How to Spray Paint Hardware

I was just working on the whiteboard tutorial and I when I got to the photos about the primer I used, I realized I haven’t yet shared my new favorite product! I used it to DIY the pulls I used for the wardrobes in my first Domino piece. (PS my next project article will go live…

I was just working on the whiteboard tutorial and I when I got to the photos about the primer I used, I realized I haven’t yet shared my new favorite product! I used it to DIY the pulls I used for the wardrobes in my first Domino piece. (PS my next project article will go live soon!)

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This spray primer is life-changing for those of us with itchy spray-trigger fingers! Especially if you’ve ever wanted to (successfully) spray paint knobs and pulls. In the past (like when I sprayed my laundry room hardware gold) I’ve been a little iffy about whether or not spraying hardware for kitchens or other high-use areas is actually good idea. I was always worried about chipping/adhesion issues.

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Seriously though, this Rustoleum spray primer, which is specially formulated for metal applications, works like a dream. It coats thickly, but evenly, and it really sticks to the metal and provides a great new base for your paint to hold on to.

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When I found these industrial pulls below, I knew I wanted to spray them to look brass and that I would need a really good primer to pull that off. And you know what they say – necessity is the mother of spontaneous purchases. And this one totally worked out for me!
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I found the pulls in the hardcore hardware aisle (not the same aisle as the regular knobs and pulls). This aisle has window sash pulls, latches, hinges and garage door pulls. It’s usually the aisle that also has rope and and chain at Home Depot and Lowes. I love how chunky and squared off these were, but I picked up a few garage doors handles too, just for comparison. I think my gut was right about the square pulls, but I also think these others could be cool in the right application. Filing away for later!
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So, some people might want to use a deglosser or a TSP spray as a first step before spray painting hardware, but I sort of feel like the primer makes that effort unnecessary. Depending on the existing finish you’re working with, deglosser can make for a slightly uneven finish – it can sort of gunk things up sometimes and you never really know when.  So I think it’s best to only use it if you have to.
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I did lightly sand the top of the hardware first, just to make sure there were no bumps or residue anywhere. Then I flipped them over and sprayed the underside first.
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The key, always and every time you’re painting anything, is to do multiple light coats with drying time in between. Even and maybe especially with your primer. After two good coats on the back side, I flipped the hardware over and sprayed the tops.
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If you notice any bumps, drips or dust specs, leave them to dry and then lightly sand them off after the primer has cured. Often dust specs will just wipe away with a cloth after the paint has dried. Don’t mess with wet paint!
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I repeated the same process with my beloved Design Master Gold Metal spray paint. Man, this gold is perfect! The paint is a great quality, but the color is spot-on for what we’re all looking for in brass-like hardware, especially after it fully dries.
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I did one final step and used a spray lacquer on the tops, just to give it an extra layer of protection. It did change the look of the finish a bit (it’s a bit more shiny now and the extra layer changes the way the light refracts, so the gold is a touch less bright). The jury’s out on whether or not I would repeat this step next time. It is nice to have that safety precaution though. Maybe I’d just try a matte sealer and do a really light coat?
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To install the pulls I bought a box of #10 brass 1″ screws. It’s a good idea to drill pilot holes first just to ensure you’re installing them in the exact right spot. One of my pulls is slightly off and it’s driving me nuts (must fix!!).
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The sprayed pulls are holding up perfectly and I love them more the more I see them. My mind has been racing, thinking of other projects to do with that amazing metal primer. (that white board tutorial is coming up though! Stay tuned!)
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Join the Conversation

26 thoughts on “How to Spray Paint Hardware

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! It couldn't be more timely for me, as I'm about to spray paint some metal handles myself…I will bring this post with me to Michael's :)

  2. When I've seen you reference spray painting hardware in the past, I was always nervous about the durability of the finish. I get now how you pulled it off!

    Do you think such a treatment could work for curtain rods with rings on them? I always worry the rubbing of the rings will destroy the finish on the rod, so I've historically shied away from this even though I really want to make my office window hardware disappear by painting it to match the walls.

  3. The reflection of your room in the doors is so beautiful. The pulls really bring in the yellow from the chair. Again, so beautiful!
    I need to do this on a couple of ratty brass swing lamps for my bed. I want a chrome finish…have you one to suggest?

  4. Just found your site-IN LOVE!!! looking forward to following you in between kids napping and life's chaos;) how do you find time for projects!!:) Random question about your bedroom rug-love it and have been on the hunt for one similar-any suggestions?

  5. I went to spray paint a metal headboard recently, and since it was a shiny surface I picked this up. Unfortunately my experience was different from yours. I found it to be very thin, so I had to be super careful of drips. Also, maybe I should have used a deglosser because my second color coat (I did three very thin coats for full and non-drippy coverage) ended up bubbling up in several places. The spray paint and the spray primer would just peel right off! I've never had the issue before. User error?

  6. I have refinished many pieces of furniture and hardware. What has always worked best for me is to steel wool the metal first. Second, I always use BIN primer. It has always worked wonders for me. Apply two coats with a light sand in between and then paint away!!

    Love the hardware you used!

  7. These are amazing! I think I might have to use them too. I do use Kilz though for metal too like Betsy. I have had some bubbling with the metal primer which has never happened with kilz ;)

  8. I just want to tell you that I am new to blogging and really loved your page. Most likely I'm going to bookmark your blog post. You definitely come with good stories. Bless you :)

  9. I love those closet doors… esp the mirrored parts w/ the gold hardware. Absolutely gorgeous and it does not look like a DIY!

  10. Beautiful hardware!
    I would like to spray metal library sconces- would you recommend this or only non-heated metal?

  11. Thank you so much for this amazing idea!! I am about to paint the cabinets in my master bathroom and think this will really make them pop! I will send you pics once I am done!

  12. How have these held up?? I’m debating spraying my kitchen hardware with Design Masters gold (also my fave!) but I’m nervous!

  13. We love this design – and are in the process of replicating something like it right now for our bedroom. How have the painted handles held up?

  14. Hi, these are awesome! I am creating a kitchen island from Ikea cabinets, painted a rich old green, with a chunky oak worktop, and cannot find the right handles….no, wait, at last I have found the perfect handles. Only I don’t know where to get these in the UK! We don’t have Home Depot here, we have Homebase, which is complete pants! What would you call these type of ‘industrial’ handles? Maybe I can find online somewhere. Big Thanks,

  15. Awesome idea. By doing different things we can give different look to our home. Thank you so much for tips. I really want to do but Rustoleum spray primer is not available. Do you which is best alternative of this spray.

  16. Nice idea. Do you find that using this can spray works better than using a paint sprayer (in terms of usability)? I like the way the finish hardware look doesn’t leave a clue this was done with a spray can. Good job!

  17. Thank you so much! This is fantastic. I’m going to try to spray my kitchen cabinet knobs (from stainless to black), before purchasing new. Might save me a lot of money even if I have to touch up flaking once in a while. Did you have your doors custom made or did you purchase them somewhere?

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