How to Paint Brass Hardware

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Hardware ready to be painted
Hardware ready to be painted (Image: kelly cree, Flickr.com Creative Commons License)

Painting your hardware and fixtures can add a dramatic new look to your home for a minimum investment in materials. Some fixtures are easily painted, while others are more challenging. Paint has a difficult time gripping to metal surfaces in general, and polished brass is nearly impossible for paint to stick to. The result is a paint job that begins to peel and flake in no time. There are steps that can be taken to prevent this from happening so that you can properly paint your brass hardware.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Steel-wool pad, such as SOS
  • Self-etching primer
  • Spray paint
  • Clear coat
  • Newspaper
  • Face mask

Remove the hardware from whatever it is attached to. Use a standard screwdriver set to remove hardware from cabinets, doors, windows and anything else that may have brass hardware that you want to paint.

Wash the surface of your brass hardware to remove any dirt or tarnish. Use a steel wool pad to scrub each piece. Do not worry about scratching the surface because scratches will help the paint grip to the surface. Rinse and dry each item after you have washed the surface, and set aside for painting.

Prepare the area where you will be painting. Choose an area that has plenty of room to work, that is well ventilated and where drifting paint fumes will not damage anything important. Cover the immediate work area with newspaper. Secure the newspaper with masking tape so that it will not blow around, and turn on a fan to provide a constant stream of ventilation to the work area.

Spray a coat of self-etching primer onto the brass hardware. Lay the hardware on the newspaper and spray an even coat of primer onto the brass. Shake the can thoroughly and hold the spray nozzle 4 to 6 inches from the hardware. Move the can from side to side in a smooth, fluid motion while spraying the primer. Only use self-etching primer (Resources), which will create microscopic scratches that allow the paint to bond to polished brass. Allow primer to dry.

Paint the brass hardware. Shake the paint can well and hold it 4 to 6 inches from the hardware as you sweep back and forth with the spray. You may need to apply a second coat after the first has dried. When priming and painting brass hardware, you may have to treat one side, let it dry, then flip it over to prime or paint the other side.

Apply a clear coat to protect paint from being scratched. Use the same painting technique to apply a satin clear coat finish to the dry, painted hardware. This will give your hardware a glossy shine that makes it look brand new, and will also protect the paint. One to two coats of clear finish will be sufficient for brass hardware.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even with proper ventilation, your immediate working area will still contain a cloud of paint fumes that are not safe to inhale.Wear a face mask to filter the air entering your nose and mouth.

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