How to Refinish or Paint Brass

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Brass is a metal -- a mixture of zinc, alloy and copper. A range of different brasses can be made by adding varied measures of these three properties. Brass is used for gears, bearings, doorknobs, valves and locks. As long as the brass item is solid and not plated, it can be refinished. Brass has a yellowish color and has been mistaken for gold. It is used for making coins and, shined up, can be used as a mirror.

Things You'll Need

  • Steel wool
  • Paint stripper
  • Fine quality brass polish
  • Clean dry rag
  • Polymer-based car wax
  • Rub the solid brass object with steel wool and a paint stripper to remove the old protective acrylic coating and any dirt. The steel wool and paint stripper is sold at most hardware stores.

  • Choose a fine quality brass polish such as Simichrome metal polish, sold at most hardware stores. Another ideal metal polisher is Flitz Liquid Metal Polish.

  • Pour some polish on a clean dry rag -- a cloth diaper works well. Rub the polish into the brass until it lusters and shines.

  • Protect the brass from the elements by applying a new finish -- a non-abrasive, polymer-based car wax, sold at automotive shops. Apply the wax to the brass with a dry clean cloth just as you would wax a car -- around the surface of the item in circles.

  • Maintain the protective sealant for longer periods by applying several applications of the wax coating.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sit upright in a comfortable chair. Polishing brass can put a strain on the upper part of your body, especially your arms.
  • Make sure the rag used to polish the brass is smooth so it doesn't accidentally scratch your metal.

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