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Tips by AP: Refreshing an Old Light Fixture

Do you have some light fixtures in your house that, whenever you look at them you think, “God that’s ugly, we should really get some new lights.”?

Well you just put those crazy ideas out of your head and grab some primer and spray paint. Unlike plastic surgery, you don’t need a ton of money to make old fixtures look new again. Check out the tutorial below and you’ll be on your way to renewing your light fixtures (and other things) in no time!

Materials Needed

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Step 1

Remove as much of the internals as you can (you don’t want to get those wet!) and then give the fixture a good wash with some soap and hot water. Preferably with a degreaser like Palmolive.

Note: Depending on who close people will be to the fixture, you may want to sand down or strip off any paint at this point too. Use your best judgment here when trying to achieve the best finish. My light fixture is going to be 8 feet or more away so the details didn’t matter to me here.

Step 2

Spray on your primer. I used an automotive primer just because I had it. If this was a bare metal fixture, I would have used a self-etching primer to get the best adhesion of my top color.

Make sure you follow the instructions on the back of your rattle can. You should shake for at least a minute and wait the suggested time in between coats.

Step 3

Give it a light sanding with a high grit paper, I used 400 grit to knock down any bumps caused by the primer.

Step 4

After giving the primer enough time to cure, put your top-coat on. Again, follow the instructions as dry times vary by brand and type of paint.

That’s it! Once the fixture has had plenty of time to dry (give it a good 24 hours to cure), you can reinstall it.

Congratulations. You saved yourself some money by upcycling something old, AND you helped keep some junk out of the landfill.

This is a fun project as you don’t have to limit yourself to light fixtures, you can salvage most anything with a good cleaning and a coat of paint.

If you’re currently working on something please let me know in the comments below! I’d love to see what you’re up to and if you’re doing any upcycling of your own!

Until next time,


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