How To Whitewash Metal (lamp base and shade makeover!)

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Today we are talking about how to whitewash metal AND sharing another lamp makeover!

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

So I’ve said it a million times, well maybe not a million, but a lot!!

If you are searching and searching for something and can’t ever seem to find what you are looking for, but come close, grab it, and run. lol
Seriously, sometimes that exact thing you are looking for is just elusive.

Don’t settle.

Bring it home and give it a mini makeover instead! Then you can have exactly what you were looking for.

I did the same thing recently when I couldn’t find a table for our entryway/foyer.
I found something that would fit (that was the main struggle) and I loved the style … but it was the wrong color.
I brought it home and gave it a mini makeover and now it’s perfect.
You can see that project, here.

And that’s exactly what I did with these lamps I’m sharing today.

Which started out like this…..

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

Not bad at all.
Just not exactly what I had in mind.

They were sort of bronze-y with a mustard/yellowish wash effect.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

They would have matched my “old” Aubusson blue dresser, first makeover perfectly!
But not this latest makeover. (<<< see it here)

But I loved the style, height, etc., so I brought them home anyway. (there are 2)
I knew all they needed was a little makeover.

Before I share how to whitewash metal and the lamp makeover details, let me first say I had originally planned on something in a soft white for these lamps.
That’s what I thought I’d put over my blue dresser because the hardware is gold-ish and I have a gold bowl in the middle.
I didn’t want to overdo the gold.
But I decided to spray them gold and give them a whitewash instead.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

HOWEVER, I may not keep them this way. I haven’t decided.
I might just add a little more white to the whitewash so less gold is showing.
I’m going to sit with them for a while like this and see how I feel.
But for the tutorial on how to whitewash metal, I thought I’d just show them as-is for now.

OH!! I’m also sharing what I decided to put up on the wall here.
I previously had a gallery wall of photos (<<< see it there), but decided to stay a little more simple this time.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

You can find this driftwood look, starburst mirror, here.
It goes on sale every once in a while, so if you like it, keep an eye out for it.
That’s what I did, waited and picked it up on sale months ago.  So glad I can finally put it up, that box was BIG and in the way!

(oh, and as you can see, this was one of the reasons the old, dark walnut top on that dresser was no longer going to work)

How To Whitewash Metal

I started out by spraying them with this gold paint.
It’s one of my favorite gold paints. (my other fave is this soft, understated gold one)
This one is more of a pure gold without being too brassy or dark.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

Once that was dry, I simply mixed up a little white chalk paint with water and applied it in the crevices with a small artist’s brush, like so…

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

I think chalk paint works well for this. I would recommend it for this application.
This is the white chalk paint I used.  I love it and use it all the time.

Next, take either a paper towel that is just slightly damp, or a soft rag, and wipe away most of the paint.
Be sure you don’t wipe so much that you take it all right back off.
You want to leave some behind in the all the crevices.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

It’s really simple!
After you have worked your way up the entire lamp, go back over it with a soft cloth to buff away any “chalky” finish.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

I didn’t seal the white over the gold, I just left it as is. You could seal it with a spray or liquid poly sealer though.
For this space, I didn’t really see the need.

Isn’t that fun? I love the look. It’s a little less “fussy” and more relaxed than straight gold would’ve been.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

Oh but wait, that’s not all I changed.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

This is how the lampshades looked when I brought them home.
These are lovely but aren’t really going to go very well with the gold…so I painted them too!

Hey, what can I say, I’ve been known to paint a lampshade or two (or 20, lol) around here!
I did it to my foyer light also, among others. You can see that post, here.

And heck, who am I kidding, I’ll paint just about anything.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

Mix up some of that same white chalk paint I linked above, along with a little water.
You want this to be more fluid so it soaks in, not lays on top thickly.
Continue all the way around until the paint looks even.
But remember, fluid paint that soaks in is key.

And don’t forget to go back and get those rolled edges on top and bottom.

I don’t add any sealer to these at all. Just leave them matte.

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

Isn’t that a nice look? Do you see the texture??
That is what you get as long as you don’t apply the paint too thickly.
Keeping it thin so it can “soak in” will give it the most authentic appearance.

I’m really happy with the more relaxed, less cluttery feel of this space.
Before, I had bunches of stuff on top and a wall full of photos. (you can see all that in the gallery wall link I shared above)

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

It’s just refreshing to give a room, or multiple rooms, a makeover from head to toe.
Some new things, some old, some made over…again….so they feel like new.

These new lamps got a brand new makeover. Now they match my decor.
And at $24.99 each (TJ Maxx), that’s not a bad deal.

I had a reader ask about how the shades look with the lights on. (and if they block light being painted)
I thought I’d share a photo I snapped with my cell phone the other night to show you!

This is at night…

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

I think they are plenty bright. Probably about the same as they would’ve been unpainted.

Hope you enjoyed learning how to whitewash metal. It’s fun to create these different looks with paint.

Pin it to save it!

How To Whitewash Metal (simple!!!) #whitewash #whitewashmetal #goldlamps #goldpaint #howtowhitewash #paintfinishes

Check back next week when I share what I did with this! (yes this one was painted and I stripped it down to the wood!)

UPDATE!! See it now here!!

Have a great week, friends!



    1. Hi Janet! I happened to have snapped a photo with my cell phone the other night of the lamps on. I just added it to the post if you want to take a look! :) xo

  1. Great idea to paint the lampshades. I neve would have thought of that. The lamps go perfectly with the dresser and mirror now. I love the soft look you have given them :)

    1. Thank you Jan! No, I linked to the store it’s available at below the photo. :) And thank you, that is so kind of you to say!xoxo

  2. I just cannot get on board with those sun burst mirrors. It seems like every blog I read, someone has made on out of something. Just not a look that gives me joy.

    1. Aw yes, I understand that! Not everyone has the same tastes and that’s okay! :) You are right, there have been a lot of these made, I’ve seen them. I do love my new mirror though! ;)

  3. Love the lamp shade! It looks like the popular grain sack material because of the texture and color. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Thanks Cecilia! :) Yes, it does! I love that the texture shows through the paint. And you are very welcome also! xoxo

  4. Love the lamp and lampshade makeover!!!! I have a shade that I’m going to paint following your instructions. Love your blog site!!! Very, Very talented and I enjoy what you show us. Send more of what you got to do!!! Thanks

    1. Hi Jessica, I don’t really have an exact ratio for this. You just want it wet enough that it doesn’t go on like paint. (thick and full coverage) You want it to be able to be wiped away somewhat easily, leaving a bit behind. If you can practice a bit on something to get a feel for how much water you need, that would be best! With that, I am planning to do a post on all things whitewashed and weathered. Keep a lookout for it as I plan to do it in the next month. (with video instructions) :)

  5. Hi I live the lamps but I’d love to know what color the dresser is painted. It’s the exact color I’d like to paint my dated bedroom furniture.
    Thanks in advance!

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