DIY: How to Paint Shiny Brass Lamps With Antique Brass Paint

Written by debbie tolle
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DIY: How to Paint Shiny Brass Lamps With Antique Brass Paint
Practice before attempting to antique an expensive brass lamp. (books-under lamp image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

Antiquing a brass lamp requires brown or black spray paint, glaze, and bronze paint. This is an effective way to have the look of aged antique lamps without the cost. Antiquing is a simple concept, but it can take several attempts to achieve your desired effect. Before altering the finish of your good lamps, try your hand at antiquing an inexpensive lamp first.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rag
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Painter's tape
  • Plastic bow
  • 1 pt. glaze
  • 1 pt. bronze paint
  • Stir stick
  • 1-inch chip brush
  • Toothpicks
  • Spray-on clear-coat protector

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  1. 1

    Wash the area of the lamp that is to be painted with warm, soapy water. Do not submerge the lamp when you wash it. Rinse off the soap with a clean, damp rag, and then dry the lamp.

  2. 2

    Scuff the surface of the lamp with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand up and down or around the lamp. Scuffing the surface will create a surface that the paint can stick to.

  3. 3

    Cover the light bulb socket, light switch, and a 6-inch portion of the cord with painter's tape. The tape will protect the areas of the lamp you do not want painted.

  4. 4

    Set the lamp upright and use brown or black spray paint to coat the entire surface of the lamp. The spray paint is a base coat that will show through the top coat of paint. Some antique brass has a blackish appearance, and some has a brownish appearance. Allow the lamp to dry.

  5. 5

    Mix half the pt. of glaze with half the pt. of bronze paint in a plastic bowl. Stir with a stir stick until the glaze and paint are completely blended.

  6. 6

    Apply the paint to the lamp with the 1-inch chip brush, beginning at the top of the lamp and working your way down to the base until you have covered the entire lamp. A chip brush is an inexpensive stiff-bristled paintbrush. The stiff bristles will allow the undercoat to show through the top coat.

  7. 7

    Drag a toothpick through the glaze paint from the top of the lamp to the base to give it the lined appearance found on brushed antique brass. Allow the glaze paint to dry overnight or until it no longer has a sticky feel to it.

  8. 8

    Spray a polyurethane clear-coat on the lamp to protect the new finish.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with the glaze paint until you achieve the effect that you are looking for. Dab or pounce the paint on with the brush to give the finish a more blended look.

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