Things You'll Need
Ammonia based cleaner
Do you have a bronze statue that you want to give some new character? Painting bronze isn't a typical choice, but if you have an object that would otherwise be thrown out, why not try giving it a coat of paint before you banish it to the waste basket? Before you begin, do some research to make sure that the piece isn't an antique. You could ruin the value of the object by painting. Consult with your local antique store about your piece.
Clean your item thoroughly using an ammonia-based cleaner. Use a toothbrush if necessary to get into the cracks and crevices. Rinse the item with clean water and dry thoroughly.
Sand the statue using fine-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper will roughen the surface up a bit, allowing the primer to really adhere to the surface of the bronze. Metal and other slick surfaces chip and peel easily, so it is especially important to prep the surface well. Wipe off sanding dust with a damp rag.
Prime the statue. Use spray primer for the smoothest finish possible. Choose a primer that reads "bonding primer" on the side of the can. Bonding primers are formulated for slick surfaces and will really stick to the bronze. Apply one to two coats of primer, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.
Spray paint the statue. Use a lacquer spray paint. Rustoleum and Krylon both make spray lacquer. Lacquer finishes are shiny and very durable. Spray the paint on in a steady back-and-forth motion, slightly overlapping each pass of the spray can. Apply two to three coats of paint. Let each coat dry before you apply another.
Stain the statue for a more weathered effect. Lacquer paint is extremely glossy. A little bit of stain will dull the shine and add depth to the paint job. Dip a clean rag into a dark brown or black stain. Rub a small amount of stain on the statue and rub off with a clean, dry rag. Continue applying and wiping off stain until you achieve a look that you like.
Drip marks do occasionally happen while using spray paints. To handle drip marks, allow them to dry completely. Use fine grit sandpaper to sand the drip mark flush with the rest of the painted surface. Use a quick shot of spray paint to touch up the sanded area.