DIY Lamp Redo Fail + Fix

I have so much to share with you (LA Secret Stair posts, art projects and of course, last night’s Newsroom Season 2 premiere party) but until those are ready, I’m going to share this DIY gem I completed a few weeks ago.

It all started with a trip to the sale section of Ikea (by the checkout). Usually Ikea’s damaged goods section is still over priced for what you get, but for some reason I always check it out.

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That’s where I found this simple lamp of beauty.

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This lamp was in good condition, it just needed some cleaning and the white lampshade needed to be recovered. It had been a display lamp, so you can imagine all the hands that touched it.

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I’ve not worked with lamps before, so I was in new territory. My brilliant idea was to spray paint it. Warning: this is not brilliant, it’s actually a bad idea. But go with me…

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So I taped off the inside and sprayed the metal hardware gold, to jazz it up.

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Doesn’t the gold look nice?

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I wanted a top stripe of gold, so after a layer of gold, I taped off the top inch of the lamp, and sprayed the bottom of the shade a teal blue.

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…I thought it would be a little more blue.

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Yes, I know, together it looks like a Green Bay Packers lamp. That was not my intention.

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My other fail is that when you light fabric sprayed with paint, if it isn’t perfectly even (which is crazy hard), it looks blotchy. Very blotchy. I did get compliments on it (while not lit), but it’s a lamp and needs to look good when lit.

Thankfully, when I fail at a project I always learn something from it (don’t spray paint fabric unless it’s a canvas on a wall).

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After a trip to the fabric district, I bought this beautiful gray/white fabric. I removed the green canvas (it was just glued in, so easy to remove) and replaced it with this new fabric. Now it’s a much more subtle lamp, which works better in the room.

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I had enough fabric left over to make a small pillow for my barrel chair. I love it! It helps tie the room in together.

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Garage Makeover: Lighting

If you’ve been following my garage makeover from start to soon finish, you know that I’ve been assembling a girly fun workshop space. Part of this challenge is adding lighting to my super dark garage. Currently there is just one low-watt light on the opposite end of the two-car garage. That’s unacceptable for a workspace and it makes for a super creepy garage.

Task: Come up with a cool way to add task lighting without adding a permanent fixture (I’m a renter) and do it on the SUPER cheap.

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Because of the task limitations ($), I started by looking at Ikea and found for $8 I could get this light socket with long cord, hooks, and bulb. I bought two of them ($16 total).

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Next, I found these light cages from LumaPro on Amazon for $7 each. I bought two of them for $14+shipping= $20. So for two lights I’m at $36.

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The cage lights come with a shiny black plastic coating, so I had to rub them down with scotch brite to get them ready for some gold spray paint.

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Look at the before and after above. The cages go from s+m-dungeon-master to parisian-birdcages. I love it!

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Above Im waiting patiently for the gold paint to dry. Waiting… waiting… waiting…

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In the meantime I taped up the cord and then spray painted the fixture gold to match the cages. This way it’ll look like it’s all connected and one unit.

It’s all finished, but I’m saving the final look to share with you for when I’m finished with the entire garage (which will be this weekend) so I’ll have more to share with you then. It’s all coming together- excitement!

 

Garage Make-Over

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You probably can tell by now, I love to build things and work with my hands. Part of purchasing my miter saw is that I want to turn my tiny shared garage into a functioning workspace for weekends and unemployment (and who knows- maybe more!).

I’m a renter living in a town house with two other roommates, so I’m tight on space, forced to make everything removable, and need to be mindful of my roommates needs. Despite all of these challenges, I’m excited to turn the above space into a functioning workshop. Not just user friendly, but girlie and fun. I want this to be a space that I look forward to spending time in, so that I have no excuses not to get to work.

Since Im very tight on space, I’m going to have to make the table for the saw myself. This is a nice first project for the saw and totally doable. The storage shelving unit (above) I recently bought for $30 at Ikea and plan to paint in the coral and gold colors below.

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The stools in the top photo are going to become this fun pink color in the rendering. The peg board I need to purchase will eventually be painted mint green. I also want to buy hanging light sockets (paint the cords pink to match the stools) and then attach a gold cage to them. It’s got a steam -punk vibe to keep this space girlie and fun as well as industrial.

I’m excited to share this transformation with you, as well as all the inevitable DIY projects to come from this. Stay tuned.

DIY Ikea Bookcase Re-Do

If you remember, a while back I made a vellum backing to a hand-me-down Ikea bookcase that was backless. It was an excellent fast/easy/cheap temporary solution. It wasn’t the worst bookcase ever… but it also didn’t match anything and felt like dorm furniture.

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Im not one to just throw away a perfectly good bookcase, so I got creative.

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I was inspired by Young House Love’s new book! I got it for Christmas and LOVE it. See the photo above of the white bookcase with the blue/green backing? I want that bookcase… so why not just make it?

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Since I had to work with the heavily lacquered birch Ikea bookcase, I researched the best way to sand/prime/paint this surface. So many blogs posted that the Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Ultra Coverage (X2) was the best way to go. I decided to go with the flat white and it was $3 a bottle at Home Depot.

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I did a coat of white spray paint over everything. By using this paint (made for plastic) it means no sanding! Woo hoo!

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You can see above that the spray paint leaves a texture. Im sure with multiple coats, this would go away, but I had left over white paint from my dining table so I decided to do a top coat of my paint. This also means the bookcase will exactly match my table, instead of being a cold white it’ll be a warm white.

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To create the backing, I bought 5 sheets of white foam boards from Michael’s (with a 30% off coupon!). I leaned the foam core against the back of the bookcase and traced the bookcase. This way I know exactly how much to paint.

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This was a good part to work on while the bookcase was drying. Above you can see the 4 boards on the right have 1 coat, and the board on the left has 2 coats. What a difference?! Do two coats over all the board. It’s super easy using a small paint roller. The paint I purchased was an 8oz container from Home Depot (flat) for $3.

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I decided to do the assembly of the backings inside my house (which meant waiting until everything was fully dried.

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I laid the bookcase upside down, traced the bookcase again (very precisely) and then cut the foam boards using a metal ruler and exatco blade.

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I used just a standard stapler to staple the foam core to the back of the bookcase. It was so easy and took maybe 15 minutes to do all 5 panels. Keep in mind if anything requires cords on the shelves, youll need to cut a notch. For example, we keep our internet router on the shelf, so I cut a small triangle on that shelf’s backing.

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I was so excited while assembling, I had to test out how my stuff would look on it. Love it! Do you like my spice rack/diamond shaped sculpture? Check out that DIY here!

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You like? It adds such a pop of color and fun to the room. Before the bookcase disappeared into the corner, and now it’s fun to look at and stands out. This project was SO cheap and just required an afternoon of effort.

DIY: Cleaning A Leather Love Seat

Once again, I’m working to revamp my blank canvas. I’ve been meaning to share this excellent Salvation Army find ($64). This leather love seat just needed a little tlc, and cleaning, to become the beauty that she is.

Isn’t she pretty? This couch clearly spent lots of time collecting dust in a basement of garage, so it needed a through cleaning but nothing that professionals needed to be called in for.

With some fast google searches, I figured out the best way to clean leather is a 50% vinegar/ 50% water solution… ingredients I happen to already own. Total cost to clean the couch: Zero dollars. The solution worked perfectly. It didn’t smell great while cleaning, but the solution took the grim and grease off with one wipe and the scent went away almost immediately.

I brought the vacuum into the garage and gave the inside of the couch a deep cleaning. If you’re really worried about thrift store furniture, you can even douse it in Raid before you bring it in the house.

It’s she so pretty? I got the map pillow and blanket from Ikea (crazy cheap) and the right side pillow from the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Since it was “damaged” (aka had a thread on it) I got $5 off! Doesn’t the couch look nice next to the gold side table. Love!

If you liked this post, you might also like these!
DIY: Decorative Plants
DIY: Renovate An Old Centerpiece
DIY: Backing a Bookcase
DIY: Repainting a Side Table

DIY: Backing A Bookcase

Remember how I told you about my blank canvas? Well I’ve been adding to the room (on a tight budget, of course) and I wanted to share this cheap, fast do-it-yourself project.

You can see the beautiful plants I wrote about here, in the photo above. And also the Ikea curtains I added (click here to see their online specs). But do you notice that the back of the bookcase (my roommate left for us) is completely naked? Not only does this mean wires show in the back, but it visually looks cheap and bare. I got a little creative and came up with an easy solution.

Step 1: Layout the bookcase and asses the tools needed. I got out my hot glue gun, some tacks, an exacto knife and my roll of handy trace paper.

Step 2: Measure the width of the bookcase, and cut a piece of trace paper slightly larger than that length.

Step 3: Tack the corners in place, as this is just temporary and to hold the paper in place while you hot glue the corners down.

Step 4: Hot glue just under the trace paper in each corner. In case you ever want to take it out, this will make it much cleaner to remove. Once dry, remove all the tacks. Then repeat this all down the bookcase, being mindful that seems line up to where the bookcase horizontals will cover them.

If you followed the instruction above, your bookcase back should look a little something like this.

Then prop the bookcase back into it’s spot, and notice that by gluing in just the corners, it allows for a gap where cords can fit down which hides them from the front of the bookcase.

How easy was that?! And while it’s only a subtle difference with the trace paper, it makes the bookcase feel much more elegant than it is. If you want to add some more drama with a fun color or pattern, check out your local arts store for fun gift wrap paper, or even contact paper/wallpaper. This DIY bookcase backing can be quite the statement!