DIY # 2: Shepherd Lamp (Part 1: Stand)

      Some of the much needed accessories I prayed for in my trek through our house were lamps! Our two guest bedrooms have beds, but no lamps. Yes, there are overhead lights. However, the blue guest room has track lighting.   (. . . I'll just leave this right here . . . ) The lights can be angled to one's liking, but it's a hassle all the way around: it either shines in your eyes or you're in the dark. There isn't much of a happy medium. The other room, the yellow guest room, has a ceiling fan with its lighting. The setup is great but the switch has quite a few buttons, bells, and whistles and it confuses the daylights out of everyone. Most lamps are not going to be floor lamps, so I also prayed for nightstands. Furthermore, I'm book-minded, so I considered that some people are like me and might enjoy an evening read before they hit the pillow. Others, like Jo, may enjoy iPhone time. No matter what my guests' preferences before nodding off for the evening may be, I felt they needed a nightstand or two to accommodate them.
      Over the course of a few months I had seen nightstands and end tables all around the Nashville area, but they were always so pricey, ranging from $30 to higher. I couldn't afford to drop that times 2 for each room. When I prayed through our house I didn't just tackle the furniture, I asked God to provide a way for me to afford it: make it cheap, free, or bless us with the extra cash. In my last post I mentioned Hendersonville's Goodwill store and the novelty it is; God directed my steps right to it.
      It never fails: when I listen to that little voice in my head, you know, the Holy Spirit, He's always right. I was leaving the Hobby Lobby one afternoon when that little voice said check out the Goodwill store, they might have some end tables and lamps. Sure enough when I arrived and walked into that industrial strength smelling store, I spied two glorious end tables for $13.99 a piece in almost mint condition. The next day I went back and found two lamps: a brass one for $10 marked at 50% off, and a ceramic one for $14, also marked at 50% off. I then found a third end table with a replaceable center glass piece. They were all calling my name. Finally, I went back one more time. I found a couple of classic novels in the book section for .50 and, to my surprise, a Queen Anne end table for $5.89. Yes, I used my 10% off student discount on all but the on-sale items. My husband's priceless face and its look of disbelief was enough to reassure I'd struck gold at the local glorified flea market.
      I will be detailing each piece's makeover, but for today's post I'll be concentrating on my $4.99 brass lamp.
      Below is a photo of my brass treasure. You can see the spots and how badly it needs to be polished. I wish I had a photo of the shade that came with it because I'm pretty sure it arrived at the Goodwill by way of a certain Dalorean. But before I could even get out of the parking lot the styrene part of the shade crumbled due to age. I had planned to redo the shade anyway, but it still would've been nice to have a photo of the previous one's demise.
   

      
      Regardless, Google saves the day! Above is a Google photo of a slightly shorter version of my brass lamp's shade. And yes. It was equally as hideous. Just the same, I was able to tear it apart and keep certain pieces for my makeover. We'll get to the shade in a later post. (UPDATE: Check out the Shepherd lamp shade here!) 
      As mentioned earlier, I wasn't happy with the brass stand. I like pops of color; I feel they bring life to my home. My plan was to paint my stand, but how in the world does one paint brass? Of course, I turned to the Pinterest and found several how-tos for painting different surfaces, including brass. If you plan to take on this task allow me to advise you: DO YOUR HOMEWORK! I found some real doozies of DIYs on the web everywhere. In the middle of working on a different project I made a Home Depot run, where I received help from an employee who told me of the Pinterest horror stories that came through to her on an almost daily basis. This sufficiently scared me. My advice? Don't just read the Pinterest articles and blog links you find; read the fine print and ALL directions on of your tools.Check out YouTube where you can find professional resources/videos, many of them from Lowe's, Home Depot, and construction companies. Make sure you're prepared and take plenty of time to complete your projects. Rome wasn't built in a day. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you don't feel secure enough to do something alone, ask your hubby or a friend, even your child if he or she is old enough. My daughter is 11 and she was able to assist me quite a bit, even if it was with something as simple as handing me what I needed. Of course, there's always the grandparent route, as well. As moms and women in general, we tend to think we can do it all. Humble yourself, girl. Ask for some help! Let's get started! 

MATERIALS: 
  • 150 grain or less (fine) sandpaper* $4.68
  • Spray paint primer*
  • Spray paint color of choice $2.39 @Hobby Lobby w/ 40% off coupon
  • Frog tape* $5.29
  • Drop cloth or painter's plastic 
  • Well-ventilated work space
(*see below post for explanation)

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Set up your work space! Make sure you're clear of anything you don't want to get overspray on; remove valuables, don't wear good clothes, and if you're not outside (I recommend going outside, preferably in the yard) please wear a mask to protect your nose and mouth, especially if you have asthma. I used painter's plastic for my space because, well, that's what was in my garage. I don't recommend using it on a windy day, however, as that was a pain in the padded tail. But it did the job, just the same and it saved me money.
  2. Tape off the ends you don't want painted with your Frog tape: the cord, the switch, etc.
  3. Wipe down your stand to rid it of any foreign particles, dirt, or dust.
  4. Use your fine grain sandpaper and sand your stand. Your surface will feel slightly rough, just enough so that you know it'll hold paint. 
  5. Your stand will be covered in sanding dust; use a paper towel or cheese cloth, wet or dry, and dust off that mess! DO NOT attempt to paint over the dust. 
  6. Follow the instructions on your spray paint and spray your lamp in short bursts, moving up and down, back and forth. Coat number will depend on you, just be aware that it is imperative to allow each coat to dry or you will get runs. I actually got a little spray happy and ended up with red drips that looked a lot like Carrie's prom committee had gotten hold of it. With a little water on my finger (okay, saliva), I rubbed it out. When it dried I sprayed a slight burst of paint over it and no one will ever be the wiser unless they read this blog post. 
      You'll find that you may have to hold your stand in all different directions to get to the knooks and crannies that also have to be painted lest your lamp look unfinished. Again, allow yourself time. After I had painted about 2 full coats on my lamp, I brought it up to the screen porch to dry overnight. The next day I noticed a couple of very inconspicuous spots that needed tending; I lightly sprayed over them and let the lamp remain outside for the next couple of days just to give the fumes time to die down. There was no need for spraying the lamp in its entire again. 

      Here is my final product: 
Paint used: Krylon Cherry Red 

      This photo was obviously before I finished the shade and brought the lamp inside for display. My next post will entail our new homemade lampshade, 80s-and-eroding-styrene-free! Stay tuned!


    *While doing my research I had many questions. Below you'll find my Q&A that I hope will help you along your way. 
1. Why 150 grain or sandpaper? What's the significance? 
  • Here, you'll find the explanation for the grain numbers listed on sandpaper. Basically, the number represents how many mineral grains are found in one inch of sandpaper. The more grains present, the finer the sandpaper. 150-180 is right in the middle. I don't want to use sandpaper that is too coarse on my brass or it will leave deep grooves. A fine paper will leave just enough roughness for the paint to adhere to. Which brings me to the next question:
2. Why sand brass? 
  • Brass is pretty slick. When it gets wet, like any other metal, liquids bead, roll, and dry. A fine sanding offers a slightly rougher surface for the paint and allows for better adhesion without changing the texture of the lamp. 
3. Do I have to use a primer? 
  • Most of the tutorials I found, if not all of them, recommended using a primer to prime the selected surface, especially if the surface is originally a darker color than your new chosen color. However, I found that my spray brand, Krylon, already contained a primer, so I didn't fool with priming. 
4. Why Frog tape? Are you getting paid to say this stuff? 
  • First of all, no. I haven't been paid to say anything. If I don't like a brand/product I'll tell you, money or no money, and vice versa. I've used regular off-brand blue painter's tape before . . . And I've regretted it ever since. Having always heard great reviews about Frog tape, I figured I'd give it a shot. FABULOUS!!! Not only did it hold well and remove easily, it kept the paint from leaking through to covered surfaces. Take my advice, spend the extra dollar. 
Hope this answers some of your questions! Thanks for reading and come back soon for the shade installment and the final Shepherd Lamp reveal! 
In Him,
Brandi 

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