these lamps have 9 lives, currently on #2…

i don’t normally go dumpster diving or garbage picking, but sometimes, one person’s trash really is another person’s blog material. cliché cliché, i know…

my neighbour was throwing out this pair of old lamps.

they were not much to look at…

old metal lamp bases

…but since reshuffling some furniture around the house recently, i found the need for more lighting in the living room. i knew these could work on the mantel, with a little bit of paint and new lampshades.

you can read a few of my tips about spray painting. since i’m always learning and willing to share, here is another tip: it’s fine and dandy to have a blog and take photos each step of the way. but, try not to set your camera down near the object you are spray painting.  (the camera survived, but there are telltale signs of the mishap…). yep, i’m here to help with my obvious practical tips. i’m sure there will be more in the future. sadly.

so with the cords wrapped in plastic and the electrical unit covered with painter’s tape (and my camera safely stowed in my pocket), i was ready to paint.

wrapped the electrical bits with painters tape

a quick coat of semi-gloss black paint. i allowed it to dry for 30 minutes, then applied a second coat. i chose semi-gloss because i was hoping for it to resemble wrought iron. i think it does.

old lamps spraypainted new to look like cast iron

how’d those pesky letters get on there?  anyway.  i’ve said this before, but really do allow the paint to set for 24 hours untouched. i know how badly you want to finish something once it is started, but go do something else.


or you can be practical and get some shades for the lamp. or recover an old shade. i got mine from ikea for $4 each.

ikea lampshades on old lamp base

so for $8 and a bit of paint (and almost the price of having to replace a digital camera), i have a brand new set of lamps. which work perfectly on my mantel.

pair of lamps spray painted, ikea lampshades, on the mantle

what do you think? would you have taken your neighbour’s junk and turned it into something new?  i still need to invite my neighbour over for tea. i wonder if she’ll like my new lamps…

* the frame for my public service announcement was provided by vintage feed sacks (free clipart).

i’m also sharing this post on “whatever goes wednesday” with someday crafts and with sarah at “thrifty decor chick”. thanks for the chance to share! ~ ana

© imadeitso, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to ana at with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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30 Responses to these lamps have 9 lives, currently on #2…

  1. ~*~Patty says:

    fabulous transformation and repurposing Ana … I’m sure your neighbor would say WOWEE!
    thanks also for the good tips heehee
    Happy Thursday

  2. lisa says:

    i sure would take some neighbor’s “junk”, i have several times actually. it does feel a little odd, i think i’ve mostly scoped it out in daylight hours but then go nab it when the sun is down :)

  3. Wow, they look perfect on your mantel! Love the shade of green on your wall too.

  4. Angela says:

    ? ? Your lamps, your lamps, your lovely lady lamps. ? ? They look great!

  5. iMadeItSo says:

    thank you! and she did know i took them. don’t go calling the municipality on me ;)

  6. Jess says:

    they are gorgeous! My stepmom has a knack for seeing “junk” as true treasures. I’ve always admired people that can do that!

  7. Victoria says:

    When you posted the first photo I thought, “I don’t know…” but they look great with the black paint! I love second-hand stuff, and I love modifying it into something better, I just never seem to have any luck finding good pieces. Maybe I need better neighbours. :)

  8. Corey says:

    You’re so funny and creative, Ana. ?

  9. Nancy S says:

    I have no problem picking through garbage as long as there isn’t food involved. We often pull magazines and books out of the big paper recycling bin in town (we call it our trip to the library) read them and return them to the bin. People get rid of current magazines more often than you would think. We hike a lot in the great forest lands that surround us. Well, we call it forest, others apparently call it dumpsite. We have found all sorts of useful stuff dumped in the forest – terra cotta flowerpots and toys and once, a fancy iron birdcage. Unfortunately, mostly I find stuff that should be disposed of properly but I live around a lot of asinine hicks who don’t care as long as it’s someone else’s problem. We always check construction Dumpsters as well, all sorts of good stuff in those. I guess I’m not a thrifter so much as a scavenger!

    Your lamps look fantastic – they are fun shape and they really do look like wrought iron. Good job.

  10. Hi Ana,

    Your “new” lamps look great! Gosh I wish my neighbors threw out “junk” like that!

    Thanks for letting me know how you used the scroll frame on your blog, it’s beautiful!

  11. iMadeItSo says:

    thanks everyone! :)

    nancy, you need your own pbs show… “talkin trash with nancy” or something. good stuff.

  12. Daenel says:

    That is awesome. I love what you did. And they do look like wrought iron. A few years back my son bought a lamp for me at a yard sale (he was 10 and so proud of himself) and I hated the lamp. Of course, I had to use it because my son used his money to buy it. I ended up washing the lamp, changing out the shade and setting up a little vignette of books and plants by it and now I love the lamp. So yes, I would take another person’s trash especially if it’s a gift from one of my kids. :-)

  13. good job ana! i definitely think you achieved the look of wrought iron. they look lovely on your mantel.

  14. Lamb says:

    I think your neighbor is going to have some regrets if they see this post! :)

  15. Gina says:

    Love these – very good advice on waiting for paint to dry – I get over-anxious, I must admit!

  16. Heather says:

    Those look great! I love the whole display.

  17. Traci says:

    I love your practical paint pointers. Painting my camera sounds just like something I would do.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  21. ~*~Patty says:

    still Love your Lamps
    they were a brilliant rescue!!!
    Happy Friday Archive Dive
    have yourself a really lovely weekend too missy!

  22. B. says:


    I really enjoy your blog, and am adding it to my blog roll (I’m just putting together my blog, so it isn’t up and running yet.) I have a question regarding the scroll frame – could you tell me how you added it?

    Thank you,

    Once Upon a Time and Far, Far Away…

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  24. Julie says:

    Beautiful! Did your neighbour want them back? Because I certainly would!

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