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How to Make a Chinoiserie Style Lamp with Decoupage

I’ve gone a little decoupage crazy. My latest decoupage project is another #randomactofDIY. Do you like to decoupage or do you want to learn how? You have to see how to make a chinoiserie style lamp with decoupage.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve become a bit addicted to decoupage. It’s such a fun and easy craft. The hardest part is choosing from tons of options and how to customize your chosen object.

I love it when I have a great project already in mind. All I needed was the right thing to work on. And then I found it. Accidentally. Out in the garage. Again.

So grab a glass of your favorite beverage (mine is sweet iced tea) and follow along as I share how I made this chinoiserie~style lamp with decoupage.

Makeover a Lamp in Chinoiserie Style With Decoupage

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I didn’t find this object at a flea market. I found it in our garage. Again.

You might remember the discarded planters that I found in the garage and revived with paint and gold leaf. Those turned out to be one of my favorite DIY projects in recent memory.

Then last week, as I was rummaging through the garage, I found this ginger jar lamp sitting on the floor. It was another one of those forgotten items that I had changed up years ago.

In this case, it started off shiny white and I painted it a matte charcoal grey. I even made a fabric~covered shade for it ~ that I didn’t find.

You can see all the scratches from being moved around. I’m surprised it didn’t break from neglect.

dark grey painted ginger jar lamp

NOTE: I did check first to make sure that the lamp still worked!  Do you remember this lamp project from our winter bedroom? Well, my $7 estate lamp bit the dust!!

blue pitcher with white tulips and lamp and candlesticks in winter master bedroom

The old ginger jar lamp was perfect for the project that I had in mind.

For a few weeks, I have been ordering blue napkins online in patterns I thought would be good candidates for decoupage items.

I loved these blue napkins which reminded me of a chinoiserie~style vase. I was just waiting for the right item. Now, with the discovered lamp, I had my item.

blue chinoiserie style napkin

First, what is chinoiserie? I looked it up.

chinoiserie /ˌSHēnˌwäzəˈrē,ˌSHēnˈwäz(ə)rē/ ~ the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the 18th century.

Notice the word “imitation”? My plan was to imitate and interpret my vision of a chinoiserie style vase as a lamp.

Supplies for the Lamp Makeover

Besides the lamp and the napkins, I needed:

paint jar, brushes

Painting My Chinoiserie Style Lamp – Step 1

I wrapped the painter’s tape around the top of the lamp mechanism and around the cord.

dark grey painted ginger jar lamp

Next, using a 3-inch paintbrush, I painted the entire surface of the lamp. This took about 6 minutes. I let it dry for about 30 minutes.

paining grey ginger jar lamp white

Since the lamp would be covered in Mod Podge and napkins, I just gave it one coat of paint.

paining grey ginger jar lamp white

Decoupaging the Lamp – Step 2

Now the fun really begins. I love these Mod Podge Brushes.

bottle of Mod Podge and brushes

I estimated I would need 4 napkins. I unfolded them and removed the front layer from the back layer. You can discard the white back layer.

blue chinoiserie style napkins

I wanted to have the large flower motifs on the lamp so I cut around the 4 distinct sections on each napkin.

cut outs of blue chinoiserie style napkin

Since my last decoupage project, I read that you should also apply Mod Podge to the paper as well as the surface that you are covering. That worked very well.

applying Mod Podge to blue napkin cut out

I brushed the Mod Podge in sections on the lamp, starting at the top. Applying the napkin pieces with Mod Podge worked great.

apply chinoiserie napkins to lamp

I worked my way down the lamp, slightly overlap the napkin pieces as I went.

apply chinoiserie napkins to lamp

When I had covered 90% of the lamp, I cut out small pieces of a 5th napkin to fill in the small places that were not covered.

Finally, I went over the lamp with more Mod Podge, smoothing out places that were wrinkled.

blue and white Chinoiserie Style Lamp with Decoupage.

Sealing the Lamp – Step 3

I let the lamp dry completely overnight: it was about a total of 36 hours. I wanted the lamp to have a shiny finish ~ as a real ceramic lamp would. I bought Mod Podge Ultra-Gloss Spray Sealer.

Next, I wrapped the lamp switch with plastic wrap to protect it.

plastic wrap on lamp switch

As well as the cord.

bottle of Mod Podge

Fortunately, the day was sunny, but not windy. I took the lamp outside on our driveway and placed it on a newspaper.

Then I gave it a good coverage of the Ultra Spray. This product isn’t like spray paint. It feels more like you are spritzing with water. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of that process.

I brought the lamp back in the house and let it dry overnight. It now had the shiny finish I wanted.

I loved the results. Even Sweet Shark thought the lamp was awesome. It needed one more thing ~ a lampshade. Guess what? That’s another project for another post! But here is a peek of the finished chinoiserie~style lamp with decoupage.

blue and white Chinoiserie Style Lamp with Decoupage.

All the Supplies You Need for this Project

Pretty enough to PIN? I hope this chinoiserie~style lamp with a decoupage project inspires you to try decoupage or gives you a new idea for your decoupage projects.

pin for later graphic in blue


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  1. Hi. Love this! Have been wanting to do the exact same thing. Chinoiserie lamps new can be so expensive. Did you paint it to have the correct surface for the decoupage to stick to or just for a base color? The lamp I’m thinking to do this with is already white so wondering if I need to paint it for the process to work or if since it’s already white, I’m good to go.

  2. Carol, I love this so much. How pretty and creative. Thanks so much for sharing at Love Your Creativity. I am featuring your lamp at today’s link party.

  3. Your lamp turned out gorgeous, Carol! I’ve been looking for blue and white chinoiserie ginger jars and vases, but they’re always so pricey. Now I know what to do! I have a collection of glass vases in my stash that would be perfect for this project. I didn’t know about the mod podge spray sealer, either. Thanks for sharing a great tutorial. It was fun crafting with you again!

    1. Allyson, thank you. I know the feeling of letting something go and then you wish you had it back. Something new (old) will turn up.

    1. Marie, thank you for your comment. Yes, I discovered the spray Mod Podge online. I think it’s really meant as a sealer ~ like how I used it.

  4. I need to show my husband this, he’s always complaining that I keep so much ‘old stuff’ but you never know when it could get a glamorous makeover! 😉

    1. Jayne, husbands are funny. They call it junk until we do something fabulous with old stuff and don’t have to go out and spend more money. Keep on making over!

    1. Kathleen, they were cocktail. Cost less than dinner size. I do have one package of guest towel size napkins ~ because I loved the pattern.

      1. Thanks, Carol! BTW you were picked by me as a Vintage Charm Party feature in this week’s party! Hope to see you this week and, again, thanks so much for sharing your talents with Vintage Charm Party! xo Kathleen

  5. I am so thrilled to see this post — it’s all too timely for me. In the last 6 months or so I have been slowly warming up to the idea of using blues in my decor. And one of the things I wanted to get was a blue and white chinoiserie vase/ginger jar. However, prices have kept me from buying anything:( Now I know what I’m going to do — I’m going to make them! Seriously, I know this will be a project I take on. Thank you so much for the idea and inspiration! BTW your lamp is gorgeous! Pinned! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm! xo Kathleen

    1. Kathleen, you have to try it! IT’s really easy, you can’t mess it up. Yes, the prices of chinoiserie lamps are expensive. No one will ever know that you made it ~ unless you tell and brag!

  6. Carol, this is gorgeous! You really transformed the lamp and I love that you used napkins–thrifty and lovely! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

  7. Your lamp came out so well! Loved your decoupage tips. I found out recently that cutting my motifs apart with my funky scrapbooking scissors gave me a “torn look” (especially the deckle-edged ones) without the goofs of ripping a design! Would SH believe you if you’d told him you’d spent big bucks at Anthropology for the lamp?

  8. Hi Carol, your ginger jar lamp was a perfect candidate for decoupaging. It turned out beautiful. Great instructions – especially telling us about the brushes and the spray on glue.


  9. Wow, Carol!! What a transformation!! I wonder how many of us have bought those same paper napkins for decoupage projects? I used them more than a year ago on Easter Eggs and an Easter bunny. That was one ugly lamp that looks like a high end lamp now! I love any blue home decor, and this is perfect! Thank you for joining in again in our crafty hop!

    1. Chloe, thanks so much for the feedback. I really value your opinion. I did do Easter eggs this year. I loved this hop and all the wonderful projects. Thank you for hosting.

  10. I’m pretty addicted to Mod Podge and Chinisorie as well. The lamp came out beautiful. Can’t wait to see what you do with the shade. So fun hopping with you.

  11. This looks like a lamp that would cost a fortune. I really like the way it turned out, blue and white is my jam. I have never tried to decoupage anything. I’m getting so many good ideas as a DIY beginner. So fun to see all the projects.

    1. Andrea, I’d love to sell it for a fortune! Decoupage is easy to learn and you can’t mess up. I hope that you will try it.

  12. Holy Wow Carol, your lamp is gorgeous!! It truly looks like the real thing!! I love decoupage, and I swear this is the best make over ever!!! Amazing!!

  13. I love decoupaging as well. I thought about a lamp shade but never a lamp base… what a great idea! It looks fantastic too!. Great job friend and so great crafting with you!

    1. Chas, it is great to be on the hop with you and see all the fabulous projects. I will definitely do a shade in the future.

  14. Your lamp looks amazing!! I have yet to succeed at decoupaging something….. But each beautiful thing I see makes me want to try again!


  15. Your lamp turned out great Carol! I love your pretty blue and white Chinoiserie napkins and how you found the perfect candidate for your craft project in the garage! 😉 Happy to be hopping with you today. ♥