How To Restore Vintage Wall Sconces

Taking the time to learn how to restore vintage wall sconces can add an elegant and personal touch to any room. Restoring antique lighting requires a bit of expertise to turn antique and vintage wall sconces into something beautiful and useful once again. Many lighting stores specialize in the restoration of vintage lamps and sconces, but doing it yourself is a rewarding pastime. Whether you love hunting for bargains and treasures on in vintage and antique stores, or inherit them from your grandmother, follow these guidelines to learn how to restore vintage wall sconces.

Things you will need to restore vintage wall sconces:

  • Soap and water
  • Old toothbrush
  • Metal polish
  • Rags
  • Electrical wire and plugs
  • Electric tape
  • Wire end caps
  • Metal paint
  • Enamel paint
  • Small paint brushes
  • Turpentine or mineral spirits
  1. Clean vintage wall sconces thoroughly. Old wall sconces are often made from metals such as steel or brass, and sometimes from porcelain. With an old toothbrush, a rag or sponge, and a small bowl of warm, soapy water, gently remove any dirt that has accumulated on the wall sconces. Brush dirt and dust away, working carefully to not remove any painted finishes on the sconces.
  2. Use metal polish and a soft rag to polish the vintage wall sconces. Carefully apply metal polish in sections to the wall sconces, allowing it to dry fully. With a soft rag, buff the polish off the metal areas leaving a bright shine, and remove any residue from crevices on the wall sconces. Use the toothbrush to remove the remainder of the polish that is caught in the tiniest corners. Some wall sconces are plated. Avoid buffing so hard that the metal surface becomes scratched or worse, is removed.
  3. Touch up chipped areas of metal with metal paint. If you are handy, use the metal paint and a very small brush to dab a tiny bit of paint on areas that may have chipped on the vintage wall sconces. Be careful not to use a lot of paint, which may drip or run. Allow the paint to dry before doing other restorations. Rinse the brush in mineral spirits to clean.
  4. Touch up with enamel paints on porcelain wall sconces. Most collectors suggest not changing a thing on an antique or vintage piece. However, if you have a wall sconce with a chip, you can take a tiny bit of enamel paint matching the color of the porcelain and very carefully apply it to the chipped area to conceal it.
  5. Restore old, frayed wiring on the wall sconces. Remove any old wire that maybe frayed or crack and replace with new electrical wire. Some lighting specialty stores sell wire wrapped in silk or fabric thread that may be used to restore vintage wall sconces providing a truly original look to the lamp. Add plugs at the end of the wire or, in the event the wall sconce attaches to a junction box, place electrical caps on the ends of the wire to protect them until you attach the wall sconce to the wall.

Antique and vintage lighting will add to the mood of any room and provide a lovely, old-time feeling for almost any decor. Learning to restore vintage wall sconces to add to your home's atmosphere is a rewarding hobby for new or experienced collectors.

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