Crystal De-Light

June 10, 2009

Y’all know I love the hunt for treasure at the local thrift store. Lucky me, I happened to find two complimentary crystal lamps for my master bedroom at two different thrift stores. Obviously, the reason they had been donated was because of their brass trim. But as you know from last week’s post, brass does not frighten me one bit.

The lamps had to be completely disassembled, including cutting the wires, then painted, and finally reassembled with a “make-a-lamp” kit. Along the way, I picked up some electrical lingo and taught myself how to make a lamp. Here’s how it all went down.

First, take a look at the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ for the lamp for my side of the bed. Notice the gaping hole? Yep, that happened on the way home when it fell over in my car. Crash! I cringed when I heard that sound. When I got home I realized it was a clean crack, and a little super glue repaired it nicely.

b and a k

How to Revamp a Brassy Thrift Store Lamp:

Step One: Unscrew the lamp’s harp, and then clip off the existing socket with wire cutters.

clip socket

Step Two: Before you disassemble your lamp, take pictures of the lamp’s pieces and hardware so when you reassemble you know exactly which way all the pieces go together.

take pictures

take pictures 2

Step Three: Disassemble you lamp. Spray paint the brass metal pieces with your color of choice. I used a favorite brand and color: Rustoleum’s ‘Heirloom White’. (I think even in this economy it’s time I buy stock in this company, since I use this product so much.)

spray paint lamp

Step Four: Reassemble your lamp’s pieces up to the point where you attach the harp’s bottom piece. Thread your cord through the lamp’s stem.


Step Five – Playing Elecrician. One of my thrift store lamps did not have a harp to support the shade, so I purchased a lamp kit for $9 at Home Depot.

make a lamp kit

If your lamp already has a harp, then the only thing you need to purchase is a new socket for about $3.

Once you’ve reassembled your lamp’s parts, trim your electrical wires with wire cutters, and follow the instructions on the kit. This includes connecting your wires to conductors and then covering your new lamp socket with its protective metal shell. This whole process is quite simple, if you just follow the directions on the back of the kit.

Connect the Wires:

wire to socket

Cover socket with protective shell:

attach socket shell

Step Six: Install light bulb, cross your fingers, and plug it in. You will literally screech with excitement when the light turns on ! You’ve made a lamp !

So here is the second crystal lamp ‘Before’ and ‘After’, that sits on Mr. CG’s side. A cream colored base and shade make all the difference, don’t you think?

b and a m

Here it sits on his nightstand:

mr cg side

Now, our master bedroom is still very much a work in progress, but bringing in these lamps has got me motivated to finish the space. And I like the touch of femininity that they bring, since we have a lot of dark wood and deep green in our room. And I made that fabric covered headboard myself earlier this year.

master 2

You can’t beat the price. Seven dollars !

price tag

I really love how they capture and reflect the light from the windows. They feel so very elegant to me.

catches light



So the next time you go to the thrift store, don’t overlook those brassy lamps. My research online revealed that crystal lamps retail for hundreds of dollars. If you find one, take heart – they’re quite easy to transform into something you’ll truly love.  Happy hunting, friends.

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