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DIY Milk Glass Lamp Makeover

A project that I’ve been wanting to complete for a long while is to makeover a milk glass lamp that belonged to my great-great aunt. I finally completed this project and I’m thrilled with the end result!

Milk Glass Lamp Makeover

What spurred me into action to complete this project was joining the Thrifty Style Team hosted by Julie of Redhead Can Decorate.

Thrifty Style Team Graphic

I am thrilled to join this talented team who share thrifty projects on the second Friday of each month. You’ll find links to all of the projects shared at the end of this post.

DIY Milk Glass Lamp Makeover

My mother passed this lamp along to me years ago and it has been patiently sitting on a shelf in my basement waiting for a makeover.

This lamp originally belonged to my Great-Great Aunt Fannie who raised my grandmother. My mother recalls that I used this lamp in my childhood bedroom but I have no memory of it.

Milk Glass Lamp Before the Makeover

The lamp was in good condition other than being dirty and the gold parts had lost their luster.

Milk Glass Lamp Before Makeover

The lamp still worked and it was only missing its shade.

Milk Glass Lamp Before Makeover

I decided to rewire it for safety since the wiring appeared to be original.

Milk Glass Lamp Before Makeover

Making Over the Lamp

I headed to the hardware store to buy a switch, lamp cord, and gold spray paint.

Lamp parts and Rust-oleum gold spray paint

The lamp came with me to the hardware store so that I could shop for shades while I was there.

I didn’t find a shade at the hardware store, so I headed downtown to McCraw’s, the best place in Lynchburg to find a lampshade. I found exactly what I wanted at McCraw’s and was soon home working on this project.

The first step for this project was to take the lamp apart. To do this, I removed the brass screws from the plug and pulled the plug off.

Taking the Plug off of a vintage lamp

I then loosened the socket and pulled the lamp cord all the way through the lamp. The cord was removed from the socket by loosening the screws.

If you need a lamp rewiring tutorial, check out this post with step-by-step instructions.

The lamp pieces were threaded on a rod, so the next step was to remove each piece from the rod.

Milk Glass Lamp Parts

I discovered that this lamp was made in Japan after I took it apart.

Made in Japan Milk Glass Lamp

The milk glass was cleaned with spray cleaner and an old toothbrush.

Here you can see what a difference a little elbow grease made.

Milk Glass Lamp Makeover - One part of the lamp cleaned and the other not cleaned

Soon both pieces were clean and looking pretty.

Vintage Milk Glass Lamp Pieces

The lamp parts got a coat of gold spray paint.

Lamp parts spray painted with gold paint

I purchased a new socket just in case but hoped that I could use the old socket to save a bit of money.

I rewired the lamp using the old socket but the switch wouldn’t work correctly.

Rewiring a lamp

I was then glad that I had bought a socket just in case.

After the lamp was rewired, I put the harp, lampshade, and finial on and this old lady was ready to be enjoyed again.

Milk Glass Lamp – After the Makeover

I am thrilled with the end result of this makeover.

Since this lamp originally belonged to my great-great aunt, I displayed a picture of her beside the lamp along with some of her jewelry in a milk glass ashtray.

Milk Glass Lamp Makeover

Aunt Fannie was a milliner and made her hat and most likely her dress.

My great-great Aunt Fannie Dodenhoff

I love the gold lamp parts combined with the white hobnail milk glass.

Milk Glass lamp makeover

This lamp will be used at our lake house either in my mom’s bedroom or in the under-construction basement.

Milk Glass Lamp Makeover

I love restoring old lamps and have worked on several throughout the years. One was even another milk glass lamp.

I rescued this one from a dumpster and have used it in our family room ever since.

This 1960’s lamp from Goodwill is in use in our lake house master bedroom.

I found this lamp in a trash pile and now it is in our lake house family room.

The next time you see a lamp that you like at a thrift shop or at a yard sale, give it a makeover and enjoy using it in your home.

Milk Glass Lamp Makeover

More Thrifty Projects to Enjoy

Now it’s time to enjoy the projects that the rest of the Thrifty Style Team is sharing today. I am looking forward to enjoying each of the ideas shared.

14 Thrifty Home Decorating Shockers


  1. Paula, I love the little vignette you have on that table with your Great Aunt’s picture and her lamp!! Number one, that picture of her is absolutely beautiful and to have her lamp and jewelry to go with it are perfect memoirs of her! The new lamp shade really compliments the lamp and looks so feminine as she does in her picture. Bet you wish you’d known her! And, I took the time to check out your lamp re-do’s and every one is a keeper. I, too have some lamps I have picked up and I think I’ll just clean them up and get new shades. They have a floral design which is so pretty and I haven’t been able to bring myself to paint them, so for now, I’ll clean and get the shades!!

    1. Thank you so much, Karolyn! I have a very faint memory of visiting my aunt long ago. I remember that she had a green refrigerator with the freezer at the bottom and I remember sitting in one of her bedrooms. Funny thing is the furniture that was in that bedroom is now in mine!

      I starting thinking about the lamps in my house and I realized that every single one of them is old. I’ve never purchased a new lamp for this house!

      Good luck with your lamp makeovers!


    1. Thank you, Beth! I remember that my grandmother had a milk glass lidded chicken dish. Now I’m wondering who inherited it!


    1. I knew I had to rewire the lamp and luckily it was very easy to use. Thank you so much for your nice compliment.


  2. This looks amazing, Paula! I love milk glass lamps. I had a pole lamp that I inherited from my grandma, but had to ‘let it go’ to a friend, as it didn’t work in MWA (it wouldn’t fit!)

    Anyways… pinned, and the gold looks fabulous, too!

  3. Hi Paula. I enjoyed your post! And now I’m wondering what sort of treasures I’ve tossed over the years because I thought something was to far gone to keep? Never thought to actually repaint, or even REMOVE paint. I figured if it was to dirty, it was a goner. Lol. Now I know different. You’ve inspired me to start transforming some of my family’s old stuff. Wish me luck!

  4. I used to have a very similar lamp in my childhood bedroom. It looks so pretty cleaned up and painted gold! Your great-great-aunt would be pleased to see it in use again! Pinned

    1. Thank you, Marie! I think that Aunt Fannie just might be looking down very pleased seeing her lamp being used again.


  5. I have several vintage lamps that need to be rewired. Thanks for including the link to your tutorial. Your milk glass lamp looks like new! I love how you styled it next to your great aunt’s photo and jewelry. It’s just lovely, Paula!

  6. What an amazing transformation of your lamp! It’s so beautiful. And that you have history with it makes it even more special. I must confess that I usually bypass lamps that look in need of a lot of TLC. But now I see it’s far easier to do a makeover than I had previously thought. Not sure about rewiring but if and when I need to I know where to come. Thanks for sharing. Pinned.

    1. I was sure that I couldn’t rewire something but once my husband showed me how, I realized that it wasn’t terribly complicated. I still get him to assist me to make sure that it is done correctly.


      1. Thank you so much, Kim! I love milk glass and wish I had collected bunches of it in the 80s and 90s when it was super cheap.


  7. As I am a milk glass addict, I really appreciated your lovely makeover! I realized that my first milk glass was 2 hurricane lamps purchased with S&H green stamps when I was a kid. The shades had pink roses painted on them–pink roses are still my favorites! I also enjoyed reading about your other lamp makeovers!

  8. You really brought that lamp back to life! Looks so pretty, and what a special piece to have to remind you of your family history. My MIL gave me a lamp she got when she was first married 50+ yrs ago and it’s in my daughter’s room. I think you inspired me to revive it.

  9. The lamp looks amazing. I love that you placed a photo of your great aunt & some of her jewelry next to it. So special to have these memories of her.

  10. Love this repurposed project, Paula. I’ve restyles lamps but have never replaced the wiring. Good to learn how to do it. Such a pretty lamp now and I love how you styled it. Love all the projects. Great blog hop. Thank you for sharing at Tuesday Turn About Link Party.

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