Paint brass...

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Asked By: 
Leilani S.

After complaining for forever that my boyfriend and I live in a cave, my mother found a decent matching pair of table lamps at a garage sale for dirt cheap. The shades are in great shape....besides a little cleaning I can easily find something at an arts and crafts store to spruce them up. The bases are beautifully shaped....only problem is, they're BRASS. I absolutely dispise brass! I really want to do something to make them look a little more my style, but I'm not sure how. I was thinking of spray-painting them, but I'm worried it will flake off and look tacky. I also have a baby who is getting ready to crawl, and the last thing I need is for him to pick up a paint chip and choke on it! I know there is spray paint for plastic now, but will something like that work on brass??

Help end the tackinessā€¼

Answer: 

<p>
Dear Leilani,
<p>
Your baby boy may stick a lot of things in his mouth, but a chip of paint won't be one of them! Painting brass is a simple, five-step process:
<ol>
<li>
Cleaning,
</li>
<li>
Pretreatment
</li>
<li>
Primer
</li>
<li>
Color
</li>
<li>
Polyurethane topcoat.
</li>
</ol>
Look at painting your brass lamp bases as if you were getting a manicure. First, you soak your hands in sudsy water, (clean the brass); next you file the nail (pretreat the brass by sanding &#8211; or other ways listed below); then you put on a base coat (apply an epoxy primer); paint the nail the color you wish (paint the brass the chosen color); apply a clear topcoat to protect your nails from chipping (apply a polyurethane topcoat.)
<p>
Brass is different than other surfaces you may paint because it, as well as other alloys of copper, will corrode. These corrosion particles may adhere tightly or loosely. Either way, the particles must be removed by a pretreatment process before painting. Follow these easy steps to assure your newly painted lamp bases turn heads, instead of turning up noses:
<ol>
<li>
Remove oily soils and other materials by cleaning the brass.
</li>
<li>
Remove any corrosion products by abrading the surface using sandpaper, brushes or blasting with abrasive media by etching using an acid such as a bright dipping solution; or by applying a chromate pretreatment.
</li>
<li>
Apply the epoxy primer as soon as possible after pretreatment (one of the processes in number 2).
</li>
<li>
Paint the brass the desired color.
</li>
<li>
Apply the polyurethane topcoat.
</li>
</ol>
Good luck, and we look forward to seeing pictures of you moving out of the "cave," and into high style!
<p>
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us at any time. We're here for you!
<p>
Best of luck with all your Jane projects!

3 comments

6
Feb

Can you paint over brass doorknobs? Or will it wear/flake off? I have a home with ALL brass doorknobs, and I've updated the lighting fixtures to silver/nickel and want to do the same with the doorknobs, but it is EXPENSIVE! I was looking for a more budget-conscious route...but I want it to look good. Advice?
13
Feb

I also want to debrass my house and am looking for ways to cover up the door knobs, hinges, etc. and would love advice?
19
Feb

I am in the process of updating my kitchen and my door hinges are the old concealed type in Antique brass. After some research I discovered I could get them for about $4/each; which was not in my budget; so I soaked the hinges in acetone and used a Rustoleum Spray Paint in the Hammered finish (silver) and they turned out marvelous. Wear gloves if you are going to do this; you don't want to transfer oils from your fingers back onto the hinges before you get them painted. They look great and blend well with the light fixtures.