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Spray Painting Metal Hardware: Brass to Nickel

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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


 #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


#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.


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


#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.


#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.
  • Protect the paint after it is dry with a light coat of clear protective finish. Important: Most spray paint brands have these in their line of spray paints. Read the directions on the can to find out how long you need to wait before adding the clear finish.

Brass Push-Plates


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. 



2 coats of Champion Sprayon Sterling Silver – perfect!


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


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  1. 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.

    1. 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

    1. 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. 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!

    1. 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.

        1. Hi Linda – Most spray paints unless noted for “high heat” areas and appliances like ovens, etc are not good for high temps. The paint will blister after a while.