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Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Paint Over Brass

To be honest I haven't found brass attractive since the late 70's. I shop weekly in thrift stores and rarely if ever take a second glance at the brass section. Even if I see something I like, I bypass it because its......BRASS!

The other day I was reading a blog post where the author had painted some beautiful brass candlesticks white. They turned out ..... AWESOME!

So with a new attitude towards all things brass, I went back to the thrift stores to see what I had been missing out on.

I found this cute planter that I really like because I can hang it on the wall and not take up more valuable space on a table. I think it will look really cute painted white with some pretty spring flowers growing in it

I did a little research on painting brass and here is what I learned:

-First of all, make sure it's really brass and not plated steel. You can check this by seeing if a magnet sticks to it, if it does, it is steel not brass.

To paint for indoor use, these projects can be refinished with common "rattle can" paints at minimum cost. Use common interior latex or acrylic emulsion paint.

- If you are painting a light fixture, make sure you cover all the sockets and areas you don't want paint in or on with painters tape and disconnect the power if it is an installed light. Protect the ceiling and walls from overspray. When washing and cleaning the fixture make sure not to get any water in the sockets and dry everything very well before painting.

- If your project is very big like a bed frame, your better off to take it to an autobody shop and have them do it. They can do a better job with all the right tools and ventilated space.

-Always clean your project with a detergent of some kind - remove dirt and obvious corrosion. Surface preparation including the removal of corrosion and lightly sanding and scuffing will make the difference in the final product. Use a compatible primer before the color coat, following manufacturers directions and try to cover all aspects of your project top, bottom, sides with both coatings. Plan the order of your painting with the most visible side being painted last. Make sure you are working in a ventilated area and protect your surroundings from overspray.

- NOTE: If your project is brass you will need to apply a Self-Etching Primer  first, because regular paints will not stick to brass.
-Prime the brass/steel before painting. Hold the can 4 to 6 inches from the fixture and spray the primer 
 in small bursts of paint rather than a continuous stream  to help keep it from running. Apply a light coat  to the entire light fixture, painting the most visible side last. Allow to dry thoroughly.
-Spray your chosen color over the primer by holding the can 4 to 6 inches from the brass light fixture and spraying the paint on in small bursts of paint rather than a continuous stream. This technique will help keep the paint from running. Apply a light coat of paint to the entire light fixture and allow to dry thoroughly. Apply a second coat of paint if needed. Allow to dry thoroughly

Finally, consider applying a compatible clearcoat over the color, spraying the most visible side (bottom of object for overhead light fixtures) last to avoid any "stick" marks from your project's resting spots, which you can minimize by using clean cardboard or newspaper. Try to minimize handling the object until these sprayed coatings are dry and hard, which might be up to a few days.

-If you wanted to take a little more time and the item is going to be either on an exterior wall or in a high-humidity area, clean/etch the parts in a weak acid or caustic detergent solution like "purple stuff" or Greased Lightning degreasers, rinse thoroughly, prime and paint with higher-quality spray can paints. Let them dry thoroughly before installation.

Ok there you have it, so here we go.

First I determined my planter is brass, so off to the shops to pick up some purple stuff, self-etching primer,paint and sandpaper. Be right back.


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