“Making Do” with dated light fixtures

“Make do” – manage with the limited or inadequate means available.

Growing up without a lot of money meant that I saw my parents use, re-use, and make do with what we had. This is why I am such a compulsive crafter and innovator; whether we were short on money or time, we always managed to make the most out of what we had available.

I’ve been a bit preoccupied and in a small creative slump. I’ve been kicking around different blogging ideas and I came to a realization: I’m missing two things. One is confidence; somewhere along the line some of my confidence has wandered off. Hopefully she’s at the beach enjoying the ocean but I really could use her back here in rainy upstate NY. The other is thing I’m missing is right here in front of me – it’s all the shit I do everyday. It’s making do. That’s what I can write about.

I’m going to start writing more about what I know and what I actually do every day. I think once I get going with that, Confidence will come back from her vacation and once again take residency with me. People post about living bigger than what you currently are – dream bigger, do more, etc. While it’s great to dream as big as possible, I don’t want to overlook honoring who I am now and where I am now.  I am not a celebrity with endorsements, I don’t get paid to blog; shit, I barely get paid for the crafts I create (lol – #strugglebus on Etsy). I’m not here to necessarily motivate or inspire anyone. I’m just a normal chick living in suburbia.

I’m going to start with a project I did last summer because it was relatively easy and is a good beginner project for someone who is an aspiring DIY-er. If you’re afraid to mess something up, a small task like this is perfect because it is inexpensive and forgiving.

Theresa and I wanted to upgrade our downstairs bathroom. The focus is the extremely dated light fixtures.

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The picture on the left is the original light. Brushed faded gold base, curved glass bulb with what looks to be a frosted grape design. The shape of the fixtures and their condition was still very good – I have a hard time warranting tossing or replacing something if it is still usable. This is why I opted to change their appearance as opposed to replace – a/k/a “make do”.

You can find these fixtures still at your local Lowes or Home Depot for about $10 a piece, so if you were to try this and mess it up, you aren’t wasting a ton of money.


These are the materials I used to create the look of the light fixture on the right (the only thing that is missing is a clear coat spray sealer). I am in love with the look of oil rubbed bronze – there is a lot of that around my house now. It’s rich, it’s understated, it’s classy.

I removed the light fixtures, removed the glass and the bulb, and sprayed the gold parts (including the bolts) with the oil rubbed bronze spray paint. I really love the Rust-oleum spray because the nozzles aren’t super concentrated; it has a really nice, even spray to it. After they dried and I made sure the paint was even, I sprayed them with a clear coat.

So, the glass. I really have no idea who thought frosted grapes would be an amazing design but the fact that you can still find them now tells me that someone disagrees with me. I bought the silver metallic paint by Craft Smart at Michael’s and, after washing the glass and letting it dry thoroughly, I used the foam brush and sponged it on. I did not “paint” or “wipe” – I dabbed it on like the sponge it is. After putting a layer on, I brought it to well-lit window to see if I had any uneven spots and then I dabbed some more. This also got a spray of clear coat sealer because the last thing I want to see is a scratch should it comes in contact with something.

Why did I dab it on instead of painting or spraying? The frosted decoration on the glass had a texture to it. If I had sprayed something overtop of it or simply painted it, the texture would have come through. By dabbing/sponging the paint on, I created another texture that I could take evenly through the entire glass bulb. I hid it and you can’t tell what the original design even was.

Reassemble and TA-DA ~ cheap lights looking all sorts of stylish and classy.

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(I also sprayed the mirror with the oil rubbed bronze.)

I really love small projects like this because it’s just so cool to see what can be done with what I already have with just some paint and some time. That’s making do instead of throwing out and buying new.

To see my other glass projects, visit my Etsy Shop HERE – Weird Glass Art Studio.

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