Before-and-After Projects, Without the “After”

by Katy on January 23, 2012 · 16 comments

I am home from work today and all jazzed up about getting started on a couple of different fun projects. None of them are complicated or particularly spendy, so they’re right up my alley. (A.k.a. “Any-Extra-Money-is-Going-for-Trips-to-Japan Alley.”)

The first project is to spray paint the light fixture in our ceiling bathroom. Our single bathroom is quite small, and as a result moisture is a major issue. Naturally, our Cheap-o Home Depot light fixture is super rusty. However, this was really a non-issue, as the previous glass shade was very non-discript and did not draw the eye upwards. However . . . I scored a super cute vintage globe at Goodwill that is painted with gold stars for a wallet-friendly $3.

See the rust? Of course you do!

And now the eye is drawn up to ooh and ahh over the sweetness of the light, and then to eww and blegh over the rust.

Not good.

My solution? Take that puppy down, give it a light sanding and spray paint it black. Why black? Because I already own the paint.

I haven’t started this project yet, as there are electricity issues that require my knows-how-to-do-it-safely husband to be the one to actually remove the fixture. Hmm . . . I think I’ll have the ladder already in place for when he gets home from work today.

Lucky guy.

My second project is to rejuvenate the cushions that came with my five buck wrought iron patio chairs. Remember them?

The cushions look okay in this photo, but they'e actually quite mildewy.

Here’s how the cushions looked after I snipped the seams open in order to remove the foam inserts:

Faded and mildewy, but otherwise still in great condition.

A thorough bleach and enzymatic cleaner soak in the washing machine brought the cushion covers to this:

Now mildew-free, the cushion covers are ready for their reconstructive surgery.

I had thought I would dye the fabric maybe a deeper burgundy or chocolatey brown, but our budget is pretty tight right now, so I think I’m just going to leave the color as-is.

My third project is to spray paint this lamp and then make a coordinating shade. (I got the inspiration from HERE.)


I’ve already started looking at spray paints, and will make a pilgrimage later in the week to Muse at Milepost 5  to check out their awesome selection. (Sadly, they’re only open Wednesday – Friday.) In an ideal world, I would love to paint this lamp a chrome apple green color, but I’m pretty sure this doesn’t really exist. (And of course, I’ll be rewiring this unsafe bad boy.)

I’ll continue to share progress on my projects, (as I’m always amazed with myself when I actually complete anything) on the blog. Anyway . . . wish me luck!

And remember, you don’t need a bunch of money to have fun with your home. All it takes is a creative eye and a willingness to get your hands dirty, (or mildewy or rusty.)

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Diedra B January 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

good luck! I have high hopes for the light fixture and no, I can’t see the rust.


Katy January 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

The fixture is shiny brass, so all the dark spots are rust!



Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I LOVE your light globe! My son just broke the globe in our hallway, and I’m kind of jealous of yours. We have just a bare bulb right now, but with sufficient patience I’ll find a neat one at Goodwill, too.


Dogs or Dollars January 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I too am a fan of the bulb, and of the ongoing list of cheap/free projects around the house. Its my primary motivation for helping The Husband clean out the garage, finding more on-hand materials to futs with.

The chair covers are over my head though…


Karen January 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I love your idea of fixing up the seat covers. Just a question, since I have 2 outside that could use this kind of magic: Is the foam insert washable, maybe on a hand wash cycle? Mine have foam inserts with a cotton-linen covering. What about just throwing the whole seat cover in the wash?


Katy January 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I didn’t want the foam to bunch up.



Susan C January 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm


If you don’t want to take it down you could tape newspaper to the ceiling and sand and spray it while it’s hanging. Or just wait for the hubby to deal with the electricity. 🙂


Katy January 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Spray painting in a small enclosed space is a no-no!



Renee January 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I’m sure you could get a nice selection of spray paint colors if you just put a “wanted” post up on Freecycle. It’s the kind of thing I have in my garage, but I’ve never put the effort in to posting it. (Maybe even fabric dye, too.)


Katy January 24, 2012 at 7:01 am

Great idea, thanks!



Linda January 23, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Katy, You decorate your home in much the same fashion as I do. There are more vintage and DIY things than things that were purchased new.
I got a patio set from freecycle that didn’t have cushions. When I went to the foam store to get supplies to make my own cushions I learned that if the furniture is outside, (even my covered porch) special outdoor fabric and foam must be used or mildew wil result.
” Nu-Foam does not disentigrate, and it resist mildew. Nu-Foam is used mostly for when the product may be exposed to any dampness or light. It is used in making , deck or padio furniture, ”
I just thought you might like to know.

I wish you well with your projects.


Shelley January 24, 2012 at 1:33 am

Yep, I have a house full of B4s!


Miss Roman Apartment January 25, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Chrome apple green exists. Ask at your local auto body store how much they charge to custom paint stuff.


Sarah February 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I too bet you would get a decent color fabric dye from freecycle. *smile* Also, if you have beets they make a very very bright dye (just boil beets and your cushion covers). Beet dye works on cotton but not synthetic fabrics.

Maybe to get a chocolate brown color you could use “walnut ink”? If you have a walnut tree around…

I have used beet ink but not walnut ink yet. *grin*


Donna February 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm

What kind of enzyme cleaner do you use that is effective on mildew? I have a few items that could be resurrected with that knowledge : )


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