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I like my reading lamp. Mostly. The switch is the only problem. It's a half sphere, and it was smooth, and it was a rotary style (not button). Not that easy to use if your fingers were wet from holding a cold drink on a humid day, or washing them, or if you're boycotting-paper-towels-and-letting-everything-air-dry as an experiment. When wet, your fingers tended to slip off the top instead of turning it on and off.

This instructable is how I fixed it. As in, "There, I Fixed It." Basically, I
1)paint the surface,
2) let the paint get tacky,
3) dribble sand on it
4) blow excess sand off
5) paint over it to keep the sand in place
6) add as many coats as I think the surface will need.

But it works, and I'm happy with how it looks. So pleased, that I now share pictures on the interwebs for all to see :)

Step 1: Prep Work


Get permission if you need it, get your materials together, clean off the surface to be modified, put down your newspaper to control the mess, and then to begin!  I like to position everything right where it's handy before I start.

I use primer as my first coat, just out of habit.  If you are doing this on metal, I recommend Rustoleum, it's my fav.  Works great.  I do not guarantee this to work on all surfaces. Glass and mirrors are probably too smooth. But it would in effect ruin that surface anyway.
 
This project isn't super time critical down to the second. If you have to walk away, you can probably pick up just where you left off, or repeat the step, with no ill effects.

Step 2: Paint the Surface, Sandify

This project won't really test your excellent spray paint coverage. Drips won't really show. It's good to have thicker layers that light ones on this.

I spray a layer on, till it's almost runny. Then, I sprinkle sand over (yard sand, washed sand, aquarium sand, I think they all work). I pretty much coat the whole surface. But that is too much sand to really work right.  I like to have about 50% sand coverage.

Step 3: Get the Texture Just Right

Grip tape on skateboards is about the consistency I was shooting for. OR sandpaper. Which you can use on a flat surface. But it would wrinkle on a compound curved surface.

I used an air compressor to blow off the extra. I started with the nozzle far away and got close enough to just blow away half of the sand. I kept about 5" away. You could easily blow off everything you just applied if you are too close! YMMV with a different compressor than mine.  It would depend on your nozzle too.  Just start off far and bring it in till it starts blowing away the sand that shouldn't be there.

Didn't get a pic for this step, my assistant doesn't work weekends unless I offer a raise, but I'm not about to dip into the bubble gum budget just yet :)

Step 4: Cover the Sand With More Paint


This keeps it bound to the first layer of paint. You may have heard someone joking about an old house that the exterior paint is holding it together. I have found that paint does work pretty well, not perfect, but well. The more use a surface might see, the more layers of top coat you'll want. Maybe varnish too. It's up to you :) Go different colors, use up old spray cans, whatever. The top coat can be your pretty one.

If it's high use: I would add a tough varnish on top.  Applied with a paintbrush.
Low use: My lamp has worked just fine with only paint, for a while now :)
i would just sugru it<br>
awesome idea. thanks for sharing!

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Bio: Love building stuff of my own design. My dream job is to be a crackpot inventor, but with enough funds to build all my project ... More »
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