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How to Repurpose a Lamp: Baking Soda and Paint

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

I used to think that once something became outdated or did not match my style anymore that I needed to replace the item with something new. That was my exact plan for this lamp; out with the old and in with new. While the lamp is minimal and modern (which I love), I did not think the brushed nickel accents matched our new bedroom decor. I also felt like the clear base made the lamp get lost in the wall rather than standing out as its own entity.

However, I recently came across two things that made me realize I could salvage the lamp without purchasing a new one: Rub n Buff and baking soda+paint. Rub n Buff was introduced to me as I watched someone take a bright yellow mirror to an antique gold, while the baking soda+paint combination has been used quite often to repurpose old vases. I had paint and baking soda on hand, so all I had to do was order the Rub n Buff! Now not everyone may have a lamp similar to mine, but you can use the below steps to transform any vase, lamp or metal hardware without having to spend more than $20.




  1. Before completing any of the below steps we recommend covering the surface you are going to be working on with a tarp or some sort of protection as the Rub n Buff is not super easy to remove

  2. Start by removing the shade from the base and unscrewing any hardware that may be on top of your shade

  3. Use painters tape to tape around any parts of the shade that may come into contact with an area where you are going to use the Rub n Buff

  4. Squeeze a small drop of the Rub n Buff onto your finger and spread it evenly over the exposed metal wiring of the shade. A little goes A LONG way with Rub n Buff, so it is better to start with a small drop.

  5. Make sure you have removed the bulb and the lamp is not plugged in before completing the next step

  6. Once again squeeze a small amount of Rub n Buff onto your finger and evenly spread it along any exposed metal on the base of the lamp

  7. Should you need a second coat wait 24hrs for the Rub n Buff to completely dry, otherwise if you attempt to put a second coat on too soon it will actually rub away the previous layer


  1. I pride myself in having a pretty stead hand, so I did not use painters tape to protect my newly gold lamp base. If you do not trust your painting skills I recommend allowing the Rub n Buff to dry for 24hrs and then applying painters tape over any area which you do not wish to paint over

  2. For the baking soda+paint mixture combine 1/2 cup of paint with 1/2 tsp of baking soda in a bowl and mixed it thoroughly. The consistency will be thicker than cake batter. The more baking soda you add, the thicker the mixture will be, which will give more texture to your lamp

  3. Use a small paint brush and frame out the top and bottom of the base. The small brush is better to use here because it offers more control

  4. Use the larger paint brush to fill in the rest of the middle portion of the lamp

  5. The baking soda+paint mixture takes longer to dry, so to be safe wait 24hrs before applying a second coat should you need one

  6. After everything is dry, re-assemble your lamp and enjoy your repurposed lamp that looks brand new!


Here are a few of my favorite lamps should you wish to skip the repurposing and purchase something new: West Elm, West Elm, Wayfair, Pottery Barn

Check out our Master Bedroom page for more sources seen in the photos!


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