Spray Painting Light Fixtures DIY

A lot is happening in the Insourcelife household this spring. Last couple of posts give you an idea of where our hearts and minds are at the moment. We’ll get to the news soon enough but today I wanted to take a break from it all and talk about a simple DIY project that I just completed. It happens to fall into my favorite do-it-yourself project category – easy, quick and possibly free.

Our house is 20 years old and most of the light fixtures are original. Aside from looking dated our indoor light fixtures look as shiny as they did when they were new. Apparently gold is out because pretty much all the lighting I can find on Lowe’s and Home Depot’s websites is either nickel, chrome, bronze or black. Oh well, I guess we’ll live with our gold flush mount ceiling lights and a gold chandelier in the two-story foyer.  

The gold light fixtures outside didn’t fare so well. Years of being exposed to the elements really took its toll. The finish is peeling and oxidation is everywhere. There is nothing functionally wrong with the lights but they sure look like they can use some help. Here is one of the wall lights.

Now my first instinct was to just replace the two wall lights that we have with something like this. Under $10?? It would take 20 minutes of my time from the second I click Buy to when both lights are mounted and working.

But where is fun in that? Let’s DIY and save a pair of perfectly functional light fixtures from going to a landfill!

First I cut the power at the breaker panel. Then I proceeded to remove the light fixture in the rain. Only one of these is the right thing to do.

It’s always a smart idea to make sure there is no live power in a circuit you are working with. I use this voltage tester which happens to be one of my favorite tools ever. Makes for a perfect (cheap) present, by the way.

Once the wall light is disconnected we need to disassemble it to separate the glass from the metal parts to be painted. There are round metal nuts holding it all together. Some were easy to remove while others required a pair of pliers. Soon you are able to take apart the pieces.

After a few minutes it’s looking like this:

It’s time to clean up all metal pieces with sandpaper and lay it out on a piece of cardboard for painting. I put some masking tape on the wires and the white ceramic light bulb base.

At this point you need to decide which paint you want to use. There are tons of options but I decided to go with a flat black high-heat paint. The reason? Because I had a spray can leftover from when I painted the muffler on my scooter. Your scooter muffler should match your wall lights, right? Actually, I do use this particular paint a lot around the house. It has a nice matte black look to it and it seems to last outdoors.

I usually do 2-3 coats waiting at least 30 minutes between applications. A nice thing about this paint is that it dries quickly so you can spray in the morning and be ready to hang up the lights in the afternoon. I ended up letting it sit overnight but only because we were busy doing something else. I also took a few minutes and washed all the glass pieces really well.

Once the paint is dry assembly is the reverse of disassembly. It was a little tricky to get all the glass pieces together but this is a project that anyone can do. Here is the light ready to be installed.

It’s nice to have someone hold the light fixture while you connect the wires. The light is back on the wall and looking much better! Although this picture reminds me that it’s time to clean the siding.

I liked the end result so much that I splurged on a pair of LED bulbs to replace the old CFLs. They look better, use even less electricity and get bright instantly, unlike the CFLs that take a while to warm up. 

Yes, it probably took double the time to DIY than to buy and replace. But that’s just part of the DIY fun! The return on investment here is still great. Every time I look at my new old wall light, which happens a couple of times per day, I get to silently pet myself on the back. Soon enough your whole house will become one giant source of positive reinforcement – one light fixture at a time.

Saving a few bucks is just an icing on a cake.