How to Paint a Lamp Base

Have you ever wondered how to paint a lamp base?  Here are all the steps and instructions you need.  It will take it from a dated lamp to something modern and new.

What I had and What I Wanted

I started with two lamps I had in the main bedroom.  The shape of the lamps was something I still like but the shiny silver was looking dated.  I had seen on social media lots of do it yourselfers creating amazing pottery looking pieces in just a couple easy steps.

bedroom lamps

You can’t always trust what you see so I was a little leery.  If I was doing an old piece I found at Goodwill I wouldn’t have worried too much but I still really liked my lamps.  After deciding that the worst that could happen was having to replace them I decided to go for it and see if I could create a modern piece with zero dollars invested.

Supplies needed

Here is the supply list to create a modern pottery lamp:

  • your lamps (I’ve had these for years but found them at Hobby Lobby)
  • paint (I used left over paint from other projects) (I love Behr paint from Home Depot, this one was eggshell finish)
  • baking powder (I’ve heard baking soda works as well but I have not tried it)
  • wax paper (easy clean up and your project wont stick)
  • painters tape (tape off any area that you don’t want to get paint on)
  • paint brush
  • disposable bowl (for ease an clean up)

Where to Start

This is one of the easiest DIY projects ever and the results are amazing.  It doesn’t take a lot of time either.  

paint project

To create the ‘pasty’ paint you take about 1/2 cup of paint and pour it into the disposable bowl.  I say about 1/2 c because I didn’t measure it.  No need to get paint all over a measuring cup.  You can definitely eyeball it and get it close enough.

Because this was my first time I didn’t know what to expect when I added the baking powder, which I measured with a baking table spoon.  You will add 1 TBS of baking powder to your paint.

When you add baking powder to a liquid it does bubbly and grow which happens a little with the paint.

paint project

add baking powder

After I dumped the baking powder into the paint I stirred it with the paint brush I was going to used to paint the lamps.  It would probably mix easier if you used a plastic spoon but I just used the paint brush so I didn’t have anything else to clean up or deal with.

stir the baking powder

I used a larger craft brush.  It was the perfect size for the project.  Mixing the baking powder into the paint took a little longer then I expected.  The baking powder does react a little with the paint but it mixes in.  You are creating more of a paste texture then paint.  The paste texture is what gives you the clay pot effect.

Painting the Lamps

Before you paint use the painters tape to tape off any area that you don’t want to paint.  You may or may not need it depending on your lamp

I started from the bottom and began painting the lamp.  Because you’ve added baking powder to the paint it is thinker.  I was wanting a bit of a rough finish so I was more worried about coverage then getting it smooth.

painting the vase

painting the vase

painting the vase

paint a vase

Once the lamp is covered I set it on a piece of wax paper.  Wax paper is my secret do it yourself paint project tool.  Your project wont stick to the wax paper and it keeps your work area clean.  It is also easy clean up as you’ll toss the wax paper when you’re done.  Who doesn’t have a roll of wax paper around the house that they’ve had for years?  

pottery vase

How Many Coats of Paint

I found my lamps which I was painting a white clay look took two full coats with a little touching up for the third coat.  

paint a vase

paint a vase

Depending on how thick you paint the first coat will determine your drying time. For this project it took a couple hours to dry.  I covered the paint in the disposable bowl with plastic wrap and wrapped my paint brush with plastic wrap as well while I waited for the paint to dry.

It held up fine and was ready to go when the lamp was dry and ready for the second coat.  I did all the coats of paint in one night.  I don’t know how well the baking powder paint would hold up over night.  

The End Result

You will love the end result.  It will elevate your piece and take it from old and drab to fabulous.

painted vase

Updating my main bedroom lamps didn’t cost me anything because I used paint I had left over from other projects and I had the baking powder in my cupboard.

Loving the Results

I said earlier that I was a little leery about wrecking my lamps but I am thrilled with how amazing they look.  They were a great size and shape but were a little dated. I will be doing this painting technique a few more times because I really loved the results.  

beautiful lamps

I love taking something old and making it new and exciting.  Especially if it has good structure and a good quality.  You can see a dresser that I updated here.  It took on new life and became a piece that I loved instead of a piece that I no longer wanted.  

Decor to the Door

Do you want help finding cute unique home decor?  I have the answer for you.  Decor to the Door is the perfect place to find seasonal and everyday decor that is perfect for your home.  

Head over to Decor to the Door for a variety of unique home decor pieces.  There are going to be some changes soon but you will love everything new that arrives.




This post contains affiliate links.  If you shop from my blog, I may be compensated for clicks or purchases that you make.  

Read my disclaimer page for more information.

Free 30 Day Guide to Calm and Peace

Share this Post

Picture of Sherylee


I am passionate about cultivating home. Whether you like DIY, design, decor or organization I want to help you cultivate the best home for you. One space and step at a time. Small simple to maintain changes with big results.