I just purchased a cheap gold lamp. As expected, the gold is typically super shiny and yellow (see below).

How can I make it look more like weathered/antique gold?

Photograph of lamp enter image description here

4 Answers 4


I assume the look you're hoping for is a little like this, a dirty gold:

Also fake gold
source, actually a 3d render

If you're not planning on rebending the stand a lot, I'd suggest taking some acrylic paint (maybe some raw umber and black or similar dark and muddy colour), mix it with a little chalk or plaster (gypsum) to make it more dirty and matte (but make sure it doesn't dry out too quickly - you can add a little water while you mix), take a piece of cloth, dip it into the mixture, and rub it unto the lamp.
This way, all crevices will take the paint, and all larger smooth surfaces will be wiped clean again by the cloth.

As a side note: I don't really see the 'gold' in the lamp, only a very subtle, almost green hue. Is it the lighting, the colour profile, or is it really that faint?

Depending on how clear the 'gold' is on the lamp, you can first coat it with some acrylic gold paint, using either spray paint, or acrylic, after you've sanded it with very fine sandpaper.

Regular acrylic gold paint is usually too cool or too warm, and too shiny (or, rather, glittery). There are more professional paints available, but you can of course also create your own mixture (white, yellow, and if you're so inclined, maybe warm it up with a very little bit of red).

In both cases, parts of the coating might come off afterwards (especially with acrylics), but this could actually increase the faux antique look.

  • I think the color profile of the image might be skewed - it's definitely a bright yellow gold. I'll try to post a better photo later. Also, this technique might not work well as there are few crevices to work with. I've updated the post with a photo of the full lamp.
    – jackwise
    Sep 19, 2019 at 17:55
  • Oh, yes, I thought it was a desk lamp. On the stand it would work well, but on the rest not really.
    – Joachim
    Sep 19, 2019 at 19:06

It depends on what you want to achieve in the end. Just a few ideas:

  1. Use something abrasive, very fine grain, and destroy the shine.
  2. Spray some non-glossy paint over the shine. Choose the color of the paint according to your wishes.
  3. Go back to the shop and exchange the shiny lamp for a non-shiny one.

Well, gold and antique-looking don't really go hand in hand :(

However, I saw lamps which might look like you want, and this is how you might get there. Apply some layer of paint - which will give the "antique" look. Before it dries / cures, use a brush, even some soft paper, to comb the paint over the surface of the lamp. In a way it would look scratched, but it will also look like it has "deposits" due to time passing by. You may even uses different colors and / or different shades of paint.

Maybe gray for dust, brown for rust, blue / green for some copper oxides... Imagination, baby :) Just decide the details about how you want it to look like.

  • Updated my question! Ideally I'd end up with some sort of antique appearance. Also, 3 is not really helpful for me, I want to change the lamp that I have, not get a new one :)
    – jackwise
    Sep 19, 2019 at 13:52
  • I thought so, that's why number 3 is the last :)
    – virolino
    Sep 19, 2019 at 15:01

The gold-coloured coating is probably very thin so abrading it could easily scratch right through. Besides, it would look more like scratched-up shiny stuff than old weathered stuff.

Depending on the look you're going for and the thickness of the base material, beating it (try a wooden or rubber mallet before anything metal) could be used to make it less mirror-like.

A coat or two of satin varnish will also make the shine less garish, but test how will it sticks. I've found water-based varnish sticks well to real brass, at least when I don't want it to.

  • Updated my question! Ideally I'd end up with some sort of antique appearance
    – jackwise
    Sep 19, 2019 at 13:52

This product is perfect for just that job. It's not as cumbersome as gold flake leafing which is what is traditionally used for antiquing. ✌

Bare Metal Foil

  • Hi Michael, why is this product perfect for the job?
    – Joachim
    Sep 21, 2019 at 9:43
  • Well it's a forgiving mediium.It has true 24ct. plating,it can be cut ,shaped,folded,painted,layered,it can be applied to plastic,wood,metal,glass,and has a convenient adhesive backing.It goes on smooth or can be stippled to imitate a more weathered looked.It is a bit pricey for what is maybe a 6"x12" sheet,although depending on your ideal finish you could easily achieve your desired effect with 2 sheets for a standard floor lamp and or lamps.✌ Sep 21, 2019 at 18:53

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