DIY French Sconce from 80s Brass

How to turn a dated brass piece into a Restoration Hardware-inspired French sconce using paint samples and jewelry beads.

Apparently it’s always Opposite Day in my world.

(Did you ever play Opposite Day as a kid? I always argued with my little brother that if it was Opposite Day then it would be the opposite of Opposite Day, which is Not-Opposite Day. Mind blowing philosophy from an 8 year-old, I know.)

Anyways, apparently in my opposite brain, I paint non-brass things to look like brass and brass things to look like something else.

Case and point are these thrifted brass sconces I found last week for $3 each.

80s brass sconce makeover

I’ve painted a light fixture to look like aged brass, white mirrors to look like aged brass, but when you give me actual aged brass, I go, “Nahhh… paint them different.” Makes total sense.

So for this month’s Trash to Treasure Tuesday, that’s just what I did. (You can see what my other T2T blogger friends transformed at the bottom of this post too.)

I’d been searching for some pretty French sconces for our blank dining room wall to go on either side of our window, and I thought these $3 ones could really be something.

Dark charcoal dining room with woods and whites

Supplies Used: (Some affiliate links are provided below.)

Chalk painted 80s brass to look like an antique French sconce

1. I painted the sconces all over first with two coats of the Fusion Mineral Paint in Raw Silk and let dry.

2. To add more depth, I dry-brushed on top of the dried white coat using the Sterling paint. (If you aren’t familiar with dry brushing, just dip the tip of your brush in paint, wipe off any excess on a dry paper towel, and brush the “dry” brush on the sconce. It adds a little aging effect.)

3. Then, to make them look antique, I dry-brushed with the dark wax.

beads for French sconce

4. Just to add a little extra detail, I cut a strand of glass teardrop beads and painted them individually using the same process I did on the sconces- white, gray dry-brush, dark wax dry-brush. (Or if you wanted the sconce to look more glam, leave them unpainted.)

DIY chandelier beads for French sconce

5. To attach the beads to the arms of the sconce, I threaded the beads with some jewelry wire and tied them onto the sconces. I snipped the excess wire once they were attached.

And ta da!

DIY French sconce using 80s brass and chalk paint

I already had all of the paint and wax leftover from previous furniture projects, so all I had to pay for were the sconces and glass beads. $8 for antique French inspired sconces isn’t too bad, huh?

They look way more expensive than $8, if you ask me.

DIY French sconce from 80s brass fixtures

They added the perfect subtle detail to the walls on either side of our dining room window.

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal dining room with French sconce

I still plan on taking down the existing dining room chandelier for something else, but we’ve been rather distracted with the kitchen refresh, living room refresh, and nursery planning lately.

Maybe I should just find a brass one and paint it like the sconces. Ya think? Or maybe stick to aged brass. See? Here I go again.

Charcoal and white dining room

You can see the rest of this month’s Trash to Treasure transformations below for more thrifty ideas:

(Clockwise from top left):

Prodigal Pieces | Confessions of a Serial DIYer | Girl in the Garage | Artsy Chicks Rule


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How to turn a dated brass piece into a Restoration Hardware-inspired French sconce using paint samples and jewelry beads. #frenchsconce #sconce #walldecor

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  1. They look Fantastic!!! Wow—I am Just like you-without the talent of course!- Always setting something right and lovely–then, a few months or weeks later, need to change it up again..Will we Ever feel Totally satisfied? Great work-Thank you sooo much for more inspiration!

  2. I have been on the hunt for sconces for our dinning room! I haven’t had any luck yet! Magnolia has ones that I love, but they are 100 dollars a pop. Love how yours turned out!

  3. Why don’t you try that technique on the chandelier that’s over your dining table now? I’m going to paint a chandelier I have from the 80’s and hang a garland of wooden beads from the arms.

    1. We have a brass chandelier in my office that I’m tempted to try it on and move it into here (currently my office is a dumping ground and I haven’t really shared it yet). I like the shape of it much better than this one in the dining room. Something about the scrolly metal I’m just not loving.