Monday, February 04, 2013

Lace Light Bulbs

"Cover a standard light bulb with a dollies, spray paint with silver paint. Instantly dress up a light bulb!" 

How pretty are these? And with such simple instructions it seems like it would be a fun weekend project that would add instant class to your room. However... it's not true. At least that's not what this is an image of. These are actually lamps designed to look like light bulbs - they are metal, and cut to look like lace. Originally for sale at but no longer listed or for sale. 

But CAN you take a light bulb, cover it with lace and spray paint it to get the same effect? Maybe. But you wouldn't want to use silver spray paint, because anyone who has tried to use 'metallic' spray paint can tell you - it never ever turns out looking metallic.

Looking glass on the left, Chrome on the right
Over at April Moffat Design she did a great write up on chrome spray paint vs looking glass spray paint. Price wise there is a big difference - one will cost you around $5 a can, the other one is in a much smaller can and costs over twice that much.  When looking at spray paint I know I'd be tempted to reach for the cheaper one.. but here's why you shouldn't.

Anyone who has played around with the looking glass spray paint knows just how awesome it can be, but also how fickle it is. Spray painting glass is very hard to do, which is why to use the looking glass paint they recommend you paint the INSIDE of the vase or jar. I've tried it myself and found that it rubs off very easily so keep that in mind when using it.

Another problem that could come up is that it is really hard to get lace or dollies to spray paint right. It's not impossible but it can be tricky. More times than not it can come out looked blurred, the lines smudged and the pattern lacking in areas. Taking in account that you are trying to spray paint glass and a very curved surface at that, you stand a good chance of messing this project up.

Another option that would be fun to try is to use a metallic pen designed to write on glass. It probably won't give you that true 'metal' look, but short of real metal its honestly hard to acquire such a look at home, especially on glass.


  1. I wish those lightbulb lights were still for sale!

  2. I know aren't they pretty? I tried to hunt them down but I couldn't locate them anywhere, only a few brief blog posts and the images were always credited to Plumo. I should have written and asked when they did carry them, just for a time frame.

  3. Antikythera17/7/13

    Old post is old, but I have to wonder whether there would be any danger in spray painting a lightbulb. Incandescent light bulbs get pretty hot when they run. Changing the properties of the surface of the bulb might cause heat transfer problems.

  4. Idea: Use a cheap plastic/vinyl lace tablecloth, cut carefully to fit, and hold on with spray on temporary adhesive. THAT would work, but would be dependent on finding a good lace design at the dollar store.

  5. Actually my idea is to use a light glue (you can find heat proof) and then lay the fabric lace and use a technique use to make mercury glass you use sheets of thin silver rub it onto the tacky glue and burnish then pull off the lace slowly. At least that will be my project this weekend if it works I will post it on pin. It may look a little aged but should capture the overall effect. Wish me luck

  6. Lace patterned stockings work on curved surfaces, but the pattern isn't entirely uniform--much like when you wear them--and you have to remove them after the paint has set up some so you don't smear the paint, but before it is completely dry or you will either pull the dried paint off or end up with an item glued forever inside a stocking. I've never done a light bulb with a patterned stocking, just the base of a lamp. I did once (in my teens) try gold hair mousse on a light bulb--it caught on fire--and every spray painted bulb I've ever seen looked horrible when it was on, as the light came through in patches where the paint was thinner.

  7. Tina7/8/15

    Great idea!what inspiration for a beginner like me!