How to Spray Paint Brass

Wondering how to spray paint brass? It may seem odd to paint this copper and zinc alloy, but a fresh coat of paint can bring new life to brass candlesticks, picture frames and other fixtures. With the right tools and techniques, you can turn trash into treasure!

How To Spray Paint Brass Correctly

  • Under the shell. Many modern brass pieces are coated with a lacquer finish to slow the formation of tarnish. To begin, soak the brass you want to spray paint in lacquer thinner for 15 to 30 minutes and then rinse the parts in clean water. For larger pieces, paint the thinner on with a brush and then rinse clean. Allow your brass pieces to dry completely before continuing.
  • Clean equals happy. Before you spray paint brass, clean the object with soap and water or trisodium phosphate (TSP) and rinse thoroughly.
  • Let it dry. After all cleaning and removal of loose debris, rinse your brass objects and allow them to dry completely before proceeding. Cover brass or work indoors to promote faster drying.
  • The masked painter. Use adhesive painter's tape to mask off any parts of your brass item that you don't want to paint.
  • A prime start. Primer helps paint adhere to brass better than paint alone. Primer also helps to create a thicker, more durable finish. Apply a primer recommended for brass and allow it to dry completely before you begin painting.
  • Spray paint goodness. Spray paints are available in a number of finishes including flat, glossy or textured. When using spray paint, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear eye and breathing protection. Work in small bursts, rather than extended sprays. Remember that two light coats are always better than one heavy coat. Allow your brass item to dry completely between coats.
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