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Frugal Fixes – entrance lights

June 27, 2009

Chers Amis,

What a difference a little elbow grease and a six dollar can of paint can make!  As part of my summer home improvement mission I have been looking for projects around the house that can be done frugally and make a big difference. Project #1the garden. This has been removing ‘floral clutter’, cleaning out beds, laying fresh pine straw and judiciously planting shade tolerant perennials. Project #2 – refreshing the front porch entry way with a resurrected stained glass window.  Project #3 – revitalizing the front porch and back deck entrance lights.Dh and I have been looking at new lights and found several styles that we love – just not their price tags so into our basket went one can Rustoleum Rust preventive Hammered Black spray-paint This was quick and fun so if you have ugly outdoor lights, perhaps adorned with a few cobwebs like mine, here are step by easy step instructions on how to improve your entry way.

#1 – Remove the badly tarnished offenders.  REMEMBER to turn off the electricity before starting. If you don’t this will be the painful end of said effort. Once removed from the wall, disassemble the pieces and place on a work table.  It is helpful to have a small bowl or cup to collect the screws or screw covers. These are the most important pieces!

#2 – Brush off as much dust and crust as possible.  If your lamps have rust, sand or rub with steel wool.  Mine were just dirty and corroded so after a dusting into a soapy bath they went.  The pieces that held the light bulb and wiring were cleaned with a wet cloth.  Do not allow water to enter the electric areas!

#3 – Lightly dry off pieces with a towel and set in the sun to finish drying completely.

#4 – Lay out plenty of newspaper on a flat outdoor area.  Place pieces on the paper.  You will need to cover any screw threads  on any piece with tape. You do NOT want paint clogging them up.  Also tape up any loose wires and cover the socket well.  I laid out a large piece of painters tape and placed the little round screw covers hole side down on the tape.  That way they did not roll away during the painting process. Follow the instructions on your chosen paint and spray! I gave everything two coats. This is the fun part, just don’t breathe deeply and paint in a well-ventilated area!

Make sure that you paint all surfaces that will be visible.  The first time I painted the tops I decided not to paint the undersides of the ‘cupolas’ or the lids.  I thought that they would be hidden but forgot that most lamps are mounted above eye-level so interior undersides do matter. A quick corrective spray and dry later – they were ready to reassemble.

#5 –  Put the pieces back together, screw in a new light bulb (We went with a flame shaped), turn the electricity off again to avoid shock, re-attache wiring, mount, and restart electricity. Voila!A new look that doesn’t break the budget.  Next? Stay tuned.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn permalink
    June 27, 2009 1:38 pm

    You left out one thing…how did you find a new piece to add to the bottom of the fixture?

  2. June 27, 2009 3:18 pm

    Carolyn, You get the award for most observant reader :-)! Actually the ‘before’ is a lamp from the back deck and the ‘after’ is from the front porch. I forgot to take a before of the front porch light :-(. They are virtually identical except for the little bottom feature. Good eyes!

  3. June 27, 2009 8:18 pm

    Bonjour Marjorie! Quelle bonne idée!! I say hooorah for spray paint! I have bought bargain fixtures for my house that were a strange color and painted them black…instant fix! Your porch looks lovely! I was reading your skink story. I have skinks in my junipers and didn’t know they lay eggs like that…although I should have realized that’s where they come from! lol Amazing! Thanks for the tip on the book! I will find it for my grandson. Bon weekend!…Debbie

  4. Carolyn permalink
    July 3, 2009 12:15 am

    Thanks for the info! We have the exact entry way light and I think I have a project ahead of me!

  5. July 4, 2009 8:28 pm

    i love that collage you made. i am a sucker for detailed pictures of things like light fixtures. door knobs. buttons, etc.
    and your pictures, as always, are so good for the soul, marjorie.

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