Can You Paint Brass? (Easy DIY Guide For Fixtures & More)

Upcycling items on a budget often involves painting your home décor, but can you paint brass objects?

We break down how to do up your vintage pieces to suit your tastes. 

Brass is a copper and zinc alloy that is often used in both decorative pieces and some electrical or mechanical objects. Brass is also often found in vintage furniture and tools, but over time the shine can dull, or your tastes may change.  

Many DIY fans update these items with fresh coat of acrylic paint for a fresh new look. For some, simply cleaning and polishing these precious pieces of history is enough, but painting them does have its benefits. Painting personalizes the piece and can help prolong the life of certain heirlooms.  

But what kind of acrylic paint can you use on entire surface of brass? Typically, most paints that are compatible with metal will work, including most enamel paint, acrylic paint, and oil based paints. 

However, we heavily recommend avoiding latex paint in all forms as it is not as durable and does not adhere properly to metal surfaces, even with primers. You will often find these in spray paint form, but some are liquid for brushing or rolling that do not leave brush marks. 

Brass plating is commonly found on lighting fixtures, furniture, doorknobs, and switch plate. Brass plating is not very thick, so you will quickly get below it and into the other metal surface properly, which will be a silver color.

Brass Before Painting

Can you paint brass fixtures? 

Can you paint brass home fixtures? Yes, you can with proper preparation and priming. You may need to remove the fixture or use painter’s tape to section off any areas that you do not wish to paint with water based or oil based paint.

 Cleaning, scoring, and degreasing before painting will also aid in prolonging your paint job. 

Can you paint brass hardware? 

Yes, if you uninstall it from its spot. Prepare brass carefully using our tips and let it cure completely before reinstalling it in its place. 

Can you paint over brass plated metal? 

Yes, you can paint over brass plated items. If this metal needs to be heated, you may want to find heat-resistant paint and primer for a longer-lasting paint job.  

Can you spray paint brass hinges? 

It is possible to do so relatively quickly. You may want to remove the door and door knobs from its hinges and remove the hinges themselves before painting; if this is not possible, tape off any excess areas and be careful. 

Can you spray paint a brass lamp? 

Yes, provided that you turn it off and unplug it from the outlet first. Once this is complete, we recommend removing the bulb and brass lamps shade along with any other parts you can; tape off or cover any areas of the lamp that can’t be removed. 

How To Paint Brass? (Easy DIY Guide) 

Materials Needed:

  • Chosen brass item/s 
  • Toolkit 
  • Plastic sheeting and drop cloth or lint free cloth 
  • Protective clothing or protective clear coat and gear 
  • Painter’s tape 
  • Steel wool or light grit sandpaper or fine grit sandpaper 
  • Degreaser 
  • Metal primer 
  • Chosen paint/s 
  • Any decals or stencils (optional) 
  • Clear coat or top coat  or light coats or thin coats


  • 1
    Ventilate your painting area and put on protective gear, including a face mask, goggles, and overalls. 
  • 2
    Lay out your sheets and drop cloths to make space to paint and cover anything in the room you don’t want to spray. 
  • 3
    Remove your brass object from its place and potentially take it apart. Once done, tape off any areas that you do not wish to paint. 
  • 4
    Scrape the brass lightly with steel wool or sandpaper to help the paint adhere; use small gentle strokes to avoid tarnish. Steel wool can also help remove rust or previous tarnishes. 
  • 5
    Wipe the piece down with a clean damp cloth or fine grit sandpaper to remove the shavings. 
  • 6
    Dip a clean cloth in degreaser and run it over the spray painted brass areas to remove any fingerprints and dirt.  

Steps To Follow

  • 1
    Apply the self etching primer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure that you leave it to dry for the recommended length of time and confirm it is dry to the touch before continuing.  The Primer will ensure that the paint sticks to the Brass surface regardless.
  • 2
    Add two or three coats of paint as directed on the packaging, ensuring that you leave the item to dry properly before adding a new thin coat. 
  • 3
    Seal the paint with a topcoat and leave the item to dry. Once it is dry, let it cure for the recommended number of days before reinstalling it and putting it to heavy use. 
  • 4
    Reassemble and reinstall the piece as needed. 
Bucket of Green Paint

Tips & Tricks When Painting Brass 

Spray painting brass can feel daunting, but there are a few tricks that can make things easier. Some of our best tips include: 

  • Test that your item is brass before buying any paint or spray primer.
  • Do a spot test on the item in a hidden spot to ensure the paint will work 
  • Be gentle in your scoring 
  • Try to remove any tarnishes beforehand 
  • Do not use latex paint 
  • Wear proper safety gear and protection 
  • Paint in a well-ventilated space 

Following our steps above with these tips should help you upcycle or preserve your favorite solid brass pieces.  

Frequently Asked Painting Brass Questions 

Can you paint brass with chalk paint? 

Yes, it is possible to paint brass with chalk paint depending on the primer and the preparations you do beforehand. 

How long does it take for paint to dry on brass surface? 

How long it takes paint to dry on any brass surface depends on various factors, including humidity, temperature, type of paint, and how thick the layers are. Use the manufacturer’s instructions as a guide on how long to wait. 

How long does paint last on brass surface? 

The lifespan of a paint depends on a variety of factors, including the quality of the paint, whether it was sealed with a topcoat, how often the object is handled, how often it is placed in direct sunlight, and how well it is maintained. You can expect to get at least a couple of years, but ideally significantly more. 


Now that you know how to spray paint brass, you can upcycle and update your favorite pieces and family heirlooms.

Painting them is an excellent way to breathe new life into vintage items. So have fun and get painting!