Chinoiserie (which dates back to the 17th century) is the European imitation of Chinese decorative styles (thankyou Wikipedia). I’ve been wanting to try this style for years now, ever since I read about Emily’s chinoiserie side table makeover. Basically, I’m just upholding the centuries-old tradition of knocking off pretty decor 😉. Come on, let’s DIY a chinoiserie lamp!
The perfect candidate for my chinoiserie experiment is my lounge room lamp.
This was a DIY project from years ago (pre-blogging). The base was originally dark green glass and I painted it with some homemade chalk paint. I really love the shape of the base and painting it white was a definite improvement. However, I didn’t realize how awful chalk paint can be to clean! The homemade chalk paint left a textured finish which seemed to attract dust like flies to a turd.
Then there was the lampshade. The lampshade had a rip in it and I’d recovered it with material that I loved at the time. However the tapered shape drove me crazy. I love a good drum shade but tapered shades irk me. Plus the lamp was broken so the shade always sat at a wonky angle. It was all just wrong on so many levels! I lived with it for years but never loved it (I’m sure there’s a country song in there somewhere).
First things first, I sanded all the rough, dusty, chalk paint as smooth as I could. I glued the light fitting part with wood glue (which was what I had on hand and amazingly it worked) so the lampshade wouldn’t tilt over anymore. Then I sprayed the lamp with glossy, white spray paint.
I painted a variety of boarders and fish scale designs. Nothing’s perfect and you can totally see the brush strokes but I just went with it. I figured if I stuffed it all up I could always paint it white again.
Meanwhile, mum stumbled across a secondhand drum shade. It was the perfect size for my lamp but the beige colour was wrong. I wanted a crisp white linen look. I tried gluing a strip of white sheet to it with watered-down mod podge (because those are the materials I had).
The butterfly clips I’d used to hold the sheet while the glue dried ended up leaving rusty marks. The sheet dried all blotchy and gross. In the end I painted it all with ceiling white. (Paint fixes everything.) I plan to cover the inside rim with ribbon to hide the jagged fabric edge so let’s just pretend I’ve done that already, okay?
I painted an H symbol on alternating sides. I’m telling myself it looks vaguely oriental.
What do you think of my DIY chinoiserie lamp? I gotta say, I love it! You can’t go wrong with blue and white. Now I’ve got itchy hands because I want to paint EVERYTHING chinoiserie style.
[Keeping it real: this vignette is set up in my bathroom. After I take photos the lamp will go back to the lounge room next to the TV. The horse and antique mirror will go back to the family room. The beautiful wooden cupboard top will be strewn with tampons and deodorant in no time. Enjoy my pretty pictures but just know that there’s normally a half-used toilet roll where the lamp is 😉]