How to Paint Eyeglass Frames

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You can paint your eyeglass frames.
Image Credit: Linda Raymond/Moment/GettyImages

For people who wear glasses, the reflection in the mirror can get a bit monotonous. You can change up your other accessories daily, but your specs are always the same, which is why people who wear glasses may start thinking about painting their frames. It's possible, but this is best attempted on an old backup pair or a cheap pair of glasses. Painting eyeglass frames (or painting sunglass frames) is inherently a little risky because there's always a chance when you DIY painting glasses frames that you'll cause permanent damage or dislike the results.


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Preparing Glasses for Painting

Before you paint eyeglass frames, the first order of business is protecting the lenses. Even if you don't love the results of your painted frames, they'll still be functional as long as the lenses aren't damaged. Removing the lenses is the best option if it can be done safely; some frames make this easier than others. If you bought your glasses from an optician, he may be able to safely pop out the lenses for you.

If removing the lenses isn't an option or you don't feel confident that you can do it without damaging them, then cover both sides of each lens with painters' tape. Finally, clean the glasses just before painting the frames. Wash them in warm, soapy water and use a clean, soft cloth to dry them.


Painting Glasses Frames

The material of your glasses frames will affect how you paint them. If you want to paint eyeglass frames made of metal or touch up scratches on your metal frames, automotive paint markers may be perfect. They come in a variety of colors, and the marker tip makes it easy to control how you apply the paint.

To paint eyeglasses frames made of other materials, spray paint tends to be the easiest method and provides a consistent finish that a paintbrush doesn't. Place the frames on newspaper and spray them with paint using multiple coats if necessary. (If the paint doesn't seem to be sticking to the frames, cleaning them and lightly rubbing them with sandpaper may help.) Once you're satisfied with the look of the glasses and the paint is dry, finish with a coat of clear sealant to keep the paint from rubbing off on your skin.


Whatever method you use, work in a well-ventilated area and let the frames dry completely before replacing the lenses or removing the painters' tape. If you did use tape and any paint has gotten on the lenses, try dipping a finger or soft cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently rubbing the area.

Painting Sunglasses Frames

Painting a pair of cheap sunglasses is a low-stakes way of personalizing your look. Painting sunglass frames can be done following the same directions you would use for painting glasses frames, but you may choose to get a little more creative and make specific designs. For example, you can use painters' tape to create stripes or shapes on the frames before painting them.


As for the paint itself, marker pens or permanent markers may work well for this purpose. A bottle of nail polish will brighten up your shades in a pinch. Just know that if your sunglasses are plastic, these painted designs will probably fleck off over time.