How to Paint Polished Brass Fixtures


If you plan to paint polished brass fixtures, you will need to contend with some complications. First, like other metallic surfaces, polished brass is nonporous, making it ill-suited for paint adhesion. You must abrade the metal before paint will stick. However, polished brass cannot be abraded like other metal, as this will result in a chemical reaction that will release toxins into the air. Before you get started, you need to know the proper preparation and application techniques, or you may find yourself in a dangerous predicament.

Things You'll Need

  • Respirator
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Masking paper
  • Heavy-duty fabric drop-cloths
  • Rags
  • Gloves
  • Mineral spirits
  • PCB etching kit
  • Oil-based spray primer
  • Oil-based spray paint
  • Open doors and windows to promote ventilation. Wear a respirator if you are working in an enclosed area with poor ventilation.

  • Protect areas adjacent to the polished brass fixtures using masking paper and painter's masking tape. Protect flooring with heavy-duty fabric drop-cloths.

  • Abrade the polished brass to stimulate primer and paint adhesion using a PCB etching kit. Consult the application instructions on the specific PBC etching kit you purchased. Do not use metallic abrasion acids to etch the brass.

  • Apply an oil-based spray primer to the polished brass fixtures. Spray the primer onto the fixtures in short, intermittent bursts. Do not saturate the brass with a thick, sloppy coat of paint, as this will lead to runs in the finish.

  • Allow the oil-based primer to dry for two hours, and then apply a coat of oil-based spray paint in the same way you applied the spray primer.

Tips & Warnings

  • PCB etching kits are available at paint and home improvement stores.
  • PCB etching kits vary. Consult the directions on the specific PBC etching kit you purchased for exact application instructions.
  • Metals are often abraded with acids. Do not use acids to abrade brass, as this will result in a chemical reaction that will release toxins into the air.

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  • Photo Credit Toxic hazard flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from
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