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Aztec-Inspired DIY: Lamp Revamp

Photograph by Denise Cortes

I'm one of those people who collects really cool things in hopes that one day I'll revamp it and it will look fabulous in my home. The good thing about that is I have some really unique furniture and art on the walls. The bad thing? Much to my husband's chagrin, my "collections" often get dusty and take up space in the garage until I have time to tackle them. However, when inspiration strikes, it's a marvelous thing.

Last year I was gifted with these two lamps that my mom found on clearance. They had a great shape and the price was too good to pass up, but they were the most boring things I'd ever seen. The funny thing is that I will usually display something I really like the minute I get it. Sadly, these lamps just sat there, out of sight—a true sign I was on the fence about them. Before the holidays, I stored them in the closet with the promise of a new DIY life for them. "I won't forget you," I told them as I shut the closet door. We creative types are funny like that.

Photograph by Denise Cortes

Of course, I had to make good on my word. I decided on creating an Aztec-inspired pattern on the lampshade, and I chose the color black because I'm all about a minimalist color palette these days. You can use whatever color suits your decor.

Photograph by Denise Cortes

SUPPLIES

  • lampshade

  • blue painter's tape

  • black multi-surface paint (I used Folk Art Multi-Surface paint in Licorice)

  • paintbrush or stencil brush

Whenever I want to create an Aztec-inspired pattern, I thumb through a book called Design Motifs from Ancient Mexico by Jorge Enciso. Before Pinterest and the "chevron" craze, there was this book and its abundant resources on ancient Mexican designs. I've had my copy for nearly twenty years and its dog-eared and taped up, but it never fails to inspire.

Photograph by Denise Cortes

Once you have a general idea of how you want your lampshade to look, start laying out your design with blue painter's tape. You can use scissors or a #11 X-Acto blade. Remember that all of the taped areas will be the negative space of your design. The tape will keep your lines straight, so make sure you press down firmly; although, I liked the fact that some of my lines looked more organic and natural, just like in the Design Motifs of Ancient Mexico book. Don't stress if it doesn't look perfect!

Photograph by Denise Cortes

Now you can start painting. Depending on the type of lampshade you have, you can use either a paintbrush, a dauber or a stencil brush. I discovered that the stencil brush and its stiff bristles worked well with my burlap-style lampshade. Whichever brush you choose, make sure you paint even, smooth strokes. Let it dry. Depending on what it looks like dry, you can decide to add another coat of paint after an hour of letting the first coat dry. The black I chose gave the lampshade really solid coverage so I only needed one coat.

Photograph by Denise Cortes

Once the lampshade is dry, peel off the painter's tape. Step back and observe your awesomeness. Display your lamp in your home and revel in the fact that you made something with your hands at minimal cost and it only took an afternoon to complete.

Photograph by Denise Cortes
Photograph by Denise Cortes
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