Kitschy Starburst Lamp

A few months ago, Chris and I purchased a vintage, 1950s lamp at Olde Towne Hall Antiques, in Stratham, NH.  We mainly bought it for the cool tiered fiberglass lampshade that it came with.  The lamp itself wasn't anything special and had been repainted, badly, with aqua latex paint.  Our plan was just to use the lamp somewhere else or donate it to Goodwill.  

On closer inspection, I realized that the latex paint could easily be peeled right off.  Underneath was a sand-colored chalkware lamp with gold specks.  Originally, I had plans to remove all the latex paint and keep the lamp as it was originally.  However, when I removed the aqua paint, I saw that the lamp was chipped and damaged, which is why it was painted to begin with.


The lamp with the latex paint removed


Since it was damaged, I decided I could refinish the lamp, to make it presentable, without feeling guilting about messing up the authenticity of the lamp.  I wanted it to match with the rest of our mid-century decor.  I love 50s vintage lamps especially those with the gold splatter finish.  I've been looking around at the local antique shops, but they are either not quite the right color or size or they are much too expensive. I decided to turn my slightly damaged lamp into a kitschy, fun piece.  

I started by masking off all the metal trim and spray painting it with aqua paint.


A lovely new color


I then made some starbursts, of different sizes, out of masking tape and stuck them on the lamp base.

I had tested out a bunch of different ways to apply the gold paint, including splattering, dripping and sponging the paint on. None of these methods worked or looked quite right.  Finally, I took a plastic shopping bag, which I balled up and dipped into gold paint, which I dabbed all over the lamp base.  Using the plastic bag, created the random effect I was looking for, that was still easy to control.


Starburst masks


Once it was dry, I removed my starburst masks and had a finished lamp that I was very happy with.  I added another vintage fiberglass shade we had and we had a new fun lamp, without spending a ton of money.

Closeup of the starburst detail