How to paint silver

Written by michelle hogan | 13/05/2017
How to paint silver
Silver can be painted on with oil-based or acrylic paints. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Painting over a piece of silver or painting an interesting scene on a piece of silver can be a creative way to change your decor. If you are artistically inclined and are painting a small scene on a silver mug or bell, for example, you can use either acrylic or oil artists paints. If you are painting a silver bowl over entirely, an oil-based spray paint will do the job.

Clean your piece of silver thoroughly before painting with a clean rag dampened with water. Use a mild dish soap if you require a little more help in removing oil or debris. If you are going to leave some of the silver visible, polish it before painting. Allow it to dry completely.

Select good brushes for hand painting. They should be firm and soft without leaving bristles behind or spreading out too easily.

Use shellac to prime the area on the silver you intend to paint. Shellac will adhere to metal better than paint and will allow the paint to adhere to it instead of sliding off the silver.

Paint your silver piece with either an oil-based or acrylic paint. Acrylic paint will work, but you will need to put a finish over it, because it's water-based and may deteriorate more easily over time.

Allow your painted silver piece to dry completely.

Coat the silver piece with polyurethane to prevent the paint from chipping. Do this with a soft-bristled brush and evenly brush the polyurethane over the entire piece.


Always paint in a well-ventilated area.

Tips and warnings

  • Always paint in a well-ventilated area.

Things you need

  • Clean rag
  • Water
  • Mild soap
  • Shellac
  • Oil-based or acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Polyurethane

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