before & after / Rebecca Atwood inspired DIY lamp

Well, hello there! I certainly didn't mean to go almost a month without posting anything but that's the best part of having your own blog... making your own rules ;)

I've been staying very busy offline, and will have some fun posts to share soon. One of the projects I finished recently is something I am SUPER excited about, because it was dirt cheap to do and produced such dramatic results. I am working my way through the guest bedroom project and have been keeping an eye out for an affordable bedside lamp. Rather than spend $40+ on a new lamp, I decided to buy a can of spray paint and fabric paint and attempt to create something new with an old lamp collecting dust (literally; you'll see the dust in the before photos).

Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com

By the way, this is my second before & after on lamps... I really do love lamp, you guys! See my first before & after here. (Which, oddly enough, was posted almost exactly one year ago today. There must be something special about April, lamps, and spray paint!)

The silhouette of the lamp is great, but I was over the color and wanted something more in line with the look & feel of the guest bedroom... calm, serene and light. I am in the midst of a serious love affair with indigo, watercolors and textures, and would cover every surface of my home in this pattern if I could.

It's really simple to achieve this look, as long as you work carefully and prepare ahead of time. Spray painting is ridiculously easy, but it's also ridiculously easy to make it look terrible! Patience is key :)

Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com

Step One: Carefully tape off the electrical socket and cord with painter's tape. Sand the surface with a medium grit sandpaper to roughen the surface, then finish with a smooth grit. Sanding the surface gives it a little "tooth" or texture, which gives the spray paint something to grab onto and lessens the chance of the spray paint scratching. (That may still happen even if you sand - be careful handling the lamp and / or put it in a low-traffic area where it won't get handled very often.)

Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com

Step Two: Follow the instructions on the spray paint can! Shake for the right amount of time, spray at the right distance, and go low & slow. Trying to spray paint quickly with heavy coverage will result in drips and an uneven spray job. By spraying lightly and from a distance, you'll lessen the risk of drips and create a smooth, even surface.

Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com

Step Three: Gather inspiration! This is the fun part. I have a "colors, textures, patterns" board on Pinterest where I keep track of my favorite surface pattern designs. I pulled my favorite patterns that fit with the guest bedroom aesthetic and also looked like I could easily mimic them. After reviewing them with Tim, we decided on the Rebecca Atwood dashed line print above (upper middle & right). Rebecca Atwood textiles are drool-worthy and while I'd love to think I can afford them, it's not realistic right now, or ever (the pillow featured above is $289...).

Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com

Step Four: Practice, practice, practice, then paint! I bought a navy fabric pen and navy fabric paint, after unsuccessfully finding anything indigo :( I tested about 5-6 different paint brushes with varying widths, bristle coarseness, with water, and without. The fabric pen created too perfect of a mark and I wanted something organic and loose, so I chose the brush in the top left that was pretty coarse/stiff. I diluted the fabric paint with about 1 T. of water and guessed as I went, after trying out a bunch of patterns on a scrap piece of fabric. I measured and taped halfway up the lampshade to create a "dipped" look because I worried that the lampshade might look too busy with an allover pattern, and I'm so glad I did.

At this point, you just have to eyeball your pattern and keep your inspiration close by. You'll have a few imperfections but that can always be the back of the shade that you hide against the wall... see my blobby, too-much-water mistake below:

Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com

I was able to paint both sides of the lampshade in about 45 minutes - I was too impatient to let the back side dry, so I held the lampshade upright and painted the front. I am so, so happy with how it turned out! I had to style it with some of the new accessories I got for the guest bedroom just to bring it to life, so here is a sneak peek of the new room...

Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com
Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com

I spent $12.50 on supplies (spray paint, fabric paint, fabric pen) and was able to use sandpaper and painter's tape I had from previous projects. It was such a cheap project that yielded pretty custom, expensive results - and now I'm addicted to fabric paint!

The new lamp definitely complements the look & feel of the guest bedroom and gives it a little punch of personality. I hope to be finished with the guest bedroom project by mid-May, and will be able to share it in early June. Yippee for house projects done on the cheap!

Rebecca Atwood inspired lamp DIY | colorwhirl.com

Are you taking on any inexpensive home projects lately? Also... it's spray painting season! Get outside and cover everything in spray paint! (Minus the grass and bushes and animals and driveway/sidewalk...)

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!