DIY Pottery Lamp

Have you wondered how to make a DIY pottery table lamp? I walk you through the steps using a thrifted lamp and some basic supplies.

A quick note that this post includes affiliate links and I will receive a commission on items you purchase but at no additional cost to you. I am presenting you with my own opinion and honest review of the information provided. If you want to read the entire disclosure statement, please click HERE.

If you have been following along, you will remember that last week I shared with you DIY Painted Pottery vases. I showed you two different techniques you could use to age pottery. Today’s post is an extension of that previous post but this time it involves transforming a lamp! Pottery style lamps have been increasingly popular in the last couple of years and the price tag reflects it. So, I wanted to show you how you could make your own pottery lamp with a few basic supplies and steps.

DIY Pottery Lamp

As with any project, the first thing we need to do is gather our supplies. There is nothing worse than getting half way through a project only to realize you have to run out and get some supplies. Talk about a disruption in the creative flow! Plus, I don’t know about you, but I have found that there is NEVER EVER a “quick trip” to Home Depot or Lowes. No sir. By the time I get out of those places, half my day is gone.

All that is to say, let’s make sure we have our supplies ready before we start our project. You will need the following:

  • A thrifted chunky base lamp – made with clay or plaster.
  • Container of joint compound
  • Sandpaper 120 grit
  • MMS Milk Paint in any color you choose
  • Paint brush
  • Small container to mix paint
  • Nitrile gloves or disposable gloves
  • Painters tape
  • Something to protect your work surface

Step 1- Clean and Prep

As I was looking for antique and vintage treasures the other day, I came across a lamp.

Brown clay lamp before

Admittedly, it was not exactly stunning. It needed a little help. However, if I squinted enough, I could see that it had potential. Another bonus – it was $5. I thought – heck for $5, I can’t go wrong. So I put it in the cart.

I wanted to give the base a new look that gave it a little more sophistication and took it out of the 1980s. The first thing I did after cleaning the lamp was tape off the neck and cord using painters tape.

Then, I covered my work surface in preparation for step 2.

Step 2 – Apply Joint Compound

I wanted a more natural looking base that had texture and was a lighter color. I liked the general shape of the lamp base but I didn’t like the color or look of the existing finish. So I decided to cover the existing lamp base with joint compound.

Joint compound

Joint compound is ridiculously affordable. You can usually buy a generous 32 ounce container for around $20. I have linked some sources for you at the end of this post.

applying joint compound to the lamp base

At first, I tired to use a putty knife to apply the joint compound but I found that it was much easier to simply wear a pair of nitrile gloves and apply the joint compound to the lamp base with my hands. Here is TIP – I recommend wearing gloves when you apply the joint compound because if you don’t, your skin will dry out quickly.

Step 3- Let it Dry

If you are impatient like me, this is the most difficult step. Once your lamp base is completely covered with joint compound, it will need at least 24 hours to dry. I know. It’s like torture. Just trust me. Let it dry.

Step 4- Sanding

The following day, take the lamp base outside and use your 120 grit sandpaper to sand down any ridges or high spots. Keep sanding until you get a texture, consistency and “look” that you like. Here is another TIP – make sure you sand the lamp base outside because the dust from the joint compound makes a terrible mess.

Sanding lamp outside

Step 5 – Paint the Lamp Base

I used MMS Milk Paint in the color Farmhouse White to paint the base of the lamp. I wanted a warm white color which is why I chose Farmhouse White. However, I think it would also look fabulous painted in an almost black color known as Typewriter.

As most of you know, I have recently collaborated with the MMS Milk Paint company. If you purchase any milk paint from the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this little business of mine

MMS Milk Paint SLH 10% off

If you use THIS LINK to purchase MMS Milk Paint, use the code SLH10OFF to save 10% on your purchase.

Painting the lamp base with MMS Milk Paint

Although I probably could have gotten away with only one coat of paint, I decided to give the lamp two coats of paint.

Step 6- Add A Lamp Shade

If your lamp came without a lamp shade or if the existing lamp shade needs to be replaced, now is the time to find one. Here is another TIP – when shopping for lamp shades, I usually take the lamp with me into the store to ensure a good fit. Yes, I look like a crazy lady walking through a big box store carrying a lamp, most likely with an electric cord trailing behind me. Nonetheless, I almost always have the best success in finding a lamp shade that fits correctly and looks good when I take the lamp into the store with me. It’s pretty much impossible to order a lamp shade online.

Step 7 – Enjoy your lamp

Hooray! At this point you should have a fabulous “new” lamp that looks great.

Here are some photos of the lamp after it was transformed.

DIY Pottery Lamp

Here is another photo with the light on.

DIY Pottery Lamp 2

I am happy with how the texture turned out and I like the new color much more. For now, this lamp is in our front entry way.

DIY Pottery Lamp 3

Here is one final photo of the lamp with the light off.

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Some readers have expressed to me that they wish I would share with them items that are similar to those I create. Although many of you enjoy DIYs and various projects, others have expressed a desire to see if there was something similar available for purchase. Well, I hear you. Below you will find some similar style lamps that you can simply purchase. I included some Pottery Barn lamps as well as a number of similar style lamps that are more reasonably priced. (As an aside, my $5 lamp suddenly seems like a bargain.)


Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I hope you found some inspiration. If you embark upon a lamp makeover using joint compound and MMS milk paint, I hope you send me a photo of the final result.

If you liked the pine dresser shown in the photo about you can read about it here:

Waxed Pine Dresser

Waxed Pine Dresser

If you want to learn about how I aged and painted some pottery vases you can read about it here:

DIY Painted Pottery

DIY Painted Pottery

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  1. The finished lamp looks so luxurious ; and yet your project is so affordable and DIY friendly. I love this project! I wish my local thrift store was open today; I need to get thrifting and creating! Thanks for the instructions and inspiration!

    1. If you find a lamp to DIY – I hope you share a photo of the transformation with me!! I am glad you feel inspired!

    1. It’s always difficult to pass up a good bargain! Thank you for commenting Rachel. I always appreciate your feedback.

  2. Such a great way to upcycle this lamp, Anna! It doesn’t even look like the same piece – that is so cool. I can’t believe you got it for such a steal too. I definitely need to come shopping with you. Loving and pinning – big hugs, CoCo

  3. I love your outcome! All of the pieces look amazing! Definitely worth the try to diy. For those who prefer to buy, you might consider looking at discount stores like TJmaxx, Marshall’s and even Dollar general. I often see beautiful lamps there at reasonable prices. $25 – $50 usually. Not as cheap as a diy but definitely within a budget.

    1. Hi Texas Coco – Thanks for your comment. Yes! Definitely give it a try! Great suggestion with also recommending TJ Maxx, Marshalls and other discount stores.

    2. Thank you so much for commenting and yes those other discount stores are a good place to buy lamps at a reasonable price. Thanks for sharing that tip!

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