Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ballard Designs knockoff

We have been living in this house for 7 years, and for all of those years I have HATED the light fixture above my vanity mirror in my bathroom. Okay, hated might be a bit strong of a word. I did like that it provided enough light for me to see well enough to pluck and to remind me that I needed to wash away that gray. However, the light fixture itself is ugly. I thought that I would need an electrician to replace it. I also thought that one that I liked would cost a small fortune. I was wrong on both accounts. The one pictured is in the kid's bathroom. It's also our guest bathroom, which means it needs to be next on the to do list, but, I'm having fun redoing my boudoir. So, it's just gonna have to wait. 

The light fixture I wanted was in the Ballard designs catalog for $100. After years of wanting it, my mind inflated the price to $300. 
Ballard designs Vanity Lighting (It's the one at the top)

Whatever. It was still out of my budget. Being the savvy thrift store shopper that I am, I thought I could find one that I was happy with. And then, after looking through a few blogs, I discovered that spray paint is for more than tagging! There are spray paints that mimic metal in very convincing ways! I figured I could get the same look for a lot less, and so my mission began by looking for a light fixture with the same bones. I found a brass one (yuck) for $10 at Goodwill. Praying that there was nothing wrong with it, I brought it home. I began by pulling out (and buying) some crafting supplies:
Necklace Memory wire
26 gauge wire
Some crystal beads
Plastic leaves
Gorilla super glue
Aluminum foil
Krylon white primer spray paint
Rust-oleum Hammered finish  bronze spray paint
Wire cutters

 The fixture I liked had vines of leaves with crystal "buds" at the end. So I started by making those. I straightened out the memory wire and bent it into half, and then added loops at the ends by wrapping it around the pliers. Next, the 26 gauge wire was wrapped starting at one end, adding some plastic leaves, between each bend and then ending at the other end of the memory wire. This stem was attached to the light fixture with more 26 gauge wire and glued into place with the Gorilla Super glue.

How do you like that lovely brassy finish? 
 Next, I wrapped the shades in aluminum foil, because they wouldn't come off. If they had come off, I would have just stuffed some paper into the light sockets to protect them from being painted. 

 A nice coat of Primer came next. After reading the label of the hammered bronze paint, I could have skipped t his step, but, I wanted to make sure that the paint would stick to the plastic leaves.

 Once that was dry, I applied two coats of the rust-oleum hammered bronze spray paint. And impatiently waited for it to dry. 

Once the paint was dry, I removed the aluminum foil and glued the crystal beads to the ends of the wires. 
Then, all I had to do was put it up. Make sure you turn off the power at the breaker box. This didn't make my kids too happy, since I didn't know which switch went to which room, I pretty much turned them all off. When the "power went out" they had a fit. Bwahahahahaha. It's fun to wield that much power.  When I'd finished, there were some scratches where the fixture had rested on the mirror while I wrestled with it. Those shades are HEAVY! A little paint sprayed into a bowl , and applied with a disposable paint brush fixed those little problem areas. Then I prayed and held my breath as I turned the power back on and Hallelujah! The fixture worked, and looked beautiful in my bathroom. Now I just have to wait for the tax returns to come in so that I can paint the bathroom. 


  1. Awesome! Love it!

  2. So gorgeous! I've been loving the same Ballard Designs light fixture for a looooong time and you did a fantastic job at replicating the look. Bravo!!