How to Paint Metal Light Fixtures

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Things You'll Need

  • Water-based degreaser

  • Rags

  • Blue painter's tape

  • Masking paper

  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloths

  • Galvanized metal etching spray primer

  • Acrylic latex spray paint

Remove the lightbulb from the fixture

If you have decided to remodel your plain, metal light fixtures by adding a coat of paint, you will have to contend with a few complications. First, because metal is a hard, nonporous surface, it is highly-resistant to primer and paint adhesion. You will need to condition the fixtures with a special type of etching primer before you paint, or the paint will flake away soon after application. And since metal light fixtures are slick, you should use a particular application method that will promote a smooth, professional-looking appearance.


Step 1

Cut power to the light fixtures at the circuit breaker. Allow the metallic light fixtures to cool. Remove the lightbulb from the fixture.

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Step 2

Clean the metallic light fixtures thoroughly. Scrub them with a degreaser, and then rinse the metal. Allow the light fixtures to dry out completely.

Step 3

Cover areas adjacent to the metal light fixtures with masking paper and professional painter's tape. Place drop cloths beneath the fixtures.

Step 4

Apply a coat of etching spray primer to the bare metal light fixtures, abrading the metal to enhance adhesion. Wait four hours for the etching primer to cure.


Step 5

Apply acrylic spray paint to the primed metallic light fixtures. Apply a thin coat. Do not soak the surface with paint, or the paint may sag and drip.

Step 6

Allow the fixtures to dry for two hours. Apply a second coat if the etching primer is showing through.


Rinse all of the degreaser from the light fixtures, or the primer may not stick.

Do not use standard tape in place of professional blue painter's tape, or paint may bleed under or through.


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