How to Paint a Lamp Base

Spray-painting is an inexpensive way to change the color of almost anything.

Transfer the look of a lamp with spray paint.Transfer the look of a lamp with spray paint.
Items that are difficult to paint with a roller and brush become easy to paint with spray paint. Spray paint comes in a multitude of colors and finishes, so if you find a lamp base you like at a flea market, it will be easy to turn that lamp into something you treasure just by changing the color.

Remove the lampshade and light bulb from the lamp and set them out of the way. Wash and thoroughly dry the base of the lamp, using soap, water and a towel. Put newspaper down on your work area. Place the lamp on the newspaper.

Cover 6 inches of the electrical cord, where it comes out of the lamp, with masking tape. Wrap any electrical parts you don't want to get paint on with newspaper, and tape down the newspaper with the masking tape. Cover the lamp switch with masking tape.

Shake the can of primer spray paint vigorously. You'll hear a ball rattling inside the can. Remove the plastic cap from the can of spray paint. Point the nozzle of the can into the air where it won't spray on anything. Press the spray button to do a test spray to make sure the primer comes out of the nozzle in a nice, even spray. Release the spray button.

Hold the can of primer 12 inches from the lamp base. Point the nozzle off to the side of the lamp base and press down on the spray button until the primer comes out of the nozzle.

Turn the nozzle toward the lamp base and slowly move your arm to make a pass across the lamp base as the primer sprays from the can, lightly misting the lamp base, keeping your arm moving. Keep moving the can past the edge of the lamp base before releasing the spray button.

Turn the lamp to spray the other side. Repeat the spraying process until you've sprayed the entire lamp base with a thin coat of primer. Allow the primer to dry.

Apply a coat of regular spray paint to the lamp base, following the steps you used for applying the primer. Allow the paint to dry and apply another light coat of paint until you've sprayed the lamp base again. Allow the paint to dry.

Things You Will Need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Spray paint primer
  • Spray paint


  • Choose spray paint that adapts to surfaces such as metal, wood, and glass.
  • Press the masking tape down securely so paint won't seep under the edges of the tape.
  • Spraying on a few light coats of paint, instead of one heavy coat, will help keep the paint from dripping or running.


  • Make sure the lamp is not plugged into an electrical outlet while you are working on it.
  • Always work in a well-ventilated area when using spray paints.

About the Author

Julie Eger lives in central Wisconsin and has been writing for eHow since May of 2009. She received a scholarship to attend the Rhinelander School of Arts in 2007 when she submitted a piece entitled "Discovering the Writer Within Me." Her story, "The Drawing of the Shoe," was voted best in class.