Spray Painting Metal Hardware: Brass to Nickel

The metallic winds of change have been blowing through my kitchen this week.  The shiny polished brass (which I still love) is being replaced with nickel for an update.  The song… “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold” – has been playing through my head as I work.

The brass fixtures and hardware were starting to show their age and not in a good way. I bought new drawer and cabinet  hardware, but there were two items that I could not find replacements for – the brass towel bars on the island and the push plates on a lazy Susan cabinet.

They both got a spray paint makeover. I will show you the before and after on Monday, but while I am busy at work, I thought I would  share what I found out about spray painting metal hardware and silver spray paint – it is not all the same!

Spray painting metal hardware brass to nickel silver

Some women collect shoes, I collect cans of spray paint.  I do like shoes, too, but my spray paint collection far exceeds my shoes.  I went to my stash to find I had not just one can of silver, but 5 cans – all different brands.

Hmmmm!  which one will look the best?   I wasn’t sure, so I did a test on one of the towel bars to find the silver spray paint that looked the most like real metal.

Here are my findings:

The Winner

Champion-Sprayon-Sterling-Silver-Spray-Enamel-Spray-Paint

 #1   Champion Sprayon Sterling Silver Spray Enamel   It is warm, but bright and has a nice glossy glow that adds depth to the finish.  This is the one I used.

 

The Runner-Up

Plasti-kote-Metallic-Spray-paint-in-silver

#2  Plastic-Kote Metallics in Silver #19101   Even though I did not get the coat even for this sample, it has nice color and shine, plus the depth of color makes it resemble real metal.

 

Rustoleum-Specialty-Metallic-Spray-Paint-in-Silver

#3   Rustoleum Specialty Metallic in Metallic Silver   This produced the darkest silver. It was too flat for the look I was after.

 

Krylon-Metallic-Spray-Paint-Brilliant-Silver

#4  Krylon Metallic Brilliant in Silver – nice and bright – but too flat of a finish, plus it had a slight texture – not as smooth as the others.

 

Krylon-Special-Purpose-Metallics-Spray-Paint-in-Silver

#5  Krylon Special Purpose Metallic in Bright Silver #1401 –  nice coverage, but too flat and had a slight texture to it also.  No depth to the finish.

 

Tips to remember when spray painting metal with metallic paint.

  • Every paint I tried covered and adhered well.
  • Sand the surface first with very fine grit sandpaper and then clean well with a scouring pad.  Let dry.
  • Use one light coat of metal primer for ensured adhesion. Let dry.
  • Shake the can for a few minutes before applying and shake as you spray.
  • Let the first coat dry for about 30 seconds, then spray on another coat to get a super smooth finish. Usually on non-metal items I wait longer between coats, but to get a nice smooth finish, I have found two quick coats do the job perfectly.
  • Optional:  Protect the paint after it is dry with a light coat of  clear protective finish. Most spray paint brands have stain and glossy finishes.

Brass Push-Plates

before

I didn’t get a photo showing these door plates in their polished bright brass state.  I used very fine sandpaper to rough up the surface so the paint would have something to adhere to.  I liked the look after sanding.  If you want to dull the shine on bright brass – this gives it a brushed feel and looks quite modern. 

How-to-spray-paint-bright-brass

after

2 coats of Champion Sprayon Sterling Silver – perfect!

Spray-Paint-Brass-with-Champion-Silver-Spray-Paint

I will show you how they look on the cabinets on Monday.

I also have exciting news to share and a big change for one project that is making me do a happy dance!

See you then.  XO

What-is-the-best-silver-metallic-spray-paint

 

 



Comments

  1. says

    This is exactly what I was looking for! Our home built in the 80’s has a fireplace with brass doors that I want to replace to fit the rest of my decor. They’re an odd shape and apparently the brick would crumble if we tried to put new ones in. I figure painting them is the best option for now but I wasn’t sure which brand to try. Thanks for the comparisons!

    • says

      Be careful when choosing a paint on objects that will be exposed to high temperatures. The paint will bubble and crack. If you want to paint items that get high heat exposure, you need to choose one that is rated for high temps. I know that Rustoleum has a few colors of high temp paint.

    • says

      Hi Crystal – I bought it at the crafts store, but if you can’t find it you can buy it online. “Google” it and a few online stores will pop up.

  2. says

    Oh man, I love brass right now! I was cringing to see you paint it :( But who knows, so I guess I’m your gold friend. I have never heard of that song, but now it’s stuck in my head lol My daughter just sprayed a metal base with gold and it is dull, I will have to check if that Champion brand makes a gold spray..I’m sure they do.

    • says

      Hi Stephanie –
      I like the brass a lot, too – but with the stainless appliances and faucet, it just doesn’t go. Everything I do to my house, is getting it ready for resale. If it makes you happy I have brass on my furniture in every other room – that is going with us where ever we land, so I don’t have to change it :) I am not sure if the Champion Sprayon comes in gold or not. Try Googling it to see. XO

  3. says

    Wow Diane what a timely post, I want to spray paint some brass lamps but wasn’t sure which paint yo use. Now you have it solved for me. Can’t wait to see your hardware all installed in your kitchen. I love everything you do! Thanks for your great blog.

  4. says

    This is a really helpful post! THANK YOU for taking pictures of each brand and how it looked! The finished towel bar looks great too!

  5. Sheryll & Critters. says

    You did such a flawless, just perfect job.. it surely is gorgeous! But I too do not like the silver, brushed nickel or chrome. I have it in the kitchen already and in my main bath….. that is way more than I can deal with. My bedroom bath I purposely bought a gold faucet when I replaced my sink and cabinet in there. And I am about to respray my in wall (stripped screws) toilet paper holder, so I need someone to tell me the best for it. I want shiny gold. I really tried to like this new brushed nickel and ORB kick and I have gave up and decided I don’t care for either….. will stay will brass or shiny gold.

  6. says

    This is one informative post…I love all of the results…but the one you have chosen is completely and utterly perfect! Thanks so much for sharing with us…I wish I could add up the time you saved everyone and how many decision you have made easy : ) hugs…

  7. Georgia S. says

    I have been doing the exact same thing! Except I am changing my brass to hammered brown like you did your outdoor dining set. I also wanted to do my chandeliers and others fixtures that I didn’t want to take down. I found that Rustoleum also makes the hammered brown paint in a can now, which matches what they have in spray form! I have transformed both chandeliers, and the look is amazing! I just cleaned them first, then painted with a throw-away brush. Thanks for the inspiration from your outside light fixtures you painted! I have been looking for something similar since I read that post. I have also done all the knobs in my kitchen and guest bath, now on to the ceiling fans and lights! Thanks Diane!

  8. Peggy says

    GREAT article!!! Just had the idea to paint all of my brass hardware; it us EVERYWHERE, and I am NOT a fan. Too bad some of us can’t trade–would save a LOT of work on both sikdes! Has anyone tried recreating the OIF? Does it require the same treatment, or is there something I can just oxidize it with??? THANK YOU., Diane!

  9. Peggy says

    Sorry for typos: new keyboard has different hand layout–oops. Hence–should be SIDES and OBF.

  10. Maria says

    I have been looking for national/local stores in the Dallas area that sell the Champion sterling silver spray enamel and cant find it anywhere. I have tried Home Depot, Lowes and the Dollar general store…any suggestions?? And I’m considering using it to paint over the brass on my mirrored sliding closet doors…would you recommend the champion enamel over the other ones for this job Thanks Diane!

    • says

      Hi Maria – you can order the paint online at a few places if you can’t find it. There are many nice silver toned spray paint, I just like the gleam in this one the best. Check out the website: createforless .com I think they have it. I would go to your local craft store and look there, if they don’t have it your Plastik cote or Rustoleum.

      • says

        I started out loving brass, yellow gold etc but I’m now liking brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze. Which finish gave the closest finish to brushed nickel? I spray painted everything in my master bath with Rustoleum hammered metal. Not quite like brushed nickel but closer than brass or gold.

        • says

          Hi Debbie – Since I wrote the post I have found a new metallic paint made by Krylon. It is called Brushed Metallics in Satin Nickel. Paint companies are always changing their labels so you may not find the exact one I used, but look for Krylon Metallics or Krylon Brushed Metallics.

  11. Pallavi says

    Hello,
    The comparison was good to know. Are these metallic spray paints good for wooden surface as well?

  12. caroline says

    Hi, I just tried the spray you recommend out on a couple of old brass handles from my powder room. however, they did not come out very shiny, more matte, and don’t look very metallic, really. Any ideas? Can I sandpaper it off and try again? I’m trying to redo the powder room in our rented house for $100 in 2 days before my husband gets back from a trip ;)

    • says

      Hi Caroline – There could be a few reasons they did not come out with more shine. The can needs more shaking. You can never shake a spray paint can enough. Another reason, if you live where it is hot, the paint may have dried too fast. You can remove the paint easily with paint remover or some very fine steel wool and detergent. If you really want them to be super glossy – you can always add a clear spray glaze over the metallic paint. Just make sure you get the super gloss clear spray sealer. Some brands call it high gloss glaze. They sell it at crafts stores. Let the paint dry and then spray on the high gloss sealer. You may need 2 coats to make sure you get an even gloss.

  13. Melanie says

    Hello Diane.
    I was thinking it would be nice to get your feedback on this lamp I have, found it in a 2nd hand stores and I just love the beauty of it. I have no idea what it is made out of…plus the lamp shade is really awful with it, just got a cheap one at Walmart since I couldn’t find better for the moment…thought I could just paint it or decorate it. Not as easy as I thought. I also have this vintage style mirror (also got from 2nd hand store) that I wish to put up in my living room, but I wish to paint it into the same color as the lamp…so my question for this one is, how to pant such color? I am hoping you get the chance to email me so I am able to show you the photos of what I am dealing with, would be so much appreciated to hear from you.
    Thank you.
    Melanie

    • says

      Hi Melanie – Email the photos to me and I will take a look. I receive quite a lot of email questions and try to get them answered as soon as I can. It may be a few days to a week before I can get a reply back to you. Let me know what color family you are looking to paint them and if you like a modern or an aged look.

  14. Livonet says

    Hello, Excellent article. I wonder that this paint spray will work on my leather silver shoes? Thanks so much

  15. says

    I am trying to update my room with a slight change…

    the knobs on my night tables, dresser etc are dark oldish copper & furniture dark brown ( chocolate brown ) I would say.

    I want to spray paint the knobs silver, but not chrome…

    Do I still need to sand them a bit or do I use primer & then silver spray paint , whats a good paint for this look ?

    Thanks

    • says

      Hi Sandra – Always sand and clean before painting. The paint will adhere much better. Using a metal primer is fine and will create a no color coat so that when you spray the silver paint on, the color will be true. If you don’t use it, you may just need to spray a few more light coats of spray paint on. Use Rustoleum or Krylon silver paints – they have a more matte finish.

  16. Dan McDermott says

    Will the Champion Sprayon Sterling Silver Spray paint match towel bars that are brushed nickel or polished nickel? That is what I’m trying to match, so I was wondering if Champion Silver is a good match. I know Rustoleum Silver is not a good match(it is too silvery).

    It sure is hard to paint something that looks like polished/brushed nickel!

  17. Donna says

    Like Dan I am trying to change to brushed nickel. I have a large polished brass Roman tub faucet that is very costly to replace for various reasons.
    I just found your site and would love to be able to spray paint it. Can this technique be used on a faucet? Is it possible to get a brushed nickel look?

    • says

      Hi Donna –

      You can spray paint a faucet for the short term successfully. It will look great. In the long run, it may come off the faucet, especially if you live in a cold region and the water is very cold. This can cause condensation and extreme temp changes to the metal, eventually the paint will chip off no matter how well you prime and sand the surface beforehand. If you want to go for it. Sand and prime with a metal primer and then paint. Use only very light coats when the faucet is room temp.

      If your faucet was brushed brass – after spraying it would look more like brushed nickel. Smooth polished brass – it will take on the color, but you will not get a real brushed texture. I have found a very good brush-on oil paint by Benjamin Moore. Molton Metallics. I think this paint is amazing. I redid outside lights with it. They have a range of metallic colors to choose from. You may want to check it out.

    • says

      HI Donna – I know I replied to you already, but I was at Michaels yesterday and I saw a spray paint that was said it was “Brushed Nickel”. I think it was Krylon or Rustoelum. It was $9.

      • Derek says

        I’ve used it and was extremely unimpressed. The grey color is nice but it looks like it has glitter in it. I’d guess a matte silver would be better.

        • says

          Hi Derek –

          Did you use the right color of paint, maybe the brand makes one that has glitter in it? If you spray painted in the heat, the hot air sometimes dries the paint before it hits the surface. It will look rough. Another reason it may look like it has glitter in it was the can was not shaken enough before application. So many factors come into play. It could be that they changed the formula, too. My can I used was a few years old.

          • Derek says

            Unfortunately, none of the above applied …the Rustoleum Universal Satin nickel is just really glittery. The Krylon SN is better, but I’m going to try the universal silver u

          • says

            I think I know what you mean by glittery now – some metal looking paints do have a texture for lack of another word in them. You seem open to experimenting which is good since you will find exactly what you want. Don’t give up.

  18. Jen says

    Hi Diane,

    Great tips! I just bought my first home and the bathroom is completely decked out in polished brass and I wanted to alter the fixtures without having to spend too much. I live in the Pacific Northwest so it’s a pretty mild climate…do you think I could do this or would the paint just come off easily? Even the tub slider is brass. Any help would be appreciated.

    • says

      Hi Jen- I get asked this question a lot. Any metal can be painted successfully. The only problem that may arise is if you spray paint the faucet. It will look great painted, but after awhile the change in the water temp going through the faucet might make the paint peel off. It may not happen, but it probably will. The key to success is in the prep. Make sure you sand and clean the surface well before painting. If the spray paint you are using, does not have a primer in it. (Most do nowadays, but check the label if it states no primer needed) Use one light coat of metal primer. Once dry spray on your color. Once the paint is dry, you should seal it with a clear spray protective finish since the room will get a lot more moisture. All spray paint brands make clear finishes in spray cans. They come in satin or glossy.

  19. says

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    to your website? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would really benefit from some of the
    information you present here. Please let me know if
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  20. Elaine says

    Hi: Is there a step by step procedure I could follow. I paid a lot of money for my brass pieces back in 1990 and they still look great but I’m tired of the brass. I thought of having them chrome dipped but it’s probably a lot more money than a few cans of spray paint. I just don’t want to screw them up. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you. Elaine

    • says

      Hi Elaine – It is only paint, if you don’t like it simply remove the paint. The key to making spray paint work is follow the directions on the can. Each brand has specifics on drying and re-coating times. IF you follow the steps in this post, you will get an nice even finish. Practice on a few pieces you don’t care about first, and then paint the pieces you like. http://inmyownstyle.com/spray-paint-faqs

    • says

      Adding to this discussion…
      I found that the finish got sort of sticky with use. Even when I waited 4 days before using it, the faucet and handles sort of never dried and would mush a bit with hand use.
      To fix this I sprayed them again then sprayed them with sealer after they dried. Unfortunately, the sealer made the metallic lose it’s awesome shiny look. Fortunatly, they now look like pewter and I like that look.

  21. Katie says

    hi , I just spray my fireplace metal door with the metallic spray paint , it look beautiful but I was wondering if it represents any hazard ? Should I remove it and find a paint for fireplace ? Thank you !!

  22. candace o'brien says

    i want to change the color of my kitchen sink. what is the best paint and technique so the new finish holds up

    • says

      Hi Candance –

      Painting faucets can be a bit tricky. The problem is they go from hot to cold and the metal changes temps constantly. If your water is very cold – condensation on the metal will eat away at the paint over time. You can paint the faucet, but know it may need a touch up depending on the amount of use and water temp. I would use a brand name spray paint that is for metal. You could use a metal primer on the faucet first to help with adhesion of the paint you want to use if it is not a Paint and Primer in One formula -Rustoleum or Krylon. Sand the metal to rough it up so the paint has something to stick to. Read the directions on the back of the can before using. Spray on a light coat every 5 minutes until you have the coverage you want. Don’t use the faucet for a few days so the paint can cure. It will look beautiful right after you paint it, but over time it may change and need a touch up from time to time.

  23. Barb says

    Hi Diane,
    I have a narrow accent strip of a brass colored ceramic tile around the back of my tub. I think it would be too difficult to spray while protecting the surrounding area. I thought of using a good brush and paint. You had suggested a Sherwin Williams oil paint. I’m wondering if that would dry?

    • patty says

      you can use a metallic craft paint and small brush. Clean area with 91% isopropyl alcohol and then paint.
      I had to paint the piano hinge for my entertainment center and it came out great.

  24. Kasha says

    Diane,

    I recently bought two lamps for my bedroom that are brown in color. I have picture frames that are a brushed silver color and would like to paint/leaf the lamps to match but I am afraid of ruining the lamps. Any suggestions on what to do and/or what materials to use?

    I am uncertain of what my new lamps are made of…

    Any help would be insightful!

  25. Brad says

    Dear Diane,

    I have just ordered the Champion Sprayon Sterling Silver Spray Enamel for a new project. Thank you for the original idea. Can you please let me know of your recommendation for the best clear coat? This will be on a powder room mirror.

    Thanks in advance,
    Brad

    • says

      Hi Brad –

      I think I would use Minwax Polycrylic. Itis water based and will not yellow the metal color over time. It is made in a spray can and also as a brush on finish. If using other brands – Look for ones that say “Clear coat”. I try to stay away from “Extra glossy” or the word “Thick” These tend to yellow quickly. If you were using a gold color, yellowing does not matter as much.

  26. Sue says

    Such wonderful information!
    I did not read about anyone spray painting a ceiling fan.
    I know to seal the motor air intake vents but I am worried it will look like a painted fan. I am keeping the paddles wooden.
    Any tips?
    Thank you!

      • Pat says

        I am renovating a condo that had bright brass ceiling fans. I carefully covered the ceiling area around the fans with taped newspaper and painted them with several light sprays of Rustoleum High Gloss White. They look fantastic. The blades were already white, so I didn’t paint them.

  27. says

    Hi
    I have a Brown aluminium and glass door with stainless steel hinges.
    Can I paint the hinges successfully?
    Thanks

    • says

      Hi Sue – It is best to do it using spray paint so it will be super smooth – no brush marks. Adding a spray metal primer is a good idea. Lightly sand and clean the metal, then spray the primer, let it dry for the amount of time stated on the can label. Then spray the paint.

  28. Jessica says

    Hi there,
    I’ve been thinking about attempting to spray paint my bathroom light fixtures to give an updated look since new light fixtures are so expensive. I have two toned with gold and silver now but was thinking silver and ORB to match match my bedroom. What paint is best for ORB and would I use painters tape to cover the silver parts I want to stay silver? Any tips or advice? Thanks!

      • Jessica says

        Diane, no worries! It stands for oil-rubbed bronze which is an almost black with tones of copper/bronze and some shimmer depending on how the light hits it…. Our half bath uses it and we have bronze curtain rods in the bedroom and bathroom that it would play well with. I’m not sure about the silver though! But this would be my first spray painting project… Also I plan to paint the bathroom hardware too!

        • says

          I have not seen it shortened that way, or it was just too late last night when I read your question :-) I like Rustoleum – their Universal Metallic line is the oil rubbed bronze I have used in the past. You can see the color in this post: http://inmyownstyle.com/2012/12/pottery-barn-knock-off-cucina-paper-towel-holder.html

          You can get it at any home improvement store. First sand the piece to rough it up just a bit. Not too hard to makes deep scratches, but just enough to remove the shine on the metal. Clean it off and let dry. Spray light coats 10 -12 inches away in a sweeping motion every 3 -5 minutes until you get the coverage you want. Then let it sit. Let dry at least 24 hours before touching it especially if you live in a humid area. You can use the paint on any metal or any surface in your bathroom. If you plan to spray the faucet, it will look good at first, but the condensation that occurs on the faucet will make the paint eventually fail. The biggest mistake first time spray painters make is not shaking the can enough and spraying one area at a time, you need to shake the can well and use long sweeping motions to get a pro look. Best of luck with your project.

          • Jessica says

            Thanks for the tips!! And I’m glad you mentioned the faucet thing as that’s good to know…. I can’t wait to try this!

  29. Wendy lacska says

    Hi Diane,
    I sure am glad I found your blog on this topic! I ordered and have received the Sterling Silver Spray Enamel. I am remodeling a bathroom and everything will be brushed nickel except our old brass wall sconces, they will be this spray silver color. I’ll sand them with fine grade sand paper, clean them, and coat as per your instructions. I’m going to buy Minwax Polycrylic for the final coat. That comes in
    finishes, what would you recommend for my project, gloss, semi-gloss or satin? Thanks for your help!

  30. Aimee says

    I have old brass hinges on my kitchen cabinets. Do you think
    spray painting them nickel would work??

    • says

      It will if you seal them with clear spray sealer. If the doors get lots of use, the moving part of the hinge may wear over time. Use very light coats when spraying the hinges. Let dry for a few days before applying a clear sealer. Any name brand of clear sealer is fine. Try not to use the cabinets too much so that the paint and sealer have more time to cure. This will only help with adhesion.

  31. Jackie says

    Hi, Diane,

    Thank you for all the informative information you give to all. That is very time consuming, and you are very generous to share via e-mails and your web site. My question goes back to spray painting the towel bar which is what I am doing as you did. How has the paint held up as a result of hanging a damp towel on the towel bar? Has the paint deteriorated in any way from a damp towel? Thank you again for sharing your expertise with us all.

    Jackie

    • says

      Hi Jackie – The towels I hang on my island are decorative only so the towel bars do not get wet. If your towels are going to be wet or damp when you hang them, I would seal the paint with a polyurethane/sealer. Every major brand of spray paint has a spray sealer. Once your color is fully dry, check the label on the can as to when you should seal. It is usually at least 24 hours or when the paint is fully dry. You don’t want to spray the sealer on too early or it could wrinkle the painted finish.

  32. Dotti says

    I just used the Champion sterling silver sprayon paint. I did not have good results. It spattered terribly! I now have to sand it off and start over. It also did not come out shiny. I shook it for 5 minutes prior to spraying. I shook it while I was spraying. 1/2 way through the can, it just started spattering the paint out instead of a fine mist. Do you know if the company stands behind the product? I ordered 2 cans online and the shipping alone was $8.95. I have done tons f spray painting. Never had this happen before!

    • Myla says

      Hi Dottie…for what it’s worth, i just finished using the Champion spray and struggled initially as well. Contrary to typical spray paint projects where several thin coats works best, this particular metallic paint didn’t seem to work as well that way. Fortunately, I had a ‘happy accident’ while painting and a heavy hand with the spray paint immediately revealed the sheen I was hoping for. As for the spray, I’ve had similar (spatter) experiences in the past with Rustoleum products but did not have an issue with these Champion cans. Hope you were able to find good customer service and new paint!
      Good luck!!!

  33. Myla says

    Hi Diane.
    First, let me say THANK YOU for the great summary. It was a huge time saver while looking to refinish some of our old door hardware. I LOVE the Champion sterling silver finish since it does still look like metal. My dilemma has been finding a clear coat that doesn’t alter the finish. I tested one handle with Rustoleum’s clear gloss Ultracover but it immediately altered the finish and made it darker and almost dull looking. Then I thought a clear lacquer may be the way to go, but alas, the same results as the Rustoleum test. Any suggestions on a sealer that won’t alter the finish?

    Thanks again!!!

  34. Sonja G. says

    Came across your web site while while searching for spray paints. Your informative and creative website is inspiring, so much so that I wish you were my neighbor. I’ve bookmarked your website and I’ll be visiting often.
    Sea you soon…

    • says

      Thanks for reading, taking the time to connect, and say hi Sonja. I agree with you that it would be nice to live next door to each other and all us decor loving kindred spirits. What a great neighborhood that would be :-)

  35. Motheroflittle says

    I’m updating a bath right now and switching out all brass for chrome and nickel. I got my spray paint at Sherwin Williams for around $6. It is called Chrome Aluminum . It is very bright and shiny but not glittery. I’m going to brave the cabinet hinges as the new sets I purchased do not fit. I already spray painted the collars around the ceiling light fixtures. They look pretty good. Thanks for all your wonderful tips and encouragement .

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