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How to make a nickel finish from spray paint

Updated February 21, 2017

Creating a nickel finish on your hardware, railings, lamp stands, frames and other items truly is a wise decorative choice. A nickel finish gives you greater design leeway because of its inherent versatility. Polished nickel can at once appear sleek and modern, evocative of chrome or it can seem traditional and almost provincial, evocative of the qualities of polished brass. You don't have to purchase all new nickel plated items for your home if this is the look that you crave. Rather, by selecting the right form of metallic spray paint, you can replicate the look of nickel.

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  1. Wipe down the item with a damp rag and a dot of all purpose cleaner. Allow it to air dry.

  2. Rub the item with 100-grit sandpaper, followed by 220-grit sandpaper. This will prepare the item for the spray paint. Run a handheld vacuum cleaner over the item, sucking up the dust from sanding.

  3. Purchase several silver-based metallic spray paints in either a shiny or matt colour that bears the name "nickel." Spray paint a piece of scrap wood or metal with each shade to test which spray paint gives you a colour closest to nickel. It helps to have a nickel-plated object to compare the colours with.

  4. Spray paint the item with your selected colour. Move the can of spray paint evenly back and forth to create an even, uniform finish. Allow this coat to dry for 12 hours before applying a second coat to get a nice, realistic-looking finish.

  5. Tip

    Always spray paint out in a ventilated area. Wear goggles and a dust mask when spray painting. If you wish to create a brushed nickel finish, allow the first coat of nickel coloured spray paint to dry, then apply a second coat. Rub a 0000 steel wool pad across the second coat of spray paint as it's drying, making even, uniform strokes with the steel wool pad.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
  • All-purpose cleanser
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Handheld vacuum
  • Metallic spray paint colours
  • Scrap wood or metal

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."

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