Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Take A Dip

This is one of those Projects That Almost Wasn't. Not quite dramatic enough to make the Pinterest Fail page... but it definitely didn't work out exactly the way I had intended.

Our house came outfitted with these lights:



They're fine. Whatever. 

They could be lots worse:

We have a double set in the bathroom that I gave the teeny-tiniest update to:

Just dipped the rims in some yellow craft paint. I think they're kinda cute. 

Our hallway also has one of these light; a single one:

Now, I think this light is kind of odd to begin with. It looks stuck there, almost like an afterthought. Which it may well have been when someone realized that the space needed a light but the ceiling space is taken up by the door to the attic.

One day, if we put in stairs, we will get rid of the attic door and replace it with a real ceiling and run wiring for an actual hall light. But that is a good ways off. We've casually looked at wall mounted lights to replace this one, but we haven't seen anything that we really loved. To me, a lot of them just look like a porch light that you put inside. 

So, while we're waiting, I decided this light needed a tiny tweak. I thought it would look cool to dip the shade in white 
paint, similar to the bathroom light but...more!

I assumed that I could just dip the shade into the gallon of white latex-based paint that we had kicking around in the back of the closet. But...

...the shade was too fat. 

So, I thought, I'll pour the paint into a wider container (aka: a glass pie plate, cause...why not?).

It didn't coat as much of it as I had originally wanted, but I was just going with whatever worked at this point. (Inside I was already thinking, "I have ruined this lamp shade. It was fine bland and now I am making it aggressively unattractive.) 

My plan had been to hold the shade until the paint was set enough to leave it upside down on the table without it dripping. 

Well, no dice. 

If I had been smart, or just patient, I would have waited until Joseph was home so there was an extra pair of hands for lamp holding/child-minding.

But, lest you forget, I like to do things NOW! (Because my interests are mercurial and I am easily distracted.) 

So, thinking the paint was probably set "enough", I put the shade down so that I could change a diaper/fix a snack/play Firemen. 

Spoiler: it was not. 

When I checked on it a little while later, this is what I found:

I promptly texted Joseph:

Me: AHHHH! I can't do this! I ruined our boring light! And everything is painty and I'm a terrible person!

(Or something like that.)

I also sent him the above picture. 

He sent back:

Joseph: I'm confused because what you said sounds like it didn't turn out but the picture looks awesome.


How sweet. 

To me, it looked like Albino Cthulhu was eating my lamp shade.

Rrraawwrr! Nom-nom-nom-lamp...

I decided to just let it dry fully and then see what I could do. 

I knew I was going to have to remove the paint that had run down the inside of the shade; I didn't want to have swapped out a bland lamp for a fire hazard.  Once the paint was dry, I tried just peeling the drips off to see what happened. 

Oh, the magic of latex paint on glass; they came off perfectly. I still wasn't sold on the drippy look, no matter what my enabler supportive husband said. So, on a whim, I took a paring knife and, veeeery carefully, ran it around the top of the rim of paint, just below where the drips started. 

I don't have any pictures of this step because I was pretty sure this was A: not going to work, B: ruin my shade or C: all of the above. 

But, surprise, it did!

Pretty much. 

It's not exactly the "dipped" look I wanted, but it's much better than I thought it was going to look about halfway into this project. 

I hope writing this experience down will help me remember that, in the world of DIY, not everything works out perfectly. And for every amazing thing on Pinterest, there are dozens of "fails".

And we should hold up our mangled, gluey ball of twine (or poorly painted lamp shade) and say, "Yep. I tried. It didn't work.  I'm awesome anyway."


  1. Ahahaha, albino Cthulhu! That's perfect, and the plush is adorable. I know what my next crochet project will be... I'll just have to find him an appropriate lamp to munch on.

  2. Now I want to see a Cthulhu lamp cozy. I think there's a niche in the market for Everyday Cthulhus.