Monday, May 26, 2014

Makeovers! Part I

Last week all the college students moved out, leaving piles upon piles of curbside garbage in their wake. First of all, let me just express how disgusted I was with the amount of waste I saw. House upon house had burped up mattresses, box springs, and sofas still in useable condition. There were bureaus with missing drawers, hampers full of hangers and clothes, and all sorts of household products such as Swiffers, brooms, and garbage cans. I cannot believe how much these students threw away. Is it like this in every college town?? I don't remember it being that way in Boulder, however we lived apart from the student section of town, so maybe I just didn't see it.

If Ted and I had the storage space, I would have rented a U-Haul, picked up as much usable furniture as I could, and sold it back to students in the fall. I'm pretty sure I saw a few people driving around town doing just that. There really ought to be a better program for collecting large items - maybe they can give it to Goodwill or something.

Anyway... I digress. This post is not supposed to be about garbage. That was just an introduction to what's really on my mind, which is:

It's spray painting season!!

From the trash heaps around town, I salvaged two small trash bins, a step-stool, a broom for outside and garage use, a large pallet for getting our cardboard boxes off the floor in the basement (in case it ever floods), and this small lamp:

It had a pretty clean shade, despite the fact that it was unceremoniously thrown in the grass by the curb, and the base was in decent condition. The only apparent problem was that the bulb had been broken off, which made it difficult to unscrew the leftover base of the bulb from the lamp.

All it took was a pair of pliers and a little ingenuity, and I got it out. 

And then it was time for a makeover! I decided to go with black paint because the design of the lamp was a little too cutesy for my taste, and I didn't want to accentuate that with a cutesy color. 

I knew I wanted to decorate the lampshade somehow, to make the lamp a little more exciting and give it some personality. After searching for ideas on Pinterest, I decided to try drawing on the shade. I went to this website to download an image I liked, shrank it down to the size I needed, printed it out, and taped it to the inside of the lampshade.

It was a little hard to see the details through the shade, so I ended up only tracing an outline of everything. Then I turned off the light, took the shade off the lamp, and sat on the couch for a couple hours free-handing the details while watching The Office.

I used a black, fine-point fabric pen. (Before drawing on the shade I tested the pen on a piece of scrap fabric to make sure it wouldn't bleed. It wasn't perfect on the shade - it did bleed a bit - but you can't really tell in the end.)

The finished drawing

I also bought a white pom-pom trim, which I glued to the base of the shade using a hot glue gun. In the end, I'm very happy with how the lamp turned out! It's a little hard to photograph since it's black and white (usually either the white is too bright in the photo or the black is too dark).

So there's my first completed spray painting project of the season! I have another project to share very soon...

(We haven't had the best light for photographing in the past few days...)


  1. Wow! A piece of art. I am going to try and find you a site for this cool entry table made out of pallets (in case you can score another one).