How to paint over brass or metal

Updated November 21, 2016

If you've found an old pair of brass candlesticks or have an unsightly metal light fixture in your home, you may have considered giving these items a facelift with paint. While you can paint metal items, the smooth, slick surfaces of many metals make a metal-painting project slightly challenging. Many paints will not adhere properly to a shiny surface, so it's important to purchase the appropriate primer to ensure that your painted brass or metal still looks great long after you finish painting.

Clean the brass or metal with a rag and soapy water to remove any dirt. If the soapy water is not strong enough to clean the metal, use a glass cleaner that contains ammonia to clean it.

Rinse the metal object and dry it thoroughly.

Place the object outside on a sheet of newspaper on a clear day.

Spray-paint the metal object with a spray primer designed for use on metal surfaces. The directions on the primer must state that it will adhere to metal or shiny surfaces, or the primer will rub off soon after you finish painting.

Apply a second coat of primer to ensure that you've coated the entire surface of the object.

Paint the dry primed object with spray paint in your desired colour. You do not need to use a special type of spray paint, because any paint will adhere to the primer.

Spray a clear acrylic sealer onto the brass or metal object when the paint is completely dry. This will help to protect the paint and prevent it from chipping.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag
  • Soapy water
  • Glass cleaner
  • Towel
  • Newspaper
  • Spray primer
  • Spray paint
  • Clear acrylic sealer
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About the Author

Kittie McCoy has been a freelance writer since 2008. She is also a part-time personal trainer and licensed entertainer in Las Vegas. She enjoys sharing her love of physical fitness and experience in the entertainment industry via her writing.