Or at least mostly a success. I tried my hand at spraypainting for the first time while the kids were away camping with their grandparents for a couple of days. Aside from the accidentally-red cord and the slightly-less-than-uniformally-glossy finish, I'm going to call this lamp a victory. The cheesy artwork on the $10 Goodwill base is safely covered, and the Target burlap shade I've been eyeing for some time finally has a good home.
In case anyone cares, I started with a Rustoleum primer followed by several coats of glossy red, and topped off with a coat of clear glossy top coat. I probably applied far more coats than were really necessary, but I was a little paranoid about drips so I choose to go with many light coats. I really don't know why some spots don't have a great sheen but I am tiring of the project and am going to call it good. Any advice in case I decide to try again with another thrift-store find?