How to Paint Over Chrome

Updated February 21, 2017

Chrome is sometimes used for decorative purposes. With the proper care, the chrome can actually prevent a lot of the corrosion that can occur on metal. It also provides more strength and can be easy to clean. However, chrome can become rusty and will need to be sanded for maintenance. Painting over chrome can be a choice to help improve its long-term appearance.

Clean the chrome by applying soap and water to its surface with a rag. After a thorough scrub, let it dry.

Sand over scratched and rusty areas with a traditional sander. Use a sandpaper that has a grit of no more than 160. Use a brush to remove the dust from the sanding. Hold the sander over the area you are sanding. Press down on the chrome, keeping the sander moving in a circular motion. Avoid holding the sander in one spot since it could cause a deep gauge in the chrome. Run the sander for a few seconds and then stop to check the area to see if it removed enough of the rust or scratches.

Put glazing compound in dips. Use a putty knife to slide it onto the dips of the chrome. Spread it evenly. The glazing compounds should be used on dips that are about 1/8-inch deep or less. Wait for the glazing compound to dry. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals of the compound.

Sand over the dry glazing compound with a 320 grit sandpaper. Brush away the remaining dust. Wipe down the chrome with lacquer thinner using a rag. Apply one thin coat of the lacquer thinner evenly on the chrome.

Spray self-etching primer on the chrome. Use another brush to paint on two light coats. Between each coat, allow the primer to dry.

Paint the chrome. Spray paint at least 10-inches away from the chrome. Hold the spray straight at the area you want painted. Avoid shooting downward towards the area you are painting. This will help avoid the paint from dripping and creating runs on the chrome.

Wait up to 30 minutes for the paint to dry. Then spray a clear coat finish over the paint to give it a shine. Wait three days for the paint and finish to totally dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Glazing compound
  • Sandpaper (160 and 320 grit)
  • Sander
  • Two paint brushes
  • Self etching primer spray
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Cloth
  • Clear Coat finish
  • Spray paint
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About the Author

Laura Hageman has written varied articles on real estate to entertainment topics for the past three years. Hageman wrote a romantic comedy novel entitled Her Desire listed on She has written for Web sites such as CurrentForeclosures and Triond over the course of 7 years. Hageman holds a Bachelor's degree in Arts.