How to Paint Jewelry

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Improve the look of lackluster bracelets with bright-colored enamel paint.
Improve the look of lackluster bracelets with bright-colored enamel paint. (Image: vasaleks/iStock/Getty Images)

Painting jewelry breathes new life into those old and unused pieces that are collecting dust in a box somewhere. Whether it’s wooden, metal, glass or plastic, you can successfully paint your jewelry using a few different methods.

Prepare the Jewelry

Preparing the jewelry piece before painting it is an important step that you can't overlook. Wipe the piece with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt, grime or other debris off the jewelry. The rubbing alcohol dissipates quickly and creates a clean surface for the paint. Once it's clean and dry, disassemble the piece. For example, remove the charm that you plan to paint from the necklace chain before painting. Another option is to cover any part of the jewelry that you don’t want painted with masking or painter's tape.

No-Bake Enamel

No-bake enamel craft paint lets you change the look of your jewelry without curing it in an oven. If you go this route, first mix the paint with the included activator. The paint/activator ratio amount varies from one brand to the next. For example, one brand of enamel craft paint with activator recommends mixing 1 part of the paint with 2 parts of the activator. Find the recommended ratio on the bottle's label. Once mixed, paint the enamel/activator onto the jewelry with a small paintbrush before allowing it to air-dry for at least 72 hours.

Spray Paint

Because of its relatively inexpensive price tag, enamel spray paint is a budget-friendly option for turning that drab jewelry piece into a head-turner. For best results, apply a thin coat of spray paint primer to the jewelry. After the primer has dried for at least an hour, begin spraying the jewelry with a light coat of enamel spray paint. Hold the can no closer than 6 inches from the piece and spray in even strokes. Two coats are usually required for complete coverage, and you must let each coat dry for about an hour before applying additional coats. Let the jewelry dry for at least 48 hours before handling.

Glazing

Like enamel paint, you can apply jewelry glaze to resin, metal and most other jewelry surfaces. Leave the glaze on the piece for an opaque color or wipe it off with a paper towel to give the jewelry a more aged or antique appearance. When you gentle wipe off the glaze, it stays inside the tiny crevices on the piece, giving it natural look. Lightly apply the glaze in a thin coat using an up-and-down brushing motion. If necessary, apply more than one coat. Remember to let the glaze dry in between coats; before handing the painted jewelry, allow the gaze to dry for 24 hours.

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