How to Paint Over Brass Plating

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Things You'll Need

  • Tarnish remover

  • Lint-free cloths

  • Face mask

  • Fine-grit sandpaper

  • Water

  • Drop cloth

  • Protective goggles

  • Spray paint

You can paint brass-plated items, though you must use caution to avoid chipping the plating.

Brass plating is commonly found on lighting fixtures, furniture, doorknobs and switch plates. It is possible to paint brass-plated objects, but you will need to prepare the surface by removing tarnish and scuffing the surface so the paint will adhere properly. Because brass plating is fragile, the scuffing process must be done by hand -- an electric sander or grinder will chip the plating, resulting in an uneven surface. Metals tend to show brush strokes, so it's best to opt for spray paint.


Step 1

Remove any parts or components that will not be painted. For instance, if you're refinishing a brass-plated chandelier, you'll want to remove the crystals.

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Step 2

Apply tarnish remover paste to the object's surface. Consult the product packaging to determine how long the tarnish remover should remain on the surface.

Step 3

Remove the tarnish remover paste with a clean lint-free cloth. Remove all traces of the paste. Small items can be rinsed in the sink and polished with a clean cloth.

Step 4

Put on a protective face mask.


Step 5

Scuff the metal surface with fine grit sandpaper. Use a circular motion.

Step 6

Remove the dust that was created during the scuffing process. You can use a damp, lint-free cloth to wipe down large items, whereas smaller items can be rinsed in the sink.


Step 7

Place the item on a drop cloth situated in a well-ventilated location and don protective goggles.

Step 8

Apply two or three thin, even coats of spray paint, allowing the object to dry between coats.


Apply one or two additional coats of protective spray-on clear coat on items that will be placed outdoors or that get lots of direct contact, such as switch plates. Use painter's tape to protect electric cords and other non-removable components.


Do not use a grinder or electric sander, as you may chip off the brass plating.


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