The lamp wasn't anything special but I liked the design on it as well as the shape of the shade. It appears to be made from cast resin circa 1970-something and it's original color was that black and bronze color that was so popular then. I think the lamp is newer than that but maybe was marketed as retro or something.
The dark color wasn't working for me at all so I painted it with a mixture of cream and a really light sage green color that I already had on hand. They were both flat finish Oops paint I picked up at Home Depot for next to nothing.
It took a couple of coats to get the coverage that I wanted but when it was finished I decided it was too "chic" and not "shabby" enough for me. That meant I could either sand off some of the paint or add some more. If I sanded it would reveal the dark color underneath, which would be fine except that the dark color would be on the high spots and the light color would be in the recessed areas which is opposite of how it should be. I've done that before and it looks fine, but it also looks too intentionally faux. Know what I mean?
I wanted a dark brown color for my recessed areas but didn't have any on hand so I mixed a little black into some raw umber and it was perfect. I used acrylic tube paints because that's what I had but craft paint or house paint would work fine too. You can even stain it with actual stain but I wasn't in the mood for that kind of mess.
I watered down my black/brown paint to about the consistency of cream. Not heavy cream but maybe half and half or even whole milk. You want it kind of watery but not so much that the color doesn't stick. Sometimes I'll mix in a glaze medium instead of water but that would have required another trip upstairs and I'm just much too lazy for that kind of effort.
I brushed my "stain" onto small sections of the lamp. You want to work in small sections because you have to wipe off the paint before it dries. How much you wipe off depends on how much dark paint you want to leave behind. I wanted the recessed areas to be noticeably darker so I was careful not to wipe too much out of the grooves.
When it was done I decided I liked it much better but it was still a little too "flat". I bought the lamp because I liked the pattern on it and I wanted the pattern to pop. Antiquing it definitely helped but it still needed another layer of dimension so I dry brushed an off-white paint with a greenish undertone.
To dry brush all you have to do is put a little paint on your brush then wipe most of it off so that as you lightly brush over the object, the brush sort of smudges its color onto the areas that stick out the most. You're just highlighting. You should have to go over the area 2 or 3 times in order for the paint to show up. If you swipe across it once and it shows then your brush isn't dry enough.
Now I can see details! I love the shape of the shade and it's in perfect condition but I'm not crazy about the color or the weird vinyl that it's made out of. I may have to rethink that but overall I love my new lamp!
All of the swirly details show up really well and the antiquing looks soft and natural.
Much better, don't you think? You may have noticed that I used lots of paper towels and one really cheap paint brush for the whole lamp, start to finish. I washed it out between colors but didn't fuss over it because I wanted everything to blend and be all smudgy. There are times when the result of your project depends upon your use of the very best tools available. This is not one of those times.