Thursday, September 18, 2014

Halloween {Thrifted} Lamp for the Basement Party

I love Halloween. I love hosting the Annual Halloween party that my kids take all the credit for with their friends.You can read about how I was planning out their party with this post. As you have read, this year I was banishing the kids into the basement. Now as any high schooler knows, you can't have overhead lighting on at a party, let alone a Halloween party. I had to start to think outside the box on how to get great ambient lighting in the basement, without it being too dark where couples would be  huddled into every corner...

Enter another of my loves...Thrift Store Upcycling.

I am also addicted to Pinterest, and always have strange ideas floating in my head from Pinterest when I enter any thrift store. If you don't have some goals in mind, it just looks like a bunch of junk. If you have a jumping off point, you can turn anything into something useful. I had seen many pins about painting old Christmas village houses black and making them look like haunted houses. Great idea, but in my head this would only work for no-named villages. I know how much those Dicken's Village houses cost. I just couldn't paint one of those black! I also had in my head skinny, strait lamp bases that people strung foam skull heads onto, stacking them up the base. Great idea too if I had enough foam skulls.

So off to the Goodwill I went looking for a lighting project. I found this wonderful lamp base. I had almost given up, it was hiding in the wrong isle. Look at it. It is weird, and somebody named Amy took alot of time back in 1988 to paint this whole tree house lamp. It is marked on the bottom, and that just made me love it even more. 

I always like to make up stories in my head about who items used to belong to. This lamp (in my head) was painted by somebodies Aunt for her nephew's new bedroom. He was an outdoorsey type of kid, and she didn't spend alot of time with him, and wasn't sure what he liked. Figuring he liked to play outside alot, a tree house lamp was the perfect birthday present for him to use in his new bedroom.

I ended up paying $6.99 for this lamp base and found a lamp shade that fit the sizing for another $3.99. The shade was all brown, and that needed to be re-done too.

I started at home in my garage with my daughters old science fair board for spray painting on. You will notice this cardboard in many of my projects. It is a great size and clean up is so easy. I got out the flat black spray paint that I also used on the Toxic Waste garbage bin in this posting. Covered the light socket part of the lamp with paper tape and started painting it. (Side note, just incase, the lamp was UNPLUGGED while painting it!) The whole thing got sprayed black. There were lots of nooks and crannies in this piece, so it took a few rounds to get it all covered. I also painted the outside of the brown lamp shade black too. The shade was a fabric of some sort, and ended up taking two coats of black to get it all covered. Once the outside of the lamp shade was covered and dry, I flipped it over and painted the inside metallic gold. I had always read about how a metallic inside of a shade makes the base "glow", so I gave it a try.

I let the base and shade dry over night in the garage and got back to it in the morning. I brought the base inside on the kitchen table (over newspaper) and wanted to add little details to the Haunted Treehouse. I dry brushed the tree parts with two different colors of brown, made the roofs a third color of brown. The steps and windows were dry brushed white, and any plant and grass were dry brushed green. I tried to add orange to anything that looked like it could be orange, because I was trying to make it look more Halloweenish.

The girl and hubby were watching me dry brush the lamp and were amazed at how the tiniest little bit of paint can make such a huge difference. The more detail you add, the more realistic it will look in the end.

When it was all dry, I put the shade on the top and put in the smallest watt light bulb I could find, 15W. The gold under the shade really makes that little 15W put off a ton of light. Might need to paint the inside black too just so it isn't so bright.

I am thinking about making super small pumpkins out of clay to glue to the door steps of the houses to make it more Halloween like. Maybe an owl in a tree, or a cat prowling around too. I like how it turned out, but it just needs a few more details now to make me totally happy with it.

I love that it is two sided, so it works in the basement. One side is towards the TV area, other side it towards the pool table. In the end, my kids thought it was cool because they saw it before. None of the kids at the party noticed it. Or if they did, they didn't mention it. No worries. It was not painted to get a reaction, just to give a little light and stick with the Halloween theme.

Check out my other Halloween ideas here.

I am sharing this post with all of these lovely bloggers.


  1. Love how it turned out! And perfect to bring out every year :)

  2. Awesome transformation! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,