Fix my plastic lamp.
February 13, 2012 11:35 AM   Subscribe

How do I repair (or replace) scratched plastic lamp panels?

I bought this cool lamp and wired it into a junction box. However, in the process of taking it home, fixing up the internal wiring, and hanging it up, I managed to scrape it up pretty bad.

The wood faces are connected by four 1/8" thick plastic panels with a yellow tint. They're sort of a rounded rectangle shape, flat, and have small drill holes at the top and bottom for woodscrews that hold them in place. The plastic panels are almost all scratched, and in some cases the scratches are up to 1/2" wide, which is pretty unsightly.

Is there a way to either remove the scratches, or craft new panels? I don't mind doing some work, but I have no idea how one works with plastic, or where to start.
posted by zvs to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Here's a better detail of the panel shape.
posted by zvs at 11:37 AM on February 13, 2012

PlastX works great for light scuffing. Depending on how hard the plastic is and how deep the scratches, you may want to wetsand.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:38 AM on February 13, 2012

Is the yellow an applique, or is it tinted through and through? I've gotten scratches out of plastic with toothpaste--just rub and polish.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:39 AM on February 13, 2012

Is the yellow an applique, or is it tinted through and through?

Good question, how do you tell? My guess would be through and through, I certainly don't notice any seams.
posted by zvs at 11:41 AM on February 13, 2012

Assuming it's a tinted plastic and not just a surface level color -

You can buy headlamp revitalizing kits at Autozone and the like. They're really just a succession of sandpapers from a 100 grid down to a 40,000 grit, but they fit nicely onto a drill attachment so you don't have to use the same amount of elbow grease.

Before I bought one of those - which worked quite well - I've bought kits with just little squares of the various sandpapers. Google plastic polishing kit and you'll find plenty. Alternately you can just buy polish and cleaning solutions and use some old towels. Depending on how deep the scratches are that might do the job, or at least make the scratches less obvious.

The auto parts store is probably a good place to start; they stock a lot of stuff there targeted at us convertible owners who have (shudder) plastic/vinyl rear windows.
posted by phearlez at 12:57 PM on February 13, 2012

Does the frame hold the Plexiglas to shape or was it curved to begin with? Assuming they're just flat panes bowed by the frame, tinted Plexiglas isn't terribly expensive or difficult to cut, so it wouldn't be that hard to make new panels.

Or just do a single vertical swipe with coarse sandpaper so that you have uniform top to bottom scratches and maintain your very best "I meant to do that" face. (I'd remove the panes from the lamp for this.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:31 PM on February 13, 2012

I want to say one word to you , just one word.
seriously nothing else works like cushioned abrasive
posted by hortense at 2:39 PM on February 13, 2012

The auto parts store had Turtle Wax headlight cleaner -- worked a mint!
posted by zvs at 4:30 PM on February 20, 2012

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