How to Chalk Paint a Lamp

off-white chalk painted lamp on a desk

This was a simple and fun project with a great result! So, let’s get started on how to chalk paint a lamp.

Below is a BEFORE picture of the lamp. This lamp was at my father’s house. He passed away almost two years ago. Originally, it had a red lampshade.

I was unsure about chalk painting a metal lamp, but I thought . . . nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Step 1: Sanding

I used fine sandpaper to remove any bumps or “burrs”, which created a smooth painting surface.

Step 2: Select your chalk paint color.

primitive chalk paint

I love the color primitive.

This is my favorite color of chalk paint.  I purchase this at Home Depot or Amazon. The jar is small, but it really goes far. I have used this color on multiple items (farm table, vintage bench, porch bench, and dresser) and I LOVE IT because it goes with anything. I describe it as an oatmeal color.

Step 3: Chalk Painting

I painted the lamp with two coats of chalk paint, being sure to get in all the crevices each time and allowing them to dry between coats of paint. Thankfully, chalk paint dries quickly. Below are pictures of chalk painting. Up close, you can see the grainy texture, which is characteristic of chalk paint. The purpose of using chalk paint is to be able to easily sand off the paint to expose edges and give items an aged or worn look.

Step 4: Sand areas to reveal the dark metal under the chalk paint.

I sanded off some (but not all) of the chalk paint in strategic spots. (Be careful not to sand too hard. You just want to sand enough to remove the chalk paint and reveal the dark original color. If you sand too hard, you will see silver metal.) My goal was to give the lamp a consistent look, but at the same time, I wanted it to look random as if the worn spots had been exposed due to age and use.

Edges are fun to do because I can give them a worn look, but again don’t overdo it.

 I like the patterns and crevices. This gives it a great look after sanding.

 I constantly look over the piece until I am happy with its appearance. You can sand more or less depending on your preference. I like how the textured pattern at the base of the lamp turned out. 

Step 5: Polyurethane

Instead of using wax, I use Minwax wipe-on poly (clear satin). My advice is to wear rubber gloves so you don’t have to clean your hands with paint thinner. To apply the polyurethane, use a cotton rag; a piece of an old T-shirt works great.

Polyurethane does not create a shiny look, so I like this better. However, it provides great protection. My typical practice is to apply two coats on the entire piece of furniture. (If I am chalk painting a table, I do three coats on the tabletop.) Ensure you read the directions and allow plenty of time to dry between coats — overnight is best. I have made the mistake of not letting something dry sufficiently between coats and it took a LONG time (days) to dry, but it finally did!

The poly tints the color of the chalk paint a little – – sort of an antique/aged look, but I like the look of this, especially when I use this color (primitive).

Update Lampshade:

I bought the lampshade at Home Depot. I use this lamp on my desk, so I use it every day. It is another sweet reminder of my Dad and it feels good to give old things a new life and incorporate them into our home.

Thanks for reading my blog. Let me know what you think of my repurposed lamp or if you have any questions about how to chalk paint a lamp by posting a comment. 

Check out some of my other chalk painting blog posts:

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Let me know what you think or if you have any questions about chalk painting a lamp by commenting below.

14 Comments

  1. Britain Lee on 03/23/2019 at 12:27 AM

    Such a fun project! I am about to tackle an old chair redo! Any tips or tricks? I love the color you choose! I enjoy following your blog because you we seem to share the same taste! Thanks for sharing!

    • Suzanne on 03/23/2019 at 7:52 PM

      Thanks, Britain Lee for posting!
      If you are chalk painting the chair, I would suggest two coats of chalk paint. I then sand each “like” section for consistency. For example, I sand all the legs first, then all the back spindles (if it has spindles) or the sides of the chair. This gives me a chance to make sure all the like parts (legs) have about the same reveal. When I get it how I like it, I then use poly (not wax), just like I did on the lamp. I love doing small pieces of furniture like chairs. So, enjoy the process as much as the final result! Let me know how it goes.
      Suzanne

  2. Samantha on 03/23/2019 at 12:33 PM

    I never thought to chalk paint a lamp. Clever!

  3. Bethany on 03/25/2019 at 9:05 PM

    Is this paint more tan or gray? Your office view is cool too.

    • Suzanne on 03/25/2019 at 9:12 PM

      Hey Bethany,

      Thanks for reading my blog. The chalk paint is more of a tan. It looks sort of like an oatmeal color to me.

      I like the view from my office too. The loft, which is my office and craft room is my happy place! ☺️

      Suzanne

  4. Sara on 03/29/2019 at 3:57 PM

    Your directions are super helpful. Not chalkpainted something yet, but your directions are good when I need them. Great blog!

  5. Cindy on 03/30/2019 at 5:59 PM

    You inspired me to paint a lamp this weekend. Good color choice too.

  6. Carrie on 03/31/2019 at 8:59 AM

    Can you chalk paint a lamp made out of resin or wood? I’m thinking about doing it in my daughter’s room.

    • Suzanne on 03/31/2019 at 9:25 AM

      Hey Carrie,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on this blog post.

      YES! You can chalk paint a lamp made out of resin or wood. I painted (not chalk painted) a lamp made of resin and just had to be careful about sanding (I actually painted it multiple colors to give it an old layered look. I sanded very lightly to reveal the under color. If you sand too much, it will remove too much (and for me started revealing a pink color), so sand lightly. Wood, like furniture, works great too. Just be sure you either want to sand down to the wood or the paint color that is over the wood. Sometimes I spraypaint the lamp or furniture’s “under color” (usually black or brown) before I chalk paint. There is no right or wrong, just start sanding lightly until you get the look you want.

      Happy Chalk Painting!

      Suzanne

  7. Vicki on 07/17/2019 at 5:19 PM

    That is really pretty. I enjoy your blog.

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