How to make brass look like antique silver

Updated February 21, 2017

Update brass light fixtures, hardware and other interior accessories by using a silver decorative paint technique. Apply paint to give yellow brass the look of antique silver. The decorative paint technique will be less expensive than purchasing modern replacement pieces in silver. Remember to try several different shades of silver in both cool and warm tones for the perfect match.

Clean the brass to remove grime and dirt. Use a wet rag to remove grease dust and oil. Run the item under the kitchen sink for a quick allover cleaning if it can be properly dried. Use cotton swabs and toothpicks to remove all dirt from crevices.

Sand the brass using medium-grit sandpaper for metal. Wipe the item with a rag after sanding to remove any debris created in the process.

Place the item in a large box with one side cut open. Shake the can of black paint for 30 seconds. Hold the nozzle of the spray can down firmly and dispense the paint. Holding the can of paint 6 to 8 inches from the surface, move the can of paint left to right to evenly coat the brass item. Avoid dispensing a thick coat of paint; several light coats of paint are recommended. Add several coats of paint until an even opaque black colour covers the entire surface. Allow to dry 24 hours.

Use the same spray method to apply silver paint. Repeat the process using light even coats until an opaque silver colouration has been achieved. Several coats of paint may be required due to metallic paints' translucency. Allow to dry 24 hours.


Always use spray paint in an outdoor environment if possible. An open garage or basement with adequate circulation also works well. Wear old paint clothes to avoid paint spray ruining an outfit. Use latex gloves and a facial mask to keep spray paint from contacting skin or being inhaled.

Things You'll Need

  • Wet rag
  • Cotton swabs
  • Toothpicks
  • Medium-grit metal sandpaper
  • Cardboard box
  • Black spray paint
  • Silver spray paint
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About the Author

Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.