Can You Spray Paint Chrome? (How To Guide + Pictures)

Yes, it is possible to spray paint chrome, but the process isn't as straightforward as other spray paint projects. One of the reasons homeowners and crafters often ask, “Can you spray paint chrome?” is because it’s not a common project. In order to properly spray paint chrome, there are steps you need to take so that the spray paint will bond to the chrome. Our guide will help you with your spray paint chrome project.  

Spray paint is aerosol paint, which means that the paint is pressurized in a sealed container. When you use spray paint, the pressure is slowly released, which allows the paint to move forcefully through the container and onto whatever surface you are trying to paint.  

Most spray paint projects are directed at cardboard, plastic, fabric, brick, or concrete projects, but it is possible to spray paint chrome. Whether you want to use paint on your chrome vehicle or chrome fixtures in the home, spray paint is an excellent choice. Painters like using spray paint for chrome surfaces because of the ability to choose between gloss and matte aesthetics with metallic colors. Most spray paints are also heat resistant, which is important for certain chrome projects.  

You can use spray paint on chrome faucets, chrome light fixtures, and chrome vehicles. In order to make sure that spray paint adheres to chrome, you will need to follow specific instructions, including properly preparing the surface, such as dry brushing with a primer. It is also important to purchase spray paint that will adhere to chrome. Not all spray paint will attach itself to a chrome object, which can be a disaster for your project.  

Another aspect of using spray paint on chrome is that you will often need multiple coats. You will need to leave the proper amount of drying time in between each coat to ensure that the paint is thoroughly dry before the next coat is applied. If you apply coats too quickly, you will likely end up with splotchy and blotchy paint patterns.  

Before choosing a spray paint option, you will also need to check the color. If you are using a spray paint color for a chrome fixture in your home, such as a faucet or lighting object, review designs online. Take a look at the type of spray paint color others are using, and make sure that it will match your home decor when finished. It is difficult to remove spray paint from chrome fixtures, and you want to get the color right the first time.  

ford mustang

How To Spray Paint Chrome Step By Step

So you’ve decided that you want to use spray paint to paint your chrome item: let’s do it. Follow our step-by-step instructions for spray painting your chrome item.  

1. Gather your supplies.  

Make sure that you purchase spray paint that is specifically designed to be used on chrome surfaces. Not all spray paints can be used on chrome surfaces. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and labels when purchasing. Once you have your spray paint cans, gather the rest of your tools. You will need sandpaper, two towels, liquid dish soap, liquid metal filler, rust-inhibiting paint primer, painter’s tape, foam paint brushes (possibly), a large bucket, garbage bags or large dust cloths, disposable gloves, automotive enamel (if your chrome surface will come into contact with water) and a dust mask (optional).  

2. Rinse the Chrome object. 

Take your large bucket and mix warm water with your liquid dish soap. Using your towel, wipe down every inch of the chrome surface to degrease it. Use your second towel to dry the area. Let it dry for twenty minutes or so before moving on to the third step. Make sure that the chrome surface is shining. If it’s not, repeat the rinsing process.  

3. Sandpaper time.  

Use sandpaper (heavy grit preferably) to sand down the chrome object. This is where you may want to use a dust mask. Sandpaper should dull the chrome color and also create scratches so that the paint can stick. Now you want to wipe down the surface and use a liquid metal filler. Although using a liquid metal filler is optional, it does limit the number of imperfections that show up when the project is finished and everything has been spray painted. Now that you are finished sanding, wipe down the surface with warm, clean water. Then dry it.  

4. Create a Safe Painting Area and Paint.  

You want to use your garbage bags or drop cloths to protect the area around your items unless you are outside in the grass. You may also want to use painter’s tape to tape off any spots that you do not want to be painted or to create clean lines indoors. Then you can paint, starting with the primer. Apply one coat of rust-inhibiting primer and allow it to dry completely.

Next, you can use spray paint to paint your first layer. You may need 2-3 layers of paint, depending on your project and the manufacturer of spray paint you chose. Allow the paint to dry completely in between each layer. Apply the spray paint, moving quickly with a light coating. It is better to apply more coats rather than create too thick of a finish the first time around.  

If you are spray painting a kitchen or bathroom fixture, then you also need to use automotive enamel. This will protect the fixture from water. Finish with the automotive enamel spray paint layer, and voila! You have a finished project.  

spray gun

Why Use Spray Paint On Chrome Surfaces? 

One of the benefits of using spray paint on chrome surfaces is that chrome has a tendency to look dirty and easily attracts water spots, dirt spots, grease spots, and soak spots. Spray painting will cover the entire surface area and give the object a clean look at all times. Spray paint also can change the color and appearance of chrome.

You can choose from metallic colors such as gold, rose gold, silver, metallic chrome (similar to the actual chrome), or matte shades ranging from red and pink to blue and green. It is easier to create a better looking final piece by spray painting an object rather than using a paintbrush or roller because the application is more even.  


Important Tips & Safety Precautions 

When spray painting chrome surfaces, there are a couple of different things to keep in mind for your safety. Most people choose not to wear safety goggles when spray painting. However, if you are concerned about your eyes coming into contact with the paint or working on a large project, we recommend wearing safety goggles.

We also recommend wearing a dust cloth if you suffer from allergies because the sanding process of chrome surfaces can often create tiny dust particles that can enter into your lungs and irritate them. Another precaution to take is to ensure that you have all of your supplies ready to go before you begin. Although this is not a safety concern, if you are missing supplies, you may have to leave your project mid-step, which can affect the final aesthetic.  


Before & After Pictures

Chrome Door Handle Before & After

This chrome door handle had a gold chrome finish originally. The owner wanted to create an oil-bronzed look and purchased oil-bronzed spray paint. The before and after creates a dramatic difference, with the deep bronzed look creating a sleeker, more modern vibe.  

chrome door

Chrome Bathtub Fixtures Before & After 

This project is interesting because the homeowner chose spray paint that is a metallic chrome color. The benefit of this project is that the original chrome had started to fade and often looked dirty. As anyone with chrome fixtures knows, all water spots are visible and can make an otherwise clean tub or shower look dirty. By using a metallic chrome spray paint color in silver, the final product looks similar but will no longer attract all of those water stains.  

chrome faucet

Common Questions 

Do you need primer for chrome spray paint? 

Chrome should be primed before using spray paint. Primer helps the spray paint adhere better to the surface and can also help the spray paint job last longer. If you want to transform your chrome object into a spray-painted object with vibrant colors that lasts for several years, then you need to use a primer.  


Does epoxy primer stick to chrome? 

Most automotive primers will not stick to chrome, but epoxy primers can, depending on the type of preparation you use. There are epoxy primers that will stick when the surface is properly sanded. You will need a sandblaster to properly prepare the area if you want any type of primer to stick.  


How long does spray on chrome last? 

Spray-on chrome can last for years; however, spray-on chrome is not spray paint on chrome. Instead, this type of paint creates a chrome look and can be used on existing chrome objects or other materials. If you want to touch up your chrome object, spray-on chrome is an excellent choice. Each manufacturer has different instructions on time, but most spray-on chrome will last 5-15 years.  


Can I paint wood to look like chrome? 

Yes, you can paint wood to look like chrome. The best way to do this is to use specially formulated chrome spray paint. These paints are designed to create a brilliant metal and silver latex look, which simulates the shiny, wavy, glittery exterior of chrome.  


Conclusion

Spray painting chrome is not an easy feat, but it is possible as long as you properly prepare the material and use high-quality spray paint. By following the instructions in this guide, you can transform your chrome pieces into vibrant spray-painted pieces.  


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