Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easy Breasy Makeover

We have these two sconces on either side of our bed.

Here you can see them in context (and catch a glimpse of why our bedroom needs sprucing up).

We will soon be replacing the black furniture with a beautiful mid-century set of dressers and nightstands that I blogged about here.  The new (to us) furniture has brass ring-pulls, and the new (as soon as I make it) headboard will have brass nailheads, so the brushed nickel sconces needed a facelift.  (That is not to say that all metal finishes in a room have to be the same, but I'm not a huge fan of brushed nickel in the first place - and I knew these would bother me next to all those yellow-toned metals.)

A few weeks back, I read about an intriguing product on Janell's inspiring blog.  This was the perfect opportunity to try it.  Enter Rub'n Buff, available at your local craft store.

I was a little hesitant at first, so I tried it on a hidden part of the fixture.  It went on smoothly and easily, so, I proceeded to "rub'n buff" the arms...

the mounting plate and cord cover...

and within about 15 minutes, I was nearly done...

with only a little collateral damage (word to the wise - protect your wall before you get started, not after you mess up!).

The finished product.

I have to admit - this stuff is pretty incredible.  It's so easy to use and looks very convincing.  I applied it with one finger (covered by a latex glove) and buffed with a cotton cloth.  I think a bare finger would have given slightly better coverage, but that would require washing up with pretty toxic solution (and this stuff is probably pretty toxic as well).  A tiny bit goes a long way and it dries almost instantly.  (Disclaimer - I've seen other people use it for lamps, but it does say "combustible - not to be used near flame or heat" - so, I'm not sure this is 100% safe.  I assume the combustion risk goes away once it's applied and dry - I hope so!).  

[Update (4/3/11) - I did the 1st sconce at night with dim lighting... after rub'n buffing the 2nd sconce today with ample daylight, I have to tone down my enthusiasm slightly.  The finish is a bit patchy and on close inspection, it's obvious that it was painted or treated in some way.  That said, we're the only ones looking at our sconces that closely - from even a foot away, I think it looks pretty good.]
The color is a little warmer and more coppery than I would have liked.  I'll see how it looks when the furniture is in, and perhaps I'll go over it with a little black to "age" it. 

Below, you can see it back in context.  Quite a transformation from the brushed nickel version on the left (to be done another day)!

Did you notice my masking-tape mock-up of the headboard?  I like a large-scale headboard, but don't want to go too high.  This is my 3rd or 4th try and I think this will be just right - it shows above the euro shams, and balances nicely with the height of the sconces.  Lots more work to do!

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