Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Painted Lampshade

 A couple of months ago we finally bought a new sofa.  We had been living with a small, beat up leather sofa for the last 10 years and while it worked in our old house, it was far too small for both the living room and for us.  We upgraded to a sofa that could fit both of us and the dog and the cat, all at the same time!  

But I found I wasn't using the new sofa much.  Instead I would curl up on one of our small arm chairs with ottoman across the room.  I realized it was because I had no proper reading lamp for the new sofa.  And much of the time I spend in the living room I am reading.  We weren't sure what kind of lamp to get (another decision!) and then some friends of ours came over and offered to give us a big modern lamp that didn't work in their house anymore.

Yay!  It fit perfectly!  But there was only one problem.

It was white.  Glaring white.  Something had to be done quickly.  I decided to paint the lampshade.

I have so many busy things in our living room and we are about to paint it this spring, so I wanted to keep the lampshade monochrome. 

For painting this lampshade, all I used was 2 types of acrylic paint (titanium white and mars black), gloss glazing liquid, a pencil to draw out the circles, and some brushes of varying sizes. 

First, I drew out the circles by hand with a pencil and then painted in the background with a gray I mixed up.   I added liquid glazing to slow down drying time and add a little gloss, but it isn't really necessary. 

Then I painted in lighter gray circles inside each white circle. Then, because I like to do things out of order, I painted the white parts with white paint because I realized if I left the white spaces unpainted when I turned the lamp on it would be extremely glaring.  

I painted dots inside the middle of each circle.  I thought I was done but then I stepped back to look at it and decided it needed some black.

So I added black rings, stepped back again, and was happy with it.  It took about 3 hours to paint. 

 I've seen a lot of tutorials that use tape and stencils, but I like a little looser, more organic feel.  Plus, if you use a stencil, that means you can make a mistake that will be glaringly obvious to you (but probably no one else.)
 This lamp was from Cost Plus World Market. Go out and find a lamp to beautify!


  1. Were you nervous staring at that pristine white shade? I would have stared at that puppy for 30 minutes before I got up the nerve to paint it! Does it look groovy turned on after the sun goes down?

    1. I did a couple sketches and then I just went for it. It was a free lampshade so I couldn't screw it up too much!