Happy(?) Yellow

In the last installment of our “Readers’ Choice” game, we allowed you to choose the paint color for the desk lamp in the studio–I was happy to hear a lot of cheers for chartreuse and yellow.  That is the way I was leaning.  One particular reader shouted, “Gold!”  I can’t tell you how much I wanted to paint this lamp gold after reading that suggestion. But with a brushed nickel fixture and a black curtain rod–I didn’t think another finish like gold would jive.  The closest thing was yellow which, like I said, was also getting a lot of votes so we went with it.  For you readers who wanted turquoise, the ceiling is all for you.
Here you see the drab, gray lamp and its after coat–a cheery yellow.

Although, I am not so cheery about it.  I am not sure if it is the color or the terrible finish that has me in a rut.  I learned a valuable, spray-painting lesson:  Don’t spray when it is windy!  Ever! After Greta-girl helped me tape off all the nickel hinges, we moved things to the back patio so the house would block the majority of the wind–or so I thought.

Since the lamp had a real sleek finish, I started with a primer so my paint would have something to stick to.

It was almost exactly the same color as the lamp!   But I knew I had it all covered when everything looked nice and matte.

The directions said you could re-coat immediately, but I still waited about 20 minutes (to be on the safe side) before starting lots and lots of thin coats of “Sun Yellow.”

Here’s how she looked after about 3 thin coats.  Pretty scary, right? That’s when the wind started picking up and I started panicking.  Looking back, I should have stopped then.

While I am fully owning up to not taping tight enough and allowing this seeping paint on the coils of the lamp to happen…

This finish on the underside I blame completely on the wind.  Okay, not completely.  I suppose it is partly my fault for thinking I could continue spray painting in those conditions.  Watching paint skid across your project, mid-spray-paint-stream is sickening.

This was also about the time, the cardboard covering the patio flipped up and put a little dent in my paint job and flicked dirt on the base.  Hmph. I am honestly surprised there were no tears on my part.

So, although this yellow might look happy from a distance–I really do love how it ties in with the curtains–I am thinking I am gonna have to sand it down and start again.

Which makes me question–is yellow the right color after all? Or am I just prejudice now because of my bad luck this time around.  I can already hear Chris saying, “Just live with it for a few days.”
Anyone else have tragic spray-painting tales?


  • Reply February 9, 2013

    Anna Townsend

    I hope you’ve decided to fix it when you get a chance & go with Rustoleum. The lamp will look so awesome when you’re finished! Thanks for the multiple posts about Krylon versus other paints. I’ll remember this & stay away from that brand.

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    I am DYING laughing. Hahahaha. Okay, that is seriously a sad, sad story.

  • Reply December 31, 2012


    Oh no- yes, I have a tragic spray painting tale. I had found a coffee table online at Pier 1… except that Pier 1 doesn’t let you order online. So, since it was on super-duper clearance (down to less than $100 and it was originally $400+ I ordered it… at a Pier 1 that was over 150 miles away (and they don’t deliver). Sigh. It was winter. We live in Colorado and the 150+ mile away store was over Vail Pass (not a fun drive). In any case, I manage to convince my husband to come with me to get it one blizzardy (new word?) weekend. We get it home and I’m excited to spray it (ORB). I knew that I was going to spray it from the get go. Problem? It is snowing outside. And dark. And I’m impatient. My husband had the “brilliant” idea to hang it from the rafters inside of the garage to spray paint it (at the time I thought that it was a good idea…). It is metal. Sleek. I hadn’t ever heard of spray paint primer. Sigh. I start painting in the garage with the thing hung unevenly from the rafters. It is too dark in there (even with the light on…) for me to realize that the paint is sliding off the metal rails and pooling in large droopy drips on the part that is lowest in the hanging (basic gravity at work there, eh?). When I finally do realize this, I try to scrape it off… which results in scrape marks on my otherwise smooth metal finish. Ack! The story ends with my dog excitedly running up to the table and putting her paw marks (nails) right onto the side of the table rail— and I still haven’t fixed it yet either! That ‘good deal’ of a coffee table was much more hassle than it was worth… (though I’m using it right now despite the fact that droops, dog claw marks, and rough metal patches abound…). :)

    In short, I like the yellow and I’ll be really impressed if you have the patience to start from scratch again!

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Lexy @ The Proper Pinwheel

    I’m a Type-A girl and I would need to sand that sucker down too. I’m not a huge fan of Krylon either. Rustoleum is the way to go when painting something like this. The yellow is cute with the curtains! I’m still hanging on to the Chartreuse dream, but I’m happy with either and you should be, too!

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Andrea Hernandez

    I’m with Vic, kudos to your perfectionist will power

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Heather G.

    Lol thanks! I am sure as we progress with our house, there will be MANY more of those types of moments!

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Victoria Bradley-Morris

    You’re too hard on yourself. It looks FINE. The only person who will notice the “mistakes” is you.

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    Welcome aboard, Heather! Love those live and learn moments, right?

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    I’ll see how the sanding plays out. As long as there is a smooth transition between the different parts, it should be fine. Let’s hope I can get away with minimal re-do

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Ashley W

    I was originally on Team Chartreuse but I totally love the yellow. It’s very cheerful and bright.

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    Oh man. I am a TOTAL Rustoleum girl. I think I quit on Krylon over a year ago, but I was at Walmart and they didn’t have any yellow. I should have just went the extra 5 minutes to Home Depot. :/ Live and learn, right?

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Our Humble A{Bowe}d

    Yep, been in the same situation. But once you’ve got it in your head that you’re painting it, it happens. I think the yellow is a fun color. I don’t really like Krylon though. I’ve had GREAT success with Rustoleums 2X coverage paint. We used Sun Yellow (Rustoleum’s) on Vincent’s bed and it has held up wonderfully. Maybe you could try that yellow? Or the Rustoleum brand instead. But I do think a Chartreuse green would look great if you don’t want to give yellow another shot…

  • Reply December 31, 2012


    I do like the yellow! Bummer about the blasted wind. Can you just sand down the rough parts and re spray paint over it all?? I have no idea.

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Heather Gearhart

    I just came across your blog today and love it. Your studio is great and yellow is the perfect color for your room! I never thought to use the tapestries from Urban Outfitters as curtains… brilliant!

    My spray painting story… I decided to spray paint lamp shades and was super excited about my design, but failed to realize that fabric lamp shades would bleed… So after coat 2, I realized, crap… this won’t look as awesome as I had hoped. I peeled off the painters tape and it wasn’t terrible, but needs to be redone one of these days. For now, I am just going to live with it and work on other things till I feel the need to redo those.

  • Reply December 31, 2012


    Oh, I know that’s so frustrating! I know because I always seem to mess up spray paint jobs. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not THE only one who doesn’t pull off an effortless and perfect spray paint transformation every time. Everyone says it’s so easy–what is my problem? Gah!…But on the bright side, I do think the sunny yellow is a lovely and cheerful shade. It fits in perfectly. But you could wait to decide on a color (if you do decide to repaint) until you have the room otherwise accessorized. Maybe you’ll be newly inspired…or ready to forgive yellow.

  • Bummer about the paint! I absolutely adore the yellow though! I’d definitely keep it!

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