I’m Beginning to See the Light

I know I have been doing a lot of lighting projects on here lately, and I promise we will take a break, but we have been playing musical light fixtures here. This transformation is way too cool.

How many of you have inherited a ceiling fan that looks like this? Pickled oak, brass, frilly shade covers… Screams early ’90s.  Bad ’90s not the good.

But a new one would cost about $150 or more. You know me… I am not spending that kind of money. I’m about way cool… dirt cheap. So after I took it down, I carefully took it apart, being very careful not to lose any screws or anything important. I took it apart as little as possible taping  off areas that could expose the mechanics.

I then spray painted the edges a dark brown so I didn’t have to wrap the edges later. 

All right, here’s where you can all yell at me in your heads… no pictures of the main body getting spray painted in the same oil rubbed bronze finish I used for the chandelier. I don’t know how this happened, but I am totally guilty. Sorry. =(

Okay, now the weird part. I ordered wood grain contact paper. Yes I said it… wood grain contact paper. I ordered it from a company called Electriduct.com. It was the ebony finish and it was $11 shipped.



I only used a half a roll, if that. Plenty left for my other fan still in need.

Trace the fan blade and cut it out on just the inside of the trace line. If there is a little excess you can always take a straight edge and cut any excess off. Gradually peel and stick.

As it went on I knew it wasn’t going to be sticky enough to withstand the rapidly spinning blades. So I went to home depot and got some gorilla glue. This is a must, but do not use it until you have applied the contact paper to the blades because it dries fast and is unforgiving. This is some strong stuff people. Just lift up the edges and thinly apply the glue. If you get it too heavy it will warp the paper… so be careful, a little goes a long way.

As far as the super grandma like glass shades. I sent them to design heaven or to some cute old lady’s home. I was blown away when I found these shades at the Mesa DI for $1 each! These exact ones were at Home Depot for $10 each. Had I not found these ones, I would have purchased some very similar ones at Walmart for $4 each. It pays to frequent your local thrift stores! I couldn’t love these shades more… and here is the finished uninstalled new and much, much improved ceiling fan.

I don’t even recognize it.  I am adding novice electrician to my resume. Here it is installed. Fan on one switch. Lights on another.

One more look at what it used to be…

MUCH BETTER!! And you won’t believe the final cost!

Okay here’s the breakdown.

1/2 can of spray paint- $3.50

1/2  roll of wood contact paper- $5.50

3 thrift store lamp shades- $3

Total-                     $12!!!!!!!!!!

The final total even shocked me. My goal was $25. I came in under budget, by half!

Happy Thursday!


P.S. Pia gets voted off American Idol?! Say what?!! I think I’m done with watching AI for the season. She was supposed to win.

9 thoughts on “I’m Beginning to See the Light

  1. Suzanne says:

    I think this looks amazing! We have two ceiling fans that need an update. I was wondering, do I have to take the fans down? Is there paint besides the spray-type that I could just brush on? All the little holes and mesh on the fan look like it would be hard to tape around. I also have a chandelier that could use the same type of update. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

  2. NataLee says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Yes, I definitely would recommend taking them down and doing a spray finish. Any paint on product wouldn’t give you as smooth or even a finish and in the end wouldn’t look as professional. It isn’t as hard as you think you do have to take things apart a bit on the fan (moreso than with a chandlier which is fairly easy. Take pictures as you take it apart, so you remember how to reassemble. If you want it to look professional take it down and spray. Good luck!

  3. Meredith says:


    My sister (Molly with TomKat) met you at Creative Estates and adored you!! I have read your blog several months ago; I m trying to figure out what the connection was – maybe Shelley of Slipcovers by Shelley? Anyway, I never added it to my “must checks” (my morning coffee so to speak) so I forgot where you were! Anyway, I am so glad she got me re-acquainted with you! shoot me an email mmsimpson(at)cox(dot)net. Maybe we can go out with my sister. And I love to read design/decor blogs and LOVE projects but we have been wanting to move for pretty much the entire time living here so I have a lot of half done/never done projects because, well you know, it always seems like why bother. Anyway – lets get together with Molly!!

  4. Amy says:

    Your fan looks great!!! I have one to do up stairs. It looks pretty much like your before picture. The only part I am worried about doing is the gorilla glue part. I am afraid I will mess it up and create a bunch of bubbles. What are your techniques if there was any? Thanks for the great idea.

  5. NataLee says:

    Thanks. Just brush it on with a foam brush very thinly (a little goes a long way), if you do this, you will be fine. Good luck!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Ok, NataLee, you have totally inspired me!!!! We have 4 (!!!) ceiling fans we were planning on replacing “someday”… you know, when the funds allowed. But with this info, and your inspiration, my next few Saturdays are going to be filled! Thank you so much for your blog… it has given me tons of new, inexpensive ways to update our house as well! (Not as 90’s as your lovely fan, but close enough!) Thank you so much!!

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