How to Paint Metal Art

Written by sylvia branch
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How to Paint Metal Art
Colourful metal butterflies. (metal butterfly image by Shannon Workman from

Metal art can be created from scrap metal, aluminium, copper or even tin cans. Cut, bend, weld or attach pieces with screws or wire. After designing your metal art you can paint it to look exactly the way you imagine. Metal requires special treatment, however, to prevent the paint from flaking off.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Clear medium
  • Auto primer
  • Metal paint
  • Spray paint
  • Foam brushes
  • Hair dryer

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  1. 1

    Wash the metal art with soap and water to remove any dirt or surface oil. Dry completely.

  2. 2

    Scuff smooth sections with sandpaper to give the paint something to adhere to.The sandpaper can be super fine, fine, medium or coarse. Rub in a circular motion or use long strokes depending on the texture you desire. Remove old paint or imperfections in recycled metal with the sandpaper as well.

  3. 3

    Use a foam brush to apply a coat of clear medium to the metal art. Alternatively, spray the metal with a coat of auto primer. This is a tacky paint that is useful for any kind of metal, not just cars.

  4. 4

    Let the primer coat dry for at least an hour. Apply paint designed for metal, using either a foam brush or spray paint. Cover the surface with one coat of paint. If another coat is necessary, wait until the first coat dries completely.

  5. 5

    Use a blow dryer to set the paint after it feels dry to the touch. This will remove any excess moisture and create a hard exterior layer that is less likely to flake. The blow dryer will heat the metal quickly. Use it for no more than five minutes, then let the metal art cool.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to paint metal in a well ventilated area.
  • Do not use the blow dryer in the same area you spray painted until the paint has completely aired out.

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