The Correct Way to Spray Paint on Nickel Plated Metal

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Things You'll Need

  • Water-based degreaser

  • Coarse sponge

  • Rags

  • Towels

  • Professional painter's tape

  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloths

  • Galvanized metal-etching spray primer

  • Spray enamel

Identify professional painter's tape by its blue color.

Before you paint nickel-plated metal, you must prepare the surface for paint adhesion. Nickel plating is a durable, nonporous surface. This makes it a poor candidate for painted finishes. Before the nickel plating will accept paint, it requires pre-treatment with a special acidic primer, formulated with the ability to etch durable metallic surfaces. Once you've properly conditioned the nickel-plated metal, it can be painted. Apply a durable enamel to avoid flaking. Apply the enamel in the correct manner so you won't be disappointed in the final finish.


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Step 1

Clean the nickel-plated metal with a water-based degreaser, using a coarse sponge. Rinse the degreaser off with wet rags and dry the metal with towels.

Step 2

Protect portions of the metal you do not want painted by covering them with painter's tape. Protect flooring with drop cloths.


Step 3

Coat the nickel plating with a galvanized metal-etching spray primer. Spray in a side-to-side, sweeping motion. Maintain an 8-inch distance between the nickel plating and the spray nozzle at all times. Wait four hours for the metal to dry.

Step 4

Coat the primed nickel plating with spray enamel. Spray in a side-to-side, sweeping motion, keeping the spray nozzle at least 8 inches from the nickel plating. Wait four hours for the enamel to dry.


Do not prime over unwashed nickel-plated metal, or you may have problems with adhesion.

Do not paint directly over unprimed nickel-plated metal, or the finish will peel.

Do not use ordinary latex, acrylic or oil primers on nickel plating, or the finish will flake.