Monday, February 15, 2010

Chippy paint finish: Lamp

Hi everyone! I'm glad you're back! I am happy with all the interest in the paint finish, so I finally finished putting a tutorial together for the chippy paint finish that I featured on my ball finial and lamp. The technique is the same for both projects, but I am concentrating on the lamp in this tutorial.

I have lived with both of these projects and I have been really happy.
Here is what you will need to recreate the chippy paint finish for the lamp:

-Project piece (In this case brass lamp)
-primer (metal primer if finish of lamp is metal)
-Spackle (any brand will do)
-artist pallet knife or putty knife
-Acrylic paint in White and Burnt Umber
-Tim Holtz Distressed Paint in Picket Fence
-Paint brushes
-Sealer in flat finish

Meet Tim Holtz

Cute Hu?
I really love admire this man. He is talented beyond measure. If you are not familiar with Tim Holtz, I encourage you to visit his blog and website. You will soon love admire him too! He has created an entire line of products typically used for Altered Art and scrapbooking (all you artist knew that, hu?) including Distressed Paint. His distressed paint is just one of his products that I have fallen in love with. I typically use it in my collage work and it is really amazing! It is a one step crackle finish. That in itself is amazing.
Ok, let's get on with the project, let's look at Tim one more time. Scroll up. pause. scroll down, ok let's go!

Brass lamps are usually abundant in your local thrift stores, but for this particular finish, I recommend a shape that has a large field. Meaning big areas of smooth surface. Such as this:

I would not recommend a lamp like this:

Take off harp and tape off socket and cord

Here is the type of metal primer spray paint I use

Spray entire lamp and let dry

Looks better already!!

Now here is the part where you must be fearless!

Using your pallet knife, start smearing on the Spackle. I recommend a pallet knife because it is small and easier to handle than a putty knife

Because of the detail on the lamp, I used my fingers
to get the Spackle in the pearl detail

Now Spackle dries fairly fast and you will use this to your advantage. Constantly work with the Spackle until it is textured but still smooth. Use your hands to basically knock off all the rough parts. Also , you don't want knife marks either, blend those away too...

Do not use water. It really isn't necessary. If for some reason the Spackle dries too quickly, use some 120 grit sand paper to knock off any texture or rough spots that are unwanted, Be easy though, we do want smooth texture.

After the Spackle has dried completely, you'll know cause it's got that dusty effect...coat the entire lamp in burnt umber. You will need to do several coat to get in all the crevices.
Next do a dry brush technique with white over the entire piece. I used an artist brush to do this. Sponge brushes will not work for the dry brush technique.

Your lamp should be looking like this:

At this point the paint needs to cure. Let it totally cure overnight. The "damp" feeling should be totally gone.

Oh look, here's Tim again! He's checking on our progress! Hi Tim! I'm about to use your distressed paint...thanks for checking back in!

He really thinks we are doing a good job!
Now, using the distressed paint is really easy, there is a built in brush in the bottle, but here are a few things to remember:

-Use it sparingly. Don't go crackle crazy or it just won't look natural.
-the more paint you use the bigger the cracks, the less paint the smaller the cracks. Use a combination of the two.
-All you do is paint it on, the crackle will happen my itself.
-Some of the larger cracks will come off. That's ok. I personally like the effect, but you can go back over an area once it's dry.

Drying time is approx. 20 mins. the full effect in less than 30 minutes
Just look...

I really love the effect!

Is that not beautiful?

It almost looks tree like...

Give your lamp another night to really cure.

Finally, give it a coat of flat (or satin) poly. Any brand is fine, just pay attention to the finish.

I used flat and you can't even tell it's sealed but it is. I didn't want any shine on the final piece.
Find a shade for your beautiful masterpiece, because I also believe that updates a lamp too, and you are going to enjoy this! I love just looking at it!

Tim is back! That stinker! He's looking at the final result! I think he likes it!!!

I hope you do too! You can do this!!! Try it!

If you have any further questions, e-mail me...I'll get right back with you (asap)!

If you try this technique, let me know, I'd love to see!

And as always, if you use this idea, be kind, please link back to me. Thanks!

Bye Tim, I think I'll go watch one of your demos on you tube now!

I hope you inspired!


  1. That was quick turn around on a tutorial! LOL! I'm going to keep my eye out at Goodwill for some brass lamps now!

    ~ Sarah

  2. Ah ha! It was the spackle! And that cutie looking over your shoulder too. Thanks for showing us how you did it.

  3. Thanks for the tutorial. I'll have to give this a try.

  4. Thank you soo much for the tutorial! I'm so happy I found you! I've been waiting patiently for this tutorial so thanks for taking the time to make it! Its the best to stumble upon a blog where someone has figured out an amazing technique. You rock, and now I'll have to get me some of that Dazzle stuff. Thanks!!

  5. Thank you! I was just looking for a tutorial last night after reading about the lamp. Now, if I could only find the materials here on our post in Korea to do this. I have the lamp to do it, but the materials will be tricky. I need a trip back to the states. lol

  6. YAY!! Thank you for posting the tutorial. I'm so happy now.

  7. I love this lamp finish. I have used spackle on a few things, but adding Tim's crackle is great.

    Thanks for the link to his site. I am going there now.

    Wonderful tutorial!

  8. Ok, this is just way too wonderful. I can do this. I definitely have to try anyway. Thanks for the tutorial. Hugs, marty

  9. What a great tutorial. This lamp is fantastic.

  10. great job! thanks for sharing that cool tutorial... tim

  11. Michelle,
    I just love the way this turned out! Thank you for the step, by step.
    Dee Dee

  12. Great idea! Wonderful job! Excellent tutorial! Fun, silly, and great information. A wealth of it, even! I suppose you don't 'need' my point system, but I'm giving you a definite 10, anyway! Thanks so much! Now, what shall I do it on? The lamp that I immediately wanted to use, you ruled out right up front. hmmmm . . . Must. find. something. to. finish.

  13. Ohhh, a fellow Tim lover . . . uh . . . admirer. Thanks for this tutorial. I strongly dislike anything brass, my husband is scared because I'm eyeing his fireplace utensil set (sigh), guess I can't rightly crackle paint those things huh? Thanks again, now I will keep an eye out for brass things I can change over to the dark side!

  14. Thank you SO much for telling how to do this! I've had several things I wanted to do this to. One question, what kind of acrylic paint did you use? those little bottles at the craft store? I want to get the awesome results that you did, I'll show you how they turn out!

  15. Hi Michelle, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your lamp transformation!!! Thanks so much for the how-to!

  16. can you use this effect on a glass lamp?

  17. I am featuring this idea and your brass to black lamp on tomorrow! Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. This looks amazing!!! Did you cover all the burnt umber with the cream paint and then sand to let the umber show through? Also, could you use spray paint instead of brushing? Thanks

  19. i love you. i have 2 lamps i painted ORB and they just don't make me smile. they have been in my garage for months. i hope this works.


  20. I really want to try this paint ... especially the clear "rock candy" but I've read really mixed reviews. Have you tried the clear?

  21. As much as I like Tim Holtz's 'rock candy', I do not recommend it for this project because rocky candy has a glossy finish, and we are going for a rustic finish.

  22. Fantastic job, your lamp is Beautiful! I must try this...

  23. Could you do this with latex paint? Maybe to help distress a side table?

  24. Yes, you could use latex paint, I would caution which sheen...I think flat would be ok and still have a matte finish.

    Other answers:
    Valerie, Spackle can be bought at any home improvement store, even walmart...look in the paint section.

    April, I did not sand at all. The spackle creates an uneven surface and allows the burnt umber to show through when dry brushing. The brush should have a small amount of (cream/white)paint on it until you get the feel for it.

    Jamie, yes, I think it will work just fine on glass items

    Ginnie, yes just the little bottles of paint at the craft stores...


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