Here's an easy "up-cycling" project that makes a big impact. It's easy to find a couple garage sale "brass" (typically, they are only brass finished) lamps or other inexpensive lamp bases this summer. The important thing to look for is good wiring. Also, if marked Stiffel, it's a better quality solid brass lamp that probably should be left alone. Otherwise, it's probably fair game for a makeover.....
This is what I created with an old lamp base I painted hot pink, and a lampshade I jazzed up with some ruffles. The fabric is also second-hand, so none of the materials are from the craft store except the hot glue used to adhere the ruffles to the shade:
I've found several lamp bases over the years that I've spray painted different colors. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a "before" shot of these:
Before you start spraying, make sure to cover the sockets and cord so they don't get painted too. I sometimes use tin foil to cover these areas, along with a little masking tape here and there. Recently I tried the plastic bag method, with some packing tape to hold the bags in place. This method worked pretty well. I took the white lamp from the previous picture and painted it black (below).
I recommend coating the lamp bases with primer first, then painting with your chosen color.
For me, the fun part is creating the lampshade. I wanted to avoid buying new materials, so I searched my house for fabrics I had accumulated. For my hot pink lamp, I decided to create a ruffled shade made from several different coordinating fabrics I've purchased at estate sales.
To make a proper ruffle, measure the fabric so it's twice as long as the circumference of the lampshade area you are going to cover. My ruffles were 3.5" wide. I tore the fabric rather than cut it for a more casual look.
I hand-sewed the ruffles with a basting stitch, gathering as I went along. It would have been much faster with a sewing machine, so you might decide to use one.
Attach your ruffles to the shade with hot glue (the shade I selected was one I had used for a project that didn't turn out, therefore it had remnants of paper glued to it that you might notice). I started with the bottom ruffle and worked my way up:
The finished shade:
I like the combination of the various fabrics:
I painted another lamp base with chalkboard paint, not because I'm going to write on it with chalk but because I like the matte finish. The shade was created with four rows of ruffles. I used my sewing machine to create the ruffles and was happy at how much time I saved, although gathering the fabric was a little more difficult:
I have more lamp bases that call for lampshades that aren't quite so bold. I think they need something lacy for their toppers, so that will be my next project. I'll show you what I come up with in a future post!