September 14, 2012

Crackle Metal Finish Lamp Base Tutorial

First, if you came by yesterday for a visit then Thank You! I am so glad you wanted me to be a part of your day.

It also means you also saw that I transformed 2 brassy lamps  with no shades into 2 classy lamps with shades for $34!

Today I am going to show you how I made over the lamp bases. It is so easy you are gonna kiss me!

Twice! Once for each lamp =0)

If you didn't see their humble beginnings, here it is: Actually these were brass and I had already sprayed them with primer because I thought I would do something totally different to them. It actually worked out great for the finish I created so now I am saying, I meant to do it! So spray your bases with white or light grey primer first.

Before:                                                                         After:

What you will need:
Leafing sizing
silver leaf 
2 paint 1" paint brushes, somewhat stiff
 brown stain
Polycrylic spray sealer

A word about sizing. It is a thin glue that is not meant to dry to the touch. You will paint it on and then let it dry for about 15 minutes or until it is tacky. Paint it all over evenly so it will dry evenly. Use one brush for the sizing. Also, do not get it where you do not want the leafing to go. The leafing is nearly impossible to remove once adhered so mask off anything you do not want the sizing to touch. The picture below has already had the sizing applied. See it has a shiny finish now instead of matte finish from the primer.
Now a note about leafing. Leafing comes in silver, gold, and copper. It is very thin sheets of actual metal, thinner than tinfoil and very delicate. It tears easily which is good for this project. If you want to cover flat surfaces with it and want it to be square, just be careful and keep your fingers and hands dry so it doesn't stick. Once your sizing has dried, pick up a sheet and lay it on your lamp base. Use the other  brush to pat the leaf down all over. Like you are painting with out paint.

Leafing comes in sheets of 25. I used about 9 per lamp.
The sizing costs $6 and the leafing is $6. I had the sizing left over from a table I did with copper leafing and a small bottle goes a long way. Go see the table so you can see another way to use leafing. Most of the time I have seen it cover entire pieces. I like that but I like to think outside the leaf and show you how to use it in unique applications as well. Like these lamps!  

It will  look like this initially. Make sure to work the leaf into all crevices and spaces as it will show off the lines of the lamp better. Sharper.

I did a tear and apply method for this lamp. Tear off a piece and place it wherever. Then keep adding it until most of the lamp is covered. You want to leave some areas uncovered by the leaf so it looks like cracked glass or cracked mercury glass. If some of the leaf is too square looking just apply a bit more to give it a jagged edge.

You will have lots of flakes left over and that is okay. Save them for another project if you can or use them to fill in spots that look to geometric. Organic is what makes this look like cracked mercury glass.

Once your base is covered like you want it to be, really use your paint brush to burnish the entire lamp base and sharpen the lines and flatten out all of the creases and clean up the loose flakes of leaf.

Here is a video of my technique to remove the flakes and give it that smooth finish you want. I hope it works!

UPDATE: It works! but I did not speaketh a word during the entire video. Not sure why. You can however hear me breathing very heavily. Apparently leafing gives you a good healthy aerobic workout! Who knew!

Now you can leave it very silver if you like or you can use some of your stain and antique it up. I personally stain just about everything! It gives your pieces depth and variation. Wipe off the excess as you go. The more stain you leave on the more champagne gold it looks. This is a lighter gold than traditional gold leaf. It is all about preference. Once the stain has dried a bit, spray it with your Polycrylic and let it dry.

Now lay two of those kisses on me, one for each cheek!
Right back 'atcha my crafty, classy, Sister!

Always being renewed,

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  1. Great step by step instructions. The bases look great!

  2. Thanks so much for the tutorial! What a neat technique! I am excited to test this out sometime!

  3. Thanks for sharing your tutorial. I found you at '1929 Charmer' and I'm so glad I did!

  4. Great project and tutorial. Love the way your lamps turned out.

  5. What lovely mercury glass lamps, Kim--I love the look of yours!

  6. Kim, the lamp base looks AMAZING!!! Way to go!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

  7. I just blew a kiss on you, did it land on your check? The lamps look great, and are now lovely mercury lamps. Great project and loved you tutorial. You always amaze me. A very unique technique. Thanks for sharing your inspiration with Sunday’s Best – you helped make the party a success!

  8. Wow! I really like the way the lamps turned out. Great job. Blessings Paula

  9. Beautiful! =) Love the faux mercury look!

  10. Wow!! So beautiful! And a thorough tutorial.
    Thanks so much for linking up at I Gotta Create! <3 Christina

  11. LUV this! They turned out beautifully! Thanks for the great tutorial, girlie! :)

    xoxo laurie

  12. Hi Kim! I found you on Lovely Crafty Home. These lamps look beautiful! I'm going to have to give that a try for my guest room makeover. Thanks so much for sharing!


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