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How to Paint a Rusted Faux Finish on a Brass Chandelier

How to makeover a brass chandelier using craft store acrylic paint and supplies.

Make over a brass chandelier

Of all the projects I have been working on in my dining room, this brass chandelier makeover excites me the most.

I created exactly what I envisioned. I want this room to be neutral, casual, yet elegant.  I mixed old and rusty with a little bit of upscale – crystals. I just love the contrast of the two. 

Chandelier BEFORE Painting

Here is my builder grade fake brass chandelier.

Brass Chandelier Makeover using Paint

Close Up of Painted Rusted Finish I Created With Paint

close up of rusted painted finish n a brass chandelier

How to Paint a Rusted Faux Finish on a Brass Chandelier

To transform the chandelier into something more that fit my decorating style, I didn’t remove the fixture to work to transform it. Instead, I worked on it right where it was hanging from the ceiling. 

To do this, I taped around the cap that meets the ceiling and painted it the same way I did the rest of the chandelier. I moved the dining room table out of the way and used a step stool to reach it to make painting the fixture easy to work on.

I started painting the chandelier by sponging on some oil-based gloss brown paint that I had on hand and then on top of that I used textured spray paint in Rustic Umber, but did not apply it in the ordinary spray painting way. 

I loved the color and the texture this paint offered and could not find something else so I sprayed it into a plastic pan and dipped a sea sponge into it to dab on to chandelier.

This way, the coverage was random.  Once that was dry, I then dabbed on Decor Arts craft paint in Rich Espresso and let it dry.

Brass Chandelier Makeover using Paint
Brass Chandelier Makeover using Paint

Then I layered on two different shades of white – one was a gloss white I had and the other an off white called Bleached Sand from Americana using bits of an old sea sponge.

I kept layering the browns and the white until I liked the finish which looked textured, pitted,  and rusty.

It took me a few days of dabbing every so often.  Skipping drying time, it probably took about 45 minutes total. 

After quite a bit of layering the paints, it just looked right.  Trial and error, just keep adding layers – you can’t add too much.

Chandelier Makeover Ideas

Once I liked the finish, it was time to add some sparkle as a contrast to the old rusty look.

I gathered florist’s wire, Gorilla Glue, a Dremel Rotary Drill, a pointy drill bit, wire cutters, and a pair of  jewelry making pliers.

Chandelier Makeover Ideas

I bought crystal beads at Michael’s. They normally sell for $5.99 each, but if you wait for a sale you can get two for one.

I used two different size beads.  I needed 108 larger crystals and 90 smaller ones.

Brass Chandelier Makeover Ideas

To create the crystal drapes around the chandelier, I marked the chandelier with a marker where I wanted the crystal beads to hang.

On my chandelier, I made a hole on the inner edge of each candle cup, with a matching hole on the top section of the chandelier.

Brass Chandelier Makeover Ideas

Once I had the placement marked, I used my Dremel drill and the pointy bit.   I drilled holes in my newly painted chandelier.

I first used a straight drill bit, but that just bounced off the metal when I tried to drill.  The pointy bit went right through very easily.

The metal got hot, but it only took a second to make each hole.  I was thinking it would be harder and had told my hubby I might need his help, but I didn’t. 

You should probably turn off the power unless you won’t be anywhere close to the electrical wires.

Brass Chandelier Makeover Ideas

I strung the smaller beads on florist wire and threaded one end through the candle cup and tied the wire into a knot.

Brass Chandelier Makeover Ideas
Brass Chandelier Makeover Ideas

I then threaded the other side through the hole in the top section of the chandy. I pulled it taut and then made another knot.

I trimmed the excess wire with wire cutters and put a dab of Gorilla Glue on each knot to make sure each string of crystal beads would be secure.

Brass Chandelier Makeover Ideas

For the crystal beads that drape around the arms, I used the larger beads.  I did one section at a time (one arm to the next).

I strung 18 beads onto the wire and then tied it around the bottom of each candle cup.

Brass Chandelier Makeover using Paint and Crystals

I wrapped the wire under and over to make sure the string of beads were secure and then cut off the excess wire.

How to makeover a chandelier

I then made 5 – tiered drops to add to each arm.  I placed three big beads and one tiny one on a jewelry making endpin.

I used the pliers to make a closed hook at the top.

How to make over a brass chandelier

 I then threaded each one onto wire and wrapped it around each arm of the chandy.

How to make over a brass chandelier

Then I dabbed the exposed wire with Rich Espresso from Decor Arts using a tiny paintbrush to hide the wire.

The bottom little accent on the chandelier looked like it needed something so I added a tiered drop to it.  There was nothing to wire it to so I flattened the closed hook end against the bead.

I then hot glued it to the bottom.  This might not last forever, but if it does fall off I can simply hot glue it on again. 

Remember the before?

Before and After Chandelier Makeovers

Here is the AFTER

Make over a brass chandelier
Before and After Chandelier Makeovers
DIY Chandelier Makeovers
Dinng Room Chandelier Before and After Transformations
Before and After Chandelier Makeovers
How to paint brass

I also made a fabric chain cover for my transformed chandelier.

You can find out how I accomplished it in this post – How to make a Chandelier Cover.  I didn’t use Velcro for this one, I just stood on a ladder and sewed it right around the chain.

Two more projects in this room and then I will be ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner.

Brass Chandelier Makeover

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134 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing these tips, they are very useful as I will be soon taking on aging and decorating an iron chandelier myself. Great tips!!!

  2. This is exactly what I want to do for my light. I will try it on a scrap piece first to get the color/texture I want. I’m going to have to leave the lights hanging while I do this! Glad you didn’t fall and hope I can do as nice of a job as you did. Thanks!

    1. Hi-Painting your light this way is very easy. It is more getting the guts to start. :-) All you have to do is dab the paint on, step away to look where more or less is needed. Let dry repeat using a mix of colors – layering them over each other. If you dab too much of one color on that you don’t like, let dry and dab more of the color you want to see. You really can’t mess it up. Experimenting on a scrap piece is a great idea to get the hang of dabbing the paint on and how much you will need to load the sponge with.

  3. Your attention to detail really paid off! Your paint finish gives a true authentic patina. Great artistry! Thx for sharing!

    1. Thans Sherry – When we moved from the house where I made over the dining room chandelier in the post I was sad to leave it behind. Really sad, but the home we moved to there was no place to put it, so it stayed with the house. Thanks for reading my blog.

  4. I’m incredibly impressed with your dining room chandelier redo! I really want to try to do mine just like it, but wondering if you sealed it somehow? I’m worried with using oil based, spray, and acrylic paints what to clear coat it with so it can be cleaned easily, but not bubble.

    1. Hi Dawn – I did not seal the chandelier and it was very easy to clean. I used a Swiffer Duster over it. And a damp rag with Windex on it for the crystals. When painting, let each coat dry completely before adding another layer. This will lessen any bubbling of the paint. It took me a few days to a week to finish mine. I looked at it everyday when I came home from work and dabbed more paint on it until I liked what I saw. So don’t rush the layering of paint and it will be fine and lasts forever.

  5. I am so amazed with the transformation of the chandelier … I love it !!! I want to try this on some pieces Thank you

    1. Hi Norma – Thanks for all the nice comments you have left me and for reading my posts. I am so happy that they are inspiring you. The brass chandelier I made over was in my previous house. I wanted to bring it to my current house, but there was no place for it to go, so I left it. :-( It was one of my favorite items I made over.

  6. Just as brilliant and beautiful as the day you created this fab finished chandelier!

  7. Diane, I think that the finish you devised is the most original of any I have seen before. I picked up a very large brass chandelier and 2 smaller ones at the Habitat store for $30 total, and am going to give this a try. They will be hung from trees (electrified) for a wedding, and the finish will be perfect. So glad you posted this because you saved me a lot of time experimenting. Thanks! A terrific and creative post.

    1. chandelier is beautiful,you used two different metallic paint one is espresso can’twait tell color of other one can you share other one? also what type of white paint you you used. thank for all your wonderful ideas

      1. Hi Dorothy – Both the metallics I used (shown in photo) are Rich Espresso – One is large and one small bottle. The white gloss color is from a can of paint I had on hand. It was Alabaster from Sherwin Williams, but you can use any white gloss craft paint in its place since you only need a little. I just kept layering the colors on until I like what I saw. You can add more white, more brown whatever look you are after you can create it with paint.

  8. This is truly amazing! You definitely need to do this project again on YouTube. I can’t find anything else like it-

  9. Impressive! You are truly talented in that kind of craft. This DIY tutorial on how to restore and redesign a brass chandelier is really amazing. I like the idea of the rustic look and the addition of crystal beads on the side, it’s very creative. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Finding your post a few years later. But good things never go out of style, right? This is AMAZING!! I am usually a lurker. But I just had to comment. This could have been found at a flea market in Paris. I have used textured paint and love it. Even went so far as to paint my laminate kitchen countertops. But I’ve never thought beyond that. And this is exactly what I see in my head for my ‘sitting room’. Can’t wait to try it out. You’ve made it look so easy. Thanks a lot!

  11. thank goodness there is someone out there who is doing the projects that I would do, if I were that clever. I know you put extra effort into those jobs that you photograph and post, where I would probably say, naw, that’s good enough for me. Best of luck, fond regards, Linda

  12. I’m trying to recreate this, but it is not coming out even close to yours :(. How many layers do you think you did? Any suggestions? I love yours!

    1. Hi Corrine – I added many layers. I worked it until I liked the look. I did a layer, let it dry, came back later to see if I liked it, then added more. It was not so much one complete layer, but dabs of paint all over that I let dry and then dabbed more on in areas that I thought needed more or less color. Keep adding the various colors, add more or less of some of the colors. Stand back and squint your eyes to focus on areas that may need to be blended in more. I did not like mine after only a few layers – just keep at it until you like what you see. More layers make it look more like real rust and aging.

  13. This looks very real and shabby chic in the right setting. However, a colonial style brass chandelier never goes out of style. But if anyone needs a change then this works.

  14. This is an awesome idea. I would love to do this to my mom’s ugly gold 90’s chandy. Thanks!

  15. When I saw the ‘before’ photo of the chandelier, I thought to myself – this is such a beautiful chandelier, why does she want to spoil it??? ….. then I saw the after photo and I was completely bowled over. It looks sooo awesome!!! Great job Diane

  16. knew it me too! when you said you couldn’t add 2 +2Funny but am the same way. that i why I married A PiecesThink the artist eye helps too! Keep up the insperation for the rest of us!

  17. absolutley love it all,are you good @ puzzles too?Are you a Cancer child? thanks a ton!

    1. Hi Jan – Yes, I was born at the end of June under the sign of water – Cancer :) The description and characteristics of the Astrological sign are pretty accurate for my personality.

  18. You are truly gifted and inspirational! I look forward every morning to see what you have created and shared!

    Thank you!

  19. Absolutely love it. Great job and thank you for the tutorial. Exactly what I have been envisioning doing myself.

  20. I wanted to share an idea for inexpensive way to get jewels for different projects like the chandelier. I go to the $jewlery store and you can get a whole string of “bobbles” for a $1-$2. I just found your site. It is AWESOME!!! thanks for sharing your ideas and knowledge. It is much appreciated.

  21. Where have you been hiding and why haven’t I known about you sooner! I actually GAVE away TWO brass chandeliers similar to this and am shaking my head in amazment at the transformation you achieved here! Stunning and beautiful! Well done! Your blog goes on my FAVORITES list for sure now! Thank you!

  22. Thank you for your reply to my email. I see the 3 Crystal “drops” on each of the lower arms now upon closer inspection. I only noticed the strands at first. By the way, I’ve been looking around and I think shipwreckbeads.com has the lowest price on beads whether it’s Swarovski or the lower priced crystals. artbeads.com is within a penny or so and is well-known among crafters as well.

  23. I want to do this. I’ve started collecting gold, topaz, and clear crystals. For the larger crystals you show the 3 large crystals on a pin and a cover. I’m not clear what you co after that. I see the loop on the end. Do you connect a strand to that loop after you have “started” from the connection to the chandelier with those 3 crystals on a pin?

  24. Diane, I absolutely love this!! You did such an amazing job! I love your antiquing method, I’m going to use this method on a metal coat rack I found at Marshalls. I can’t wait to try it!! Thank you so much for sharing!!
    ~Jessica

  25. This is a brilliant tutorial! Thank you so much for posting – I was just trying to figure out how to do this very thing!

  26. Thank you for the inspiration. I am going to attempt this with my light fixture that I was going to replace when I got the money. Now I will try this. Can you tell me approx. how many beads you used? Thanks.

    1. Hi Diana-

      I used 108 larger crystal beads (from arm to arm) and 90 smaller ones (arms to center of chandelier). Make sure you use a coupon so you can save $$$. I bought all of mine when they were on sale.

  27. WOW, that is beautiful! You really know how to repurpose almost anything and turn it up a notch! You have the best ideas Diane, that’s why I keep coming back.

  28. I don’t know what else I can add to everyone’s comments but I will say I definitely love this and all the things you do! Way to go!!

  29. Nicely done! Surprised that you did all of the work overhead – why not take it down to work on it??

    1. Thanks – I would have had to hang it somewhere to work on it to get it from all angles and didn’t want to deal with the electrical wiring. It was easier to just put a drop cloth on the table.

  30. I’m so glad I came across this! I’ve been debating how to fix up our ugly old chandelier – I was going to just spray paint it a bright color, but I love the way yours turned out!

  31. This looks great.congrats, you did a great job. I am trying to figure out how to put some crystal beads on plain pinch pleat draperies. any ideas
    please email me @[email protected]

  32. Oh WOWOOWOWWOW! This chandelier is abosolutly gorgeous! And what great ideas re paint…I have only just recently joined your blog and haven’t looked through everything yet but oh, this one is GGGGGRRRREEEEAT! Very creative.
    Hugs
    Mandy

  33. Nice job, your chandy is lovely and this is a great post – nice photos and good tutorial! I linked this to my chandeliers post too today, for inspiration!

  34. Really, really well done job, Diane! I came upon you through Centsational Girl, and I may just have to make your tuna can lanterns for my back patio too! ; )

    Your mudroom organizational dresser is also quite inspiring.

    Great stuff!

  35. WOW!!! what a great transformation…and i never thought to use the jewelry beads instead of the crystal chain i saw on line (for probably way more $)…

    i love your hutch in the background there, too!! :)

    hugs, cindy

  36. Oh my word… absolutely beautiful!!!! You did an awesome job. I need to do something with my dining room fixture – I’m going to have to try this!!!!! You rock!!

  37. I am in love with this chandy! It is gorgeous and has inspired me to get off my behind and fix up the one I have in the garage. Thanks for sharing your technique – I am stealing it (and will give you credit of course…I am not a real thief)

  38. Hi there, I am your newest follower and wow wow wow this is INCREDIBLE! I am absolutely impressed. I love the mix of rustic and glam! Well done lady well done :)

  39. you’re a genius!! I’ve done a very similar thing with an old chandelier for my living room and I’m very satisfied about the result! I did not take pics of the whole process…that’s a pity!
    I follow you!
    [email protected]

  40. Thank you for your contribution to last week’s linky party. Just looking at this lamp again. What an inspiration you are. Now it’s completely do-able to transform some trashy lamp… into a jewel!! haha.

    A new party, at http://www.FineCraftGuild.com/diy-linky-party-21/ will be up shortly, so come feature your new tutorials. We love to see what you’ve created this week, and be inspired again!

    Till soon,
    Have a craftful, happy day, Rose

  41. It doesn’t even look like the same fixture! I like that you chose to add a little bling!

    Thanks for thinking of me and the snow. I have to say it was a little bit of a shock to go from 60 and sunny to snowstorm! It was pretty though.

  42. What a transformation! And such detailed instructions. I have been looking for a chandelier to makeover for some time now. Thanks for all the ideas; they will come in handy when I find one. It was nice reading about your decorating marathon. Continued success!

  43. You are extremely creative and talented ~ I love this! Thanks so much for all the details and the pics.

    Hope you’re having a blessed weekend!
    Pat

  44. Fab update! I’ve been looking for ideas to the same to my chandy. I do not want to drill holes in mine though (what if I change my mind or mess up??). My interior dec friend told me to use napkin rings on each “candle” instead. Drill the holes into the rings or find some with fringe! Now I am on the hunt for the right rings to use!

  45. OMiGOSH! Love! I just told my hubs that I wanted to do this to our chandy and he informed me that maybe I should by a chandy from the restore as practice first…..he of little faith, but you can bet that I’m going to be going to the ReStore for a chandy that I can pretty up!

    Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  46. Wow… you did a fantastic job on your chandy. Love the layered finish and the addition of the draped beads put the fixture over the top. Well done!

    Lori

    P.S. Sorry for the repeat comment…I inadvertently left my first comment (the comment preceding this one) as “anonymous.”

  47. Wow… you did a fantastic job on your chandy. Love the layered finish and the addition of the draped beads put the fixture over the top. Well done!

  48. Just stopping by from Kim’s B&A party! This chandelier turned out amazing!! It looks like chippy metal! What a great idea and such a unique look. Thanks for sharing!

  49. I love it! What a difference you have made. I am going to follow you from now on, and attempt what you have just done with some of my fixtures. Thanks for sharing. Please stop by and visit me some time. Teresa

  50. Wow! What an amazing transformation! I love it! It looks so beautiful. I have been looking for chandys for a couple different rooms in our home, I can’t wait til I can try something like this!

    1. Hi Anna-
      Thanks – I think it was actually easier to work on the chandy while in place. I just slid the table over. I kept the light bulbs in so the sockets were not exposed and cut the power while working on it. I didn’t want to take the time to remove it, fashion a place to hang it from to paint, and then re-hang it – that would have taken too much time. :)

    1. Hi Donna-
      Thanks for the comment. I have been wanting to do this for a long long time – just had to DO IT.

      No way can you be scared to post one of your projects – they are all terrific and in your style – weird – never! – funky – yes! which is a good thing, as in “original”. Can’t wait to see it.

      Diane

  51. Are you kidding me, this is fabulous! I have a chandi I need to redo, you have given me the motivation! Thanks for linking up!

    1. Hi Kristin-

      Go for it! I didn’t like the chandy before, so I figured I had nothing to lose if it didn’t turn out. Layereing the paints on was easy and mistakes are so easy to just block out with another layer.

  52. I.LOVE.IT!!!!! I have been trying to figure out what to do for over my dining table and this HAS.GOT.TO.BE.IT!!! I have seen so many of those chandies at the DI and just passed them up… Not any more!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  53. That is simply fabulous!!! I may have to copy the paint idea to my chandy in the dining room. I hope you will link up to my before and after party again tonight. The party is on Wednesdays with the link up on Tuesday night. I featured your wonderful hutch transformation from last week today.

  54. Amazing transformation, Diane! Love the contrast between the rustuc treatment on the brass and the sparkly beads. Can’t wait to see the finished room.

    1. Hi Linda-

      Thanks, It makes me smile to know that I inspired you. I could definetly use some Christmas cash. I will head over to enter your giveaway.

  55. Very nice! I transformed several of these hanging lights for out daughter’s outdoor wedding, it was a fun project!
    ~Heidi
    (Found you via Metamorphosis Monday)

    1. Hi Heidi-

      They must have looked wonderful in an outdoor setting. Were they electrified or did they have candles in them?

  56. Wow doesn’t even cut it. I am simply speechless, this deserves some sort of award, seriously. I am just blown away at your eye, your talent and your patience. Wow!

  57. That is amazing. I love the transformation! You did a wonderful job (:

  58. Ooooh..You did good, girl…very, very good! I love it…aged and antiqued with a bit of glitzy glamour…a marriage of rustic and refined…You nailed it! Hugs-Diana