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My greenhouse, with its curved walls, really had the potential to be so much more than a utilitarian workspace – more interesting and more charming. It just needed the right accessories, lighting being high on the list. And these lights really delivered.
Now Dan is at it again. Only this time, he’s bringing old-world charm to another workspace with loads of potential: His 1908 garage. And he’s doing it with a vintage-inspired barn light that he made himself.
Today, he has graciously agreed to be my guest writer and share how he did it. Here is his story:
A boring plastic light socket and curly CFL bulb mounted to a plastic electrical box in an otherwise vintage 1908 garage. Sure it’s just a garage, but there’s no reason it has to look bad.
I saw a vintage-looking barn light in a lighting catalog, but I wasn’t too fond of the nearly $300 price tag.
So, figuring I could do better, I picked up an aluminum work light at a local hardware store for $12. It had a high-quality thick electrical cord and porcelain socket.
After taking the light apart, I gave the inside of the aluminum shade a coat of the white spray paint, and it turned out looking like antique white enamel. Just the look I was hoping for.
Once that dried I gave the outside of the shade and the socket a coat of the black paint. The black paint would be a base coat for the Modern Masters Metal Effects iron paint I planned to use.
Fun Fact: Paint fumes can cause brain damage and death.
I like my brain cells and plan to keep them. When undertaking a project like this, I am always careful to read, understand and follow all safety precautions.
So back to the project: When the black base coat dried, I painted the outside of the shade and socket with the Metal Effect iron paint. It goes on pretty thick, so just one coat was enough.
After that dried, I sprayed on the rust activator. The iron paint has real iron in it and the rust activator causes the iron to rust, so I watched the overspray when applying the activator and made sure not to get it on anything else that could rust, like any tools I had laying nearby.
After a few days, the final result turned out looking more authentic than the patina on the fixture I saw in the catalog.
After painting the blue plastic electrical box with a textured black paint I had left over from another project, I swapped out the CFL and socket with the brown outlet and cover plate.
Now my garage looks less utilitarian and more vintage. So the hunt begins for some antique tools to hang on the walls to complete the look!
A pretty imaginative project, and I thank Dan for sharing it with us. This ruggedly handsome light looks like it’s been around for years, and it really adds to the magic of his old-world garage.
Let’s have another look at the before and after.
Now remember, this post is for entertainment only. I call my brother “The Mad Scientist” for a reason, and any attempts to copy his work are at your own peril.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out Dan’s recent guest post about his beautiful DIY Garage Rebuild, which he did on a budget using reclaimed materials!
- HDX 10.5 in. Heavy Duty Heat Lamp (found in big box hardware stores)
- Rust-Oleum High Heat Black Semi Gloss Spray Paint
- Rust-Oleum High Heat White Enamel Spray Paint
- Modern Masters Metal Effects Iron Paint (also available in copper and bronze. Be sure to specify when ordering)
- Modern Masters Metal Effects Rust Activator
Handmade barn lights come in so many fun variations. The possibilities are endless. Check out these and many others on Etsy.
Affiliate links used.
Dan’s other projects:
- Rustic Greenhouse Lights from a Mad Scientist
- Trapped in Time: How a Couple Rescued their Dining Room
- Dan’s DIY Garage Rebuild
- He also built the perfect corner cabinet for us during our Laundry Room Remodel
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