Lamp Revamp- How to “Sprackle”…

I’ve been obsessed lately with lamps. I especially love the lamps made by Aidan Gray that are distressed and sort of chippy in old French kind of way. I’m not sure what to call this particular style of lamp, so I’ll just show you the pictures of my favorites:

Of course, these lamps are not cheap and and I simply can’t bring myself to spend $300-$600 on one trendy lamp. Lamp styles change too drastically and too quickly for that kind of money.

So, I had this lamp that I bought a couple years ago 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I’m not sure why I bought it and it’s been in my attic collecting dust for about two years. I could never find a place for it:

I decided after falling in love with the Aidan Gray lamps that I would experiment with the lamp and try a technique that I call “sprackling”. Sprackling is the combination of using a crackle medium base and an equal mixture of lightweight Spackle and paint as a top coat. When everything dries and you sand off a little of the texture, you end up with this fabulous chippy texture that looks distressed and old. This mixture can be applied as thin or thick as you want depending on your desired end result.

So how did I do it? The first thing I did was apply a crackle medium with a foam brush all over the lamp base and let it dry overnight. I do have to say that with this technique, the crackle look is fairly minimal. However, I did get a small amount of crackle and separation. The crackle medium base really paid off later in getting that chippy look when I used my wire brush to chip off and sand. Also, the crackle medium is an excellent priming base for the technique.

For my top coat layer, I used an acrylic paint in the color I wanted on my finished look with the mixed ratio of 50/50 paint- to a lightweight Spackle that I picked up at Lowes. Any acrylic paint should work just fine and if you want a chalky look and even more crackle, use flat paint instead:

The top coat mixture of paint and Spackle should be the consistency of stirred sour cream. If you want more of a crackle look and less Spackle thickness, use a flat paint and reduce your Spackle ratio to 25%.

Next, I used a large watercolor type brush and began brushing on the Spackle mixture to the lamp. I applied just enough Spackle mixture to cover the black on the lamp. I painted the mixture on with my brush and then came back over the area and stippled. Stippling is where you tap and mash the edge of your brush around and messes up the brushed look and gives it peaks and depth:

After I brushed on the Spackle mixture on one side of the lamp, I turned the lamp around and put a fan immediately on it to get the most out of my crackle base. The quicker the top coat dries, the more crackle you get. I then brushed on the Spackle mixture to the other side and this is how it looked when it was done but not dried:

The next step is that I let the lamp completely dry with the fan directly on it and alternating sides every so often. It took about 4 hours for my Spackle mixture to dry enough that I could begin to use my wire brush to “chip” away random spots.

After the lamp was dried, I used this awesome wire brush (looks just like a tooth brush) that I picked up at Lowe’s and started scrubbing random areas all the way down to the black. I had to scrub pretty hard because that Spackle mixture really gets solid but it didn’t take me long. Some areas came off in big chunks, which really added to my finished look. I also used a piece of sand paper in certain areas until I achieved my chippy/sanded look:

Ok, so I LOVED the end result after sanding and it was exactly (and more) what I wanted in my end result. However, when I put the lamp in my guest room, it sort of got lost in my cream walls. I decided that I wanted to make the lamp darker, so I quickly went over the whole lamp with a light glaze mixture of half dark brown and half black and the lamp stood out better in that space:

It’s really hard to see in the pictures but the texture on the lamp is amazing. It’s the perfect thickness and really looks like it’s old and worn. This technique would be great on old big and tall wood candlesticks and brass chandeliers! If you do considering doing this technique on metal, I think you would have to use a metal primer (in a dark color) instead of the crackle medium as a base. Lots of possibilities here!

Well that’s it for now! Have a great rest of the week and please let me know if you do try this technique. I would love to see pictures of your end result! As always, thank you SO much for your sweet comments, notes and emails, I just love your feedback!


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23 Responses to Lamp Revamp- How to “Sprackle”…

  1. Hi Cyndy, I have done a similar treatment on a lamp and altar candlesticks and I love the result. I hadn't thought of using a crackle medium so I'll give that a try next time. Your lamp turned out beautiful.

  2. Oh wow! Great idea! Thanks for sharing..I'll be trying this one!

  3. Laura M says:

    It's beautiful – and my lamps are in dire need of something!! You've got me thinking again…

  4. WobiSobi says:

    WOw this looks so awesome thank you for the tutorial. Beautiful!!

  5. Oh, wow, this is great! I've seen a couple tutorials on what to do with an ugly lampshade that I wanted to try. The only trouble was what to do with the ugly lower half – lol! Now I know. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this easy to understand tut.


  6. Erin says:

    It looks beautiful both ways! I've never heard of this technique before…great tutorial! 🙂

  7. I have admired Aidan Gray lamps for quite awhile. I even have my own DIY lamp that I painted to create a similar lamp. It's actually similar in shape to your's. I like the way the spackllng looked. I may try that next time instead of just painting and sanding. Love your lampshade too.

  8. always wanted to know how to do this…thanks for posting…Great Job!

  9. Wow, that lamp is a fabulous now! I'm looking around the house for something that I can try your technique on. Thanks for a great tute.

  10. Fabulously shaped lamp period. Love the outcome. Thank you for sharing might try it myself.
    Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD

  11. Terry says:

    Oh my do I ever love this lamp now. Great job.

  12. Love it. Thanks for the inspiration, just came over from Funky Junk to see what you have. Really great lamp.

  13. moondiva says:

    L♥ve it!!! Deborah & the furry gang in OK.

  14. Great technique, thanks!
    You lamp is lovely.

  15. Looks great. I wonder if I could do this to my ugly torch style lamp. Hmm, got me thinking…. 🙂

  16. The DIY Spot says:

    Nice technique. Saving to my favorites. I have to find somehting to try this on.

  17. Really nice job, the lamp turned out great. Thanks for sharing this technique.

  18. Robin says:

    So cute! I would love it if you would share this upcycle over at The T-Shirt Diaries (

  19. Viv says:

    wow love how you made it look new again!

  20. I LOVE this!! I would love for you to share it at my Linky Party!



  21. Gorgeous!!! And so simple to do! You have inspired my next project =o)!

  22. I have been enjoying your blog all day! I felt like it was time for me to stop and leave a comment to let you know just how wonderful I thing you blog is. I have been so inspired by so many of your wonderful projects. Thank you 😀

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