How to Make Over a Thrift Store Lamp

In my last post, I told you how I was working on makeovers of these side tables and my thrift store lamp that I wrote about here.  I wanted to give the lamp a subtle makeover.  Just enough to make it a little more interesting and to add a some more texture to the room.
 For the lampshade, I covered it in some white burlap that I already had, using some spray adhesive and a hot glue gun.
I decided to spray the inside parts of the lamp base with Rustoleum's gold spray paint.  This required taking the lamp apart (which meant I'd have to put it back together, obviously).  I was feeling confident about rewiring it though, because of my newly acquired wiring skills, that I thought I had developed, from when I managed to wire the chandelier in our laundry room without blowing up the house.
I did take a whole slew of pictures of each step when I took apart the insides, which was really helpful to refer back to when I put the lamp back together.  But I decided to leave all of the pictures out of the post, since it was a major fail!
When I was putting it back together, the wires that went through that rod in the middle that you see in the picture above, were extremely tight, and I had a really, really, really, hard time getting them back in.  Well, I finally got them back in using rather brutal tactics, that involved a bar-b-que skewer and some florists wire (sorry no pics of this).  It was not pretty.

After I finally got the lamp reassembled, when I went to plug it in, it didn't work!  I unplugged it and then plugged it in to another outlet.  I knew I was in trouble when a puff of smoke came out of the outlet and then the TV went off.  In fact, everything in the house went off!

I flipped the switches on the circuit breaker a million times, most of them reset the circuits that had been tripped, with the exception of the outlets along one wall and the light in my kids' bathroom.  We went for almost an entire week without a lamp in the living room and my kids with no light or electricity in their bathroom.  I was cursing myself because I was going to have to call a handyman to come and fix it, all because of my compulsive need to spray paint everything gold!

I mentioned something about it to my sister Kathy and she said that her husband, Lee, could take a look at it for me.  Long story short, he came over, flipped the circuit breaker switches (like I had done a million times) and ta da, the circuit worked again! Just. Like. That.  I have no idea why it did not reset when I switched them, but it did it the first time for my brother-in-law?

Thanks to Lee's magic touch, I didn't have to fork over any dough to have someone fix the circuit breaker that I had blown, but we were still lampless in the living room.

I considered just giving up on the stupid lamp.  But at this point, it felt like a challenge.  I really wanted a glass lamp in that spot, and didn't want to have buy a new one.  I decided that I would get a lamp wiring kit and see if could figure it out without another electrical mishap.
Home Depot
It was easy enough to put together and the wires were a lot thinner, so they fit through the metal tube much easier.
I held my breath and cringed a little when I plugged it in, anticipating another puff of smoke and more blown circuits.  But, it worked!  Whew.  So, we are no longer lampless in the living room.  I do like the subtle makeover but next time, I'm just going to buy a lamp.

Thanks for stopping by and reading today.


  1. I think this looks great! I am SO glad you didn't give up on the lamp because it's great!

  2. Oh Geez, Sharon! I'm glad you didn't burn your house down. :) Electrical can be so intimidating!


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