John Went For A Run…

… and I painted something behind his back. Haha. Let me explain. We usually have a “full agreement” agreement when it comes to decor (which means we can’t buy or change a thing unless we’re both totally on board, which keeps us from holding something against another person for years like a recliner that you hate but the hubs just had to have, etc). But I tend to bend the rules when it comes to things that can be undone if John doesn’t like them. I figure in that case, since it’s 100% reversible, and I’d be the one spending the time reversing it if John didn’t agree with my choice, that I don’t have much to lose except for the time it takes to do and undo something. Which is nothing compared to the high I get from doing it while he’s gone. Haha. And the last time I did something without asking first (which admittedly wouldn’t have been the easiest thing to undo, but since our other two bathrooms were backsplashless I was confident he’d be on board) it worked out swimmingly as Mr Petersik kissed my cheek and told me I was a home improvement goddess. Ok so I made up that last part. He probably smirked and agreed that what I did “wasn’t bad” and only admitted he loved it hours later after getting used to the idea that I took a crowbar to the walls again. But anyway, back to what I painted.

I had grabbed a little jar of Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic paint in Cobalt Turquoise at Michael’s after mumbling something about wanting to get back to painting (I had a 50% coupon so it came to $7 and some change).

Didn’t seem to catch John’s interest at the time. But then again, he didn’t know that I had plans to paint a light fixture of ours. Yes, while sitting on The American Dream (aka: Karl, our new much-loved sectional) the other night, my eyes kept wandering away from the “Real” Housewives of Beverly Hills and over to the brass and glass pendant light over the table in the corner of the room.

Granted, the lighting situation in the living room is extremely awkward (that’s the only light fixture in the entire room and it’s essentially in the corner). So we’ll definitely be bringing in some additional light sources as the space evolves, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to “tweak” the pendant we already have. Just for fun. Especially for cheap. So when John ducked out for a run while Clara was down for her morning nap, I slinked off to get my little jar of Cobalt Turquoise acrylic paint. And I squirted a little dab of it onto a plate and watered it down a bit thanks to a nearby cup of water.

Then I just turned off the light switch, removed the big round light bulb (so I could get to the entire inside of the glass shade with my sponge brush) and brushed on some of the watered down turquoise acrylic paint all over the inside of the shade. I used vertical stripes of slightly watered down paint, going with the vertical veins in the light, which left me with a nice even application.

Surprisingly, it began to look like a turquoise glass shade with a nice soft effect – since I painted the inside of the shade instead of the outside, which would probably have looked a lot harsher and less convincing. See how diffused and subtle it started to look from the outside of the shade?

And once it was all painted (before John stumbled in all sweaty and surprised) I was left with this:

It’s not perfect, but I think that’s part of the charm. And it’s 100% removable, which is nice too (scrubbing it down with a sponge is all it would take to undo it if the mood strikes). So it’s renter friendly.

Admittedly this could have been a disaster. Well, not a permanent one since I knew it was easy enough to undo, but going into it I didn’t really know if the paint would bead up and drip down the glass shade (it probably would have if I watered it down too much) or if it would look streaky, heavy, and completely unconvincing (it probably would have if I hadn’t watered it down at all). Happily, it stayed right in place and dried nice and evenly, for a surprisingly believable colored glass effect. It’s a little varied looking, but it’s kind of a soft vintage effect. Honestly, when the light’s on even an Expert Light Studier (that’s a job right?) would have a hard time knowing that the color was painted on. It looks just like an old turquoise glass shade.

Oh and I gave it a few hours of drying time before putting the bulb back in and turning it on, just so the thin layer of slightly watered down paint had time to “cure.” I had vague worries of the paint somehow heating up and melting/dripping all over the place when the light was on, but it was on for about ten hours straight yesterday (I decided to “test it” before I blogged about it for obvious reasons) and no dripping or streaking has occurred at all.

Looks like it’s there for the long haul. And by long haul I mean until we replace that fixture and rectify the lighting scenario in that room as a whole. And guess what? Hubs likes it! Especially when the light’s on and it’s all soft and sweet, like a glowing turquoise beacon of love. Ok, that’s going too far, but he really does like it.

I did briefly wonder if it posed any kind of heat hazard, but I figure since paper lampshades are a common item, and they don’t actually catch fire, dried paint on a pendant that doesn’t actually touch the bulb shouldn’t be an issue. Oh and one tip to anyone crazy enough to follow suit would be to move any furniture that’s under your pendant (or toss down a drop cloth or painting sheet) because I did notice tiny turquoise splatters all over the table (which thankfully was painted and poly’d, so they wiped right off).

Now all I have to do is tackle that dated brass chain for a full light makeover (some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint might look nice once we add some oil-rubbed brozne curtain rods above the window and the sliders with some bright punchy curtains). Sure we might swap it out later, but I’m already enjoying the view a lot more in the meantime. Plus I just get a rise out of keeping John on his toes. Next time he goes for a run who knows what I’ll do. Haha. Anyone else have any while-the-hubs-was-out adventures to share? Come on, I can’t be the only one.


  1. says

    Hilarious! Oh and I think we have the same exact light fixture. We already replaced ours only now you are giving me ideas…maybe I should try to make it over and put it somewhere else in the house. Love that you did it while the hubs was out.

  2. says

    That looks really nice – what a fun idea! Do you think it would be possible to do this on a fixture that’s mounted to the ceiling? We still have some awesome looking builder grade ceiling fixtures. You know, the ones where the “lamp shade” is just stuck like a half circle on the ceiling. (that’s a great description, I know…) Anyways, think that would work or not because it would be closed in tight to the bulb?

    • says

      Hmm, I’m honestly not sure. It doesn’t get any ventilation so I worry it might get hot and start to run or drip. Hmm. Maybe test it out with a big drop cloth under it to ensure it doesn’t drip onto the floor for a few days? Especially if it’s carpeted. And keep a close eye on it in case it reacts in some way. Obviously ensuring that the paint you use isn’t flammable and is fully dry before turning on the light would be your safest bet. Safety first! Good luck.


    • says

      Acrylic-based paint won’t heat up and turn to liquid, but will just continue to dry and cure. I think you mentioned before about how you let extra paint dry out in the trays and then just peel it out. Same thing will happen here, although since the paint is a thin coat and watered down, I don’t think it will begin to peel on its own.

    • jeanie says

      T & Sherry:
      I have painted 5 old brass ceiling fans w/ 4 light globe fixtures below w/flat black paint. I left the light fixture in place, stood on a ladder, taped around the ceiling fixture & painted everything that was bright brass. I was shocked that it covered but it looked fine. I removed the old-fashioned fluted glass globes & painted the brass sections that the globes screw into & replaced w/ simple frosted ones. Since the painted surfaces don’t need to be durable (only dusted) it has worked perfectly. It updated 5 rooms for very little cash.

  3. Kristy says

    Love that color blue! I have a habit of moving furniture and completely changing the layout of a room when left on my own for the night.

  4. KathyG says

    In the spring/summer, it’s common for hub to come home and find me outside with a shovel in my hand, starting something that he has to finish! LOL Now, anytime I say “I have an idea”, he says..”first you dig a hole…”

  5. Bridget says

    A couple months ago I rearranged the living room furniture while hubby was mowing the lawn. He came back in and was first surprised and then all “how did you even do that?” Ha! And he liked it :) So satisfying!

    • says

      Jennifer- I’m with you! Sherry did a fab job, but I tend to stick to the boring stuff while the hubs is gone. Although, it does happen to be a good time to work on crafty, little gifts for him if they need to be done in secret :)

  6. says

    My while the boy’s away the girlfriend shall play antics include:

    1. Buying 2 3 draw bedside tables and painting them charcoal for our modern meets regency theme bedroom which had previously been without

    2. creating a Valentine’s Day countdown calendar that’s like a Christmas/Advent calendar but with love/couple themed presents

    3. Painting our white walls a deep french grey. The reaction from that one was great, I don’t think he trusts me to be alone in the house for longer than 10 minutes now :)

  7. lisa says

    Looks very pretty. I know they sell paints that are especially for glass….Glass paint. I’ve used them before and they are so nice and see through. But, this looks like it worked well!

  8. Julie G. says

    I love how the light turned out and the chain would look fantastic in oil rubbed bronze for contrast!

    I am famous for doing this when my husband is out – very dangerous when you work from home. I’ll only attempt a project that I’m sure he would love the outcome of but can’t quite visualize beforehand. The last was whitewashing our fireplace which was the most “bang for your buck project” we’ve done. I just mixed 1/ 2 white paint we already had on hand with 1/2 water, applied with a brush and then rubbed off with a towel so the texture of the brick would still show. He loved it!

  9. Kimberly says

    Looks great!

    Now for something completely different! Are ya’ll going to continue Burger’s blog or has he retired? I always enjoyed the fun photos and clever comments!

    Take Care!

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