Painting Medallions for Antique Light Fixtures

Hand painted Ceiling Medallions

Hand painted Ceiling Medallions

Ceiling medallions can be pretty boring if all you do is leave them painted white. The trick is to do something to them that suits the light fixture without taking over.

In a recent second-storey restoration at my sister’s 1912 house this summer, all previous light fixtures were removed. None were original since previous owners had removed them in an effort to upgrade the house. However it was a wonderful opportunity to use some of the light fixtures that she had purchased over the years and had been saving in anticipation of this very situation.

I painted at least four medallions for her – each was different. I matched the colour of each fixture by adding colours to the basic metalic gold paints she bought at a craft store. Antique light fixtures were never made in a standard gold colour. Their colours are based on the particular combination of metals found in the lamp.

The example on the left shows the original colours of the light canopy (the part of the light that is nearest the ceiling) and the colours of the light fixture itself. This kind of red – green painted decoration on antique gold was extremely popular in fixtures of the 1920’s and 1930’s.

I simply matched the colours of the light fixture – the red, green and gold, and used them in designing the medallion. (The medallion is the part of the light that is outside the red circle). A quick brown antiquing glaze over the bright colours brought it all together!