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How to Paint Outdoor Light Fixtures With a Hammered Paint Finish

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No need to buy new outdoor light fixtures when they start to age and get rusty. Try painting them instead using a hammered finish paint. It is easy to do and will transform your light in less than an hour.

Over the course of the year, we spend most of our decorating energy on the interiors of our house.  When the weather starts to warm up, we take that energy to the outside of our home to begin attacking the exterior project “To-Do” list. That is what I did over the weekend.  Our list is a long one. After living in our house for 19 years – there are always things to be done.

How to paint-a-rusted-metal-outdoor light-fixtureHow to Paint An Old Outdoor Light Fixture

One is getting the rusty metal outdoor lights painted.  This is how the lights looked by my side entry before I transformed them using paint, but not just any paint – one with a hammered finish.


This is how they look now!

What Is The Best Paint for Outdoor Metal Light Fixtures

a can of Rustoleum Hammered Finish paint in Dark Bronze

I used this Rustoleum paint with a metallic hammered finish.

It is:

  • Weather and corrosion resistant coating protects exterior/interior surfaces like wood, metal, concrete, masonry and more
  • Oil-based formula provides a durable protective coating with excellent rust prevention
  • Dries to the touch in 2-4 hours and covers up to 100 sq. ft
  • Excellent resistance to abrasion, fading and chipping
  • Hammered metal finish hides flaws and imperfections found in scratched, rusted or pitted metals

How To Paint an Outdoor Light Fixture Without Taking it Down

I painted, cleaned, and prepped 3 exterior light fixtures in about 2 hours time. It would have taken me longer to replace them. Since I love these fixtures, I was happy to bring them back to life.


I have used Hammered Bronze spray paint from Rustoleum before with great results, but the oil-based brush on version of the paint is so much easier to use since it is thicker and the finish looks glossier.

  • The best part about using this paint is that you can leave the fixtures right in place! This fact alone will save you lots of time and you won’t need an electrician.

supplies needed: 

Paint Brush TIP:

  • When using inexpensive brushes – rub the brush against the side of your hand a few times to remove any loose bristles. Do it a few times until they stop falling out.

How to Remove Rust From Outdoor Light Fixtures

Rusty outdoor light fixture on side of a house.

The rusty light fixture before.

How-to-remove-rust-from-metal using Brillo or SOS pads.

  1. To remove the rust from the light fixture, I first cleaned the metal using a wet S.O.S pad.
  • I scrubbed hard and then rinsed off the soap and residue with clean water and let the metal dry.
  • If the rust doesn’t come off – apply one coat of rust preventing primer and let dry, then paint.  The directions on the paint can says that priming is not necessary if you prepare the surface correctly.

Outdoor light on side of house getting cleaned before painting.

This is how the fixtures looked after scrubbing them. They cleaned up nicely.

Outdoor light fixture with painter's tape around it getting a coat of fresh paint.

2. Place painter’s tape around the base of the fixture.

3. Stir paint well. Apply the paint when the fixture is in the shade using a paint brush.

  • It is cool to watch the hammered effect happen.  It goes on like regular paint, but after 30 seconds it starts to take on a hammered finish right before your eyes – presto-change-o!
  • One coat may be all you need, but two coats are recommended.  Let first coat dry completely before adding a second coat.

Newly painted outdoor light fixture using Dark Bronze Hammered paint.

While I was painting the fixtures, I also removed the glass to clean out the dead bugs and make the glass shine again.


All my outdoor light fixtures look as good as the day I bought them 10 years ago.

Outdoor carriage light in yard after getting a paint makeover.

All done in one afternoon with one quart can of amazing paint!

Freshly painted exterior light on house

I am very happy with the results, best of all it was a fast and easy project. Now, I have 4 more to light fixtures to transform.

Before and After photos showing how to paint a rusted light fixture

Image showing before and after transformation of rusty outdoor lights. The best paint to use when painting exterior light fixtures

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  1. Wow Diane your lights look great. I will definitely be using this paint on my weathered exterior light fixtures. Thanks for the “how to.” Vikki in VA.

  2. Holy moly & wow! They look so great. I have the original outside my front door and had to replace the one outside my kitchen door (under cover of carport too) cause it literally crumbled. But the new one of about 3 years ago already looks awful. I am definitely going to use this paint on mine.

    Thank you so much and Debbie also, for the information.

  3. Love the transformation!
    I’m curious about the pieces of wood BEHIND the light fixture base…did you buy those or make them yourself?

    I recently hung a new light fixture at my back door after having my house painted and couldn’t for the life of me figure how to close the gap that was left by trying to place the flat base against the siding. This may seem silly, but we cut an old mouse pad to try and close the gap. It worked, but sure wish we had what you have!


    1. HI Joy –

      We bought them at Home Depot. I think they are sold in the lumber dept. They come primed in white. They are made to fit over siding on a house. Just ask one of the lumber guys, they will show you where to find them in the store.