I have had my eye on this gorgeous Kelly Wearstler lamp for months but I could not justify paying over $900 for it. Yes, you read that right. $900 buckaroos for just one lamp and most people need a pair so double that and you got yourself these beauties at the expense of a nice trip somewhere when this pandemic thing is over.
Since I have had a little extra time in my life not commuting to work, I decided I would DIY this beauty and spend my money elsewhere.
In order to begin this project, I needed to find a lamp that was similar or one that at least had a nice base that I could work with. I went to a couple of thrift stores but could never find something that I really liked. The lamps were either too small or the lamp base was textured with some floral prints which would make it more difficult to glue round wooden ball onto. In comes Facebook Marketplace to save the day. I found these and not only were they perfect for this DIY project but the lady that posted them was giving them away for FREE. I did not even know she had two until I arrived at the front of her house who two of these waiting on me.
If you want to do this project but are struggling to find a lamp, here are a few that I think would work well. The first one I’m listing would make this project a great IKEA hack.
LAMPS THAT WOULD ALSO WORK WELL FOR THIS PROJECT:
The first step in transforming this lamp is to spray paint it white. I have had a lot of experience using spray paint in multiple other projects and I must say this Rust-Oleum product by far has been the best one I used. The reason I like it so much is that it does not drip at all. I have transformed ginger jars before and there is nothing worse than spray paint that drips after you have spray painted the object you are transforming. I think the reason this works so great is that the formula is made to also adhere to plastic and that is one though undertaking.
Before you spray paint, you will need to tape the areas of the lamp that you do not want paint to get on. For this lamp, I taped the bottom part and the top where the bulb goes.
My best tip if you are using spray paint for the first time is to spray a foot away from your object and to constantly move around the object instead of standing in place while spraying. This will ensure you don’t over spray and cause drippping and it help you get a solid even cover. This is what my lamp base looked like after I spray painted it with one coat.
After spray painting the base with a bright white I noticed how the lamp shades no longer looked white but rather a yellowish beige. To get the lamp shades looking new and bright white, I mixed one part water and one part Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace paint color which is basically a bright white that I have used on the trim work in my house and kitchen. Although any white paint color will work. The reason I dilute the paint with water is it makes applying the paint easier.
Before beginning to paint the lamp shades, I brushed on a coat of water to the lamp shade fabric. This opens the fibers of the fabric making it easier to accept the paint.
When I begin brushing on my paint mixture to the lampshades, I make sure I work quickly as paint has been drying fast in my garage due to the summer heat. I’m also not concerned if I covered every part of the lampshade because it is only my first coat and I always do two coats for even coverage. This is the Wooster brush I love to use for all my project because one it is angled (great for crown moulding and any trimwork) and two because of the flexible rubber handle. It found that my hand never gets tired when I used this brush.
After painting the first coat, you can see the difference in color between the painted lamps shade (left) and the original (right).
Much better right?
I did not paint the inside of the lampshade because it is made out of a plastic material which would show brush strokes. In generally, I don’t think painting that inside is necessary unless you are trying to change how much light gets through the shade or if you are trying to add an accent color like gold to a black lamp shade.
NOW FOR THE PART THAT MAKES THIS LAMP TRULY UNIQUE
The final step to this project is to get balls onto the lamp base to give it that modern contemporary look. To do this I bought one and a quarter inch Unfinished Wooden Ball Knobs that have a flat base. It is much easier to glue them onto that lamp with a flat base than a round one
Before gluing these balls to the lamp shade I applied one coat of spray paint. I use the same Rust-Oleum spray paint that I used for the lamp base. I placed the wooden balls in shoe box and sprayed at all angles to cover what I could. Spraying the wooden ball before gluing them onto the lamp will reduce the likelihood of you over spraying the lamp shade. There were a few spots where I was not able to get paint all over the wood ball knob, which I left as is because I knew I would be doing a final coat of paint once I glued them to the lamp shade.
The most difficult part of the project is determining how many balls will need to be glued, where exactly they will be glued to and making sure they are all glued straight.
I measured around the lamp base using a Fabric Tape Measurer to get and idea of the circumference. I divided my circumference into eight equal parts. The goal is to divide you circumference into an even number or close to even so that you know how many wooden balls it will take to go around the lamp base and how many columns you will have.
Next I determined how far from the top of the base I wanted the wooden balls to be placed. I measured two inches from the top base.
After that I measured vertically to determine how many balls would make up one column. Given the size of my lamp, I left three inches between each ball with four balls going down vertically. Depending on the size of your lamp you may need to have less spacing between each wooden ball in order to get four wooden balls. I chose four because, remember, we want it to look like our designer lamp above.
Finally the hardest part of the project was ensuring that the wooden ball knobs are positioned straight. I thought I could do it with a ribbon and my four marks noted with a marker on the ribbon but that proved to be very inaccurate and not straight. After an hour of measuring and marking and erasing I finally took my husbands suggestion and used our Bosch Self-leveling laser level.
That not only showed my where my vertical points were off but also where my horizontal points should be. Using the laser level made this infinitely easier and honestly I trust it much more than a robe tied to the lamp.
After I marked where all of the wooden balls knobs will need to be glued and felt confident the placement of those marks were straight I started gluing the them. To glue the balls onto lamps I used Gorilla Hot Glue sticks and this hot glue gun. I never owned a hot glue gun before so I have nothing to compare it to but I thought it was perfect for the job. I have a feeling I will be using the hot glue gun in many other future projects. The key to placing the balls on the marked spot on the lamp is to use the hole of the center of the ball to align with the mark on the lamp. I placed small amount of hot glue around the opening of the wooden ball knob hole.
The best part of hot glue is that as soon as you put it on the lamp you are done. You don’t have to hold for any amount of time. The worst part of hot glue is that if you accidentally put it in the wrong position you don’t have any wiggle room to adjust it. Once it is on there, it does not move. so if you need to adjust the positioning, you would have to try to pull it off which may remove the paint from the lamp base. Luckily I did not have to do this.
I ran out of the wooden knob balls at this point and had to wait for second shipment to arrive. I ended up using 32 wooden knob balls to complete the project.
After a final coat of spray paint here is the lamp I have been swooning over for so long or one close to it.
What do you think? Let me know below!
If you want to see step-by-step video tutorials of this project follow me on Instagram and check out the DIY:Lamp stories. If you thought this project was fun you might be interested in the Ikea Malm Dresser Hack.
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!