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How to paint eyeglass frames

Updated February 21, 2017

If you would like to paint your eyeglass frames, you will need to execute certain preparation and application strategies, based on the composition of the frames. Plastic and metal are both ill-suited for paint adhesion. You can stimulate adhesion by abrading plastic frames with sandpaper. Because metallic eyeglass frames are too durable for friction-based abrasion methods, you will need to coat them with a particular acidic primer, capable of etching durable metal surfaces.

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  1. Clean the eyeglass frames with soap, using rags. Rinse the frames with clean wet rags. Dry the frames with a towel.

  2. Abrade plastic eyeglass frames with sandpaper. Scour the frames until they feel slightly rough. Use scissors to cut the sandpaper into smaller pieces if necessary. Skip this step if the eyeglass frames are metallic.

  3. Protect the lenses from paint by covering them with professional painter's tape. Use scissors to cut the tape into smaller pieces. Lay the eyeglass frames on a fabric dust sheet.

  4. Coat plastic eyeglass frames with acrylic latex spray primer. Hold the spray can 8 inches from the frames while spraying. Use galvanised metal etching spray primer on metallic eyeglass frames. Wait four hours for the primed frames to dry.

  5. Coat primed eyeglass frames with acrylic spray paint. Hold the spray can 8 inches from the frames while spraying. Wait two hours. Apply another coat if the primer bleeds through. Wait eight hours before wearing the eyeglasses.

  6. Warning

    Never paint unsanded plastic eyeglass frames, or the paint will peel. Never paint unprimed eyeglass frames, or the paint will flake.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Rags
  • Towel
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheet
  • Acrylic latex spray primer
  • Galvanised metal etching spray primer
  • Acrylic spray paint

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.

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