Wall Sconce Re-do

I’ve had my eye out for wall scones for our guest room since we moved to California.  There isn’t a ton of space on either side of the bed for side tables with lamps, so I determined wall sconces were the way to go.  I saw these beauties in this fall’s Pottery Barn catalog and instantly fell in love with their look, but not their price.

Justin and I were thinking that we could build something similar from a combination of glass domes, thin pipes, a bit of spray paint, and the build-your-own lighting kits they sell at the hardware store, but then I spotted these on our weekend trip to Last Chance Mercantile.

I might have overlooked them, but their shades were in fairly good shape and I had recently purchased a can of Rust-Oleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint that was dying to be used.

As soon as I got them home I got started by wiping down the sconces with a damp cloth to remove any dust and debris (which there was a lot of).  Then I popped off the shades and made sure to cover up the parts of the lamp that I didn’t want exposed to the spray paint.  I did this by crumbling up bits of newspaper and tightly stuffing it into the lamp sockets.  I also used a small piece of painters tape to cover up the metal part of the plugs.  And I was ready to spray away!

Tip:  When using spray paint, be sure to spray in a steady, even spray from left to right (or right to left!).  Never hover over a single spot for more than a second or two.  A steady stream of spraying will help the paint to be distributed evenly rather than in drippy splotches, which is what happens when you aim and spray at a single spot for too long.

I ended up having to spray the sconces three separate times to make sure all of the brass was covered up.  The first coat took care of most of it, but when I rotated the sconces to inspect them, I kept seeing bits and pieces of brass sticking out in places the spray paint hadn’t quite reached.

Tip:  Make sure to inspect whatever it is that you’re spray painting thoroughly before cleaning up your workspace.  Give it a 360 degree inspection so you don’t have to come back again later and re-set up your workspace for round two (or three or four).

The easy part of this re-do was the spray painting.  The tough part of this re-do was figuring out how to attach the sconces to the wall.  The original brackets were missing, so Justin and I had to get a bit creative.  We ultimately decided to mount the sconces onto wooden blocks and then to mount the blocks to the wall.  This ended up being an inspired idea because: (1) it added another element to the design of the sconces, (2) it complimented another important piece we’ve also been working on for the guest room {coming soon!}, and (3) it made the mounting process a whole lot easier.

We had a couple of pieces of scrap wood that were already cut to a workable size, so I just gave them a good sanding followed by a couple coats of wood stain.  I sanded the wood mostly by hand using 60-grit sandpaper attached to a sanding block.  Then, to give it bit of a rustic look, I used a power sander and 120-grit sandpaper to soften the front edges of the wood.

Wall Sconce Re-do


If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry.  A few weeks ago I had no idea either.  But a DIY project is always a great opportunity to learn new things.  Apparently, sandpaper comes in different “grits,” which delineate the coarseness or fineness of the paper.  The lower the grit number, the more coarse the sandpaper, and the higher the grit number, the more fine the sandpaper.  You usually want to start out sanding with a coarser, lower grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer, higher grit sandpaper for a smooth, finished look.

After I was done sanding, I carefully wiped down the wood with a dry cloth to remove any extra sawdust.  Then I applied one coat of Minwax’s water based wood stain in American Walnut.  I let this dry for a day or two before applying a second coat of Minwax’s wood finish in Red Mahogany.  {Sneak Peak: You can look forward to reading more about this color combo and learning from my staining mistakes in my next blog post about an even bigger and better addition to our guest room}.

Finding a way to attach the sconces to the woodblocks required a bit of creativity.  Luckily, Justin and I had our good friend Tim visiting for the weekend who was more than happy to roll up his sleeves and get to work with us.  Tim came up with the idea of cutting thin slices of wood off some of the old pallets we had dragged home from our last trip to Last Chance Mercantile to mount the sconces on to.  After fighting with the pallets to give up a board or two, Tim cut off pieces of the boards to fit inside the brackets of each sconce.

He perfectly measured the distance between the two pieces of wood so the sconces would sit directly over them.  Then Tim drilled the pallet wood into the blocks I had previously stained.  Thanks to his perfect measurements, the sconces fit right on top.  He then secured them to the pallet wood by drilling screws into the pre-existing holes on the sides of the sconces.

For the final touch, Justin and I attached picture rings to the back of the stained wood blocks.  Then we screwed in some fresh light bulbs, dusted off the original shades that came with the sconces (which were actually in pretty good shape), and finally, we hung and admired.

Not bad for $2 each, some leftover wood and spray paint, and a little bit of free labor from our friend Tim!



10 thoughts on “Wall Sconce Re-do

  1. Pingback: Be Our Guest…Again | With Love, From California

  2. Pingback: Getting Creative: DIY Jewelry Storage | With Love, From California

  3. Pingback: Creating a Functional Gallery Wall | With Love, From California

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s