look.
If the lamp’s cord is an ugly color, you could spray at least the top part (the part that will be visible coming off the back of the table). Don’t spray down near the plug, please!
Once that was completely dry (I waited overnight), I made up this paste:
1 cup baking soda
~ 3 Tbsp school glue
~ 2 Tbsp water
~ 2 tsp acrylic paint
Mix it all together – it should form a moldable dough that is slightly crumbly if you rub it between your fingers. If it’s too crumbly, add a little more glue. You don’t want it to be too wet or it will cling to your fingers, slide off your project, and probably take forever to harden!
For reference, I made about 5 batches per lamp (they are large lamps). I recommend only making one or two batches at a time, though, as it will dry out pretty quickly as you’re working.
Starting at the top of each lamp, I pressed the dough on in little sections, connecting each blob to the previous. You can decide how smooth (or not) you want yours to be – I wanted mine to have definite texture, so I purposely left ridges and dents.
As long as you’re joining new blobs to the previous ones, it should stick just fine. I had no problems with mine sliding down. If you do have that issue, it may be too wet – add a little more baking soda. If it’s crumbling apart too much, add more glue to the mixture.
Once I had covered both lamps, I let them dry and harden 24 hours or more. They should not be wet or soft to the touch at all. In fact, they will be quite hard when they are ready!
Finally, I sprayed some of that same smoked glaze into a disposable cup and used a foam brush to lightly brush all over the textured part of the lamps. Don’t try to make it uniform – just have fun with it. My lamps actually look quite different from one another but that’s okay. They’re unique handmade pieces, right?
Let the paint dry completely and off-gass outside!
I found these lamps shades at Target to top them off.
All done! I’m so happy to have “real” living room lamps now and bonus! – my husband likes them too!
Is this a project you would try? Let me know in a comment below! Thanks for reading!