How to Transform a Metal Lamp With Spray Paint

Bring out an antique steel item's innate style (and cover a dull, oxidized, or dented exterior) with high-coverage spray paint.


What You'll Need


  • Rosin paper or drop cloth
  • Cardboard box, larger than your lamp
  • Painter’s tape
  • Spray paint (Pictured: Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint, in Winter Gray)
  • Protective mask
  • Turntable, revolving cake stand, lazy susan, or pottery banding wheel (optional)


  1. Choose a work surface (such as a shop table) in a well-ventilated area, ideally outside. Line it with a scrap of cardboard, rosin paper, or a drop cloth. Set box on its side on top of protected surface, or cut it open at a corner and arrange it to catch overspray.

  2. Remove shade of lamp, if possible. Cover areas of lamp you don't want painted with tape. If using a turntable, cover its top with rosin paper and set it in front of cardboard. Set lamp base on top of protected work surface. (You will paint the shade separately.)

  3. Read label on spray paint and stand as far back from the lamp base as it specifies. Shake can for a full minute to mix paint properly.

  4. Put on mask. Start spraying off to one side of lamp base, then move across and past it in an even stroke. Do not stop moving. Keep going back and forth until lamp base is covered in a thin coat of paint. If using turntable, spin it slowly with your other hand as you spray. Otherwise, adjust the cardboard as you work so that you can cover the entire lamp base. Let paint dry completely. Repeat one or two times until lamp base is evenly covered, letting paint dry completely after each coat.

  5. Repeat to spray paint lamp shade, following the method described above. Let dry completely.

  6. Remove tape and reassemble lamp.

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