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How to Paint a Rusted Faux Finish on a Brass Chandelier

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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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  1. Very nice! I transformed several of these hanging lights for out daughter’s outdoor wedding, it was a fun project!
    (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?

  2. 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!

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

  4. 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