Can You Paint Brass?

Brass is a metal alloy found in fixtures around the home, such as doorknobs and cabinet handles. However, brass tends to discolor over time, so you may have wondered if you can paint brass.

Painting a brass fixture is an easy way to update your décor while retaining some of its unique features. However, painting some metals without the proper preparation, can lead to paint peeling.

Luckily, you can paint brass. Here are the procedures that you should follow to ensure the best results.

How to Clean Brass

The first step in preparing brass for painting is to clean the surface. Brass can be difficult to clean, particularly older items that have accumulated years of wear and tear. However, if you follow the correct procedure, you can get brass looking brand new again.

To clean brass, you will need gloves, a washcloth, and rubbing alcohol. Apply the rubbing alcohol to the brass object using the cloth. This will get rid of any oil or residue, including natural oils left behind by fingerprints.

Any oil could affect the primer’s ability from sticking to the brass. That is why you must wear gloves while cleaning brass.

Before continuing with primer, let the brass object sit for about five minutes. This gives the rubbing alcohol enough time to dry.

How to Prime Brass

After you clean your brass, the next step is to apply metal primer. Primer will help the paint stick to brass. Otherwise, it will not adhere properly, and your paint could peel and flake.

For best results, you should use a primer for metal surfaces. Apply the primer using several thin layers, letting the brass dry between coats.

Metal primer can be a potent substance, so take precautions during this process. Protect yourself with a face mask and protective clothing.

Should You Sand Brass Before Painting?

Once applying several coats of primer to brass, try sanding the brass to help smooth out the surface. A smooth surface is crucial to ensuring the best results as brass highlights any imperfections on the painting surface.

When sanding primed brass, you need to be very careful. It is too easy to remove the primer in patches of the brass, which will force you to start over again.

To sand brass, use only fine-grit sandpaper and carefully go over the surface.

How to Paint Brass

Once you’ve cleaned, primed, and sanded your brass, then you can finally paint.
The good news is that after preparing the surface, you can use almost any type of paint on brass. Acrylic, latex-based, and enamel paints all stick to brass as long as they have been primed. Apply several thin coats to get the proper coverage.

Latex-based and enamel paints usually don’t need a sealant. Although you can add that extra layer of protection for objects that are likely to suffer wear and tear. You should go over water based paints with sealer to protect against water damage.


You can paint brass to give your décor an update or cover up any imperfections. Painting brass requires extensive preparation. You will need to clean the brass, prime it, and then sand it before painting.

Once you paint the brass, you should seal it for extra protection, especially if you’re using acrylic paints.

Leave a Comment