Yes, it is possible to spray paint chrome, but the process isn't as straightforward as other paint projects.
One of the reasons homeowners and crafters often ask, “Can you spray painting 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 paint will bond to the chrome. Our guide will help you with your spray paint chrome project.
Whether you want to use paint over chrome vehicle or chrome fixtures in the home, spray paint is an excellent choice.
Spray paint is aerosol paint, which means that the paint is pressurized in a sealed container.
When you use 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.
Painters like using paint over 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 over chrome faucets, chrome light fixtures, and chrome vehicles. In order to make sure that 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 paint that will adhere to chrome. Not all spray paint will attach itself to a chrome paint object, which can be a disaster for your project.
Another aspect of using painting over 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 light 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 paint from chrome fixtures, and you want to get the color right the first time.
How To Spray Paint Chrome Step By Step
So you’ve decided that you want to use paint to painting over 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 paint cans, gather the rest of your tools.
You will need coarse sandpaper, two towels, liquid dish soap, liquid metal filler, rust-inhibiting paint primer or automotive metal primer, painter’s tape, foam paint brushes (possibly), spray gun, a large bucket, garbage bags or large dust cloth or damp cloth or clean cloth, disposable gloves, automotive enamel (if your chrome surface will come into contact with water) or latex metal paint and a dust mask (optional).
Since you will be working with corrosive substances, gloves made of thin plastic will not suffice. It is therefore recommended to use gloves made of P.V.C, rubber, or neoprene
2. Rinse the Chrome object.
Take your large bucket and mix warm water with your liquid dish soap. Using your towel and grease remover wipe down every inch of the chrome surface to degrease it. Use your second towel to dry in well ventilated 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 finer sandpaper (heavy grit preferably) to wet sand down the chrome paint object from exterior and interior side. 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 job can stick. Now you want to wipe down the surface and use a liquid metal filler.
Start by using heavy grit sandpaper for the smoothest finish, and use a circular motion going from one side to the other or top to bottom of your chrome fixture.
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 spray rust oleum paint, starting with the primer. Apply one coat of rust-inhibiting primer and allow it to dry completely before applying second coat.
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 paint you chose. Allow the spray 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 light fixtures from water. Finish with the automotive paint layer, and voila! You have a finished project.
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. 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 paint brush or roller OR spray gun 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 buffing cloth if you suffer from allergies because the sanding process of chrome surfaces can often create tiny excess particles of dust 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 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.
Spray Painting Chrome Questions
Do you need primer for chrome spray paint?
Yes, 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.
Does epoxy primer stick to chrome?
Yes, epoxy primers can stick to chrome depending on the type of preparation you use. There are epoxy primers that will stick when the surface is properly sanded.
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.
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.
Spray painting chrome is not an easy feat, but it is possible as long as you properly prepare the material and use high-quality paint. By following the instructions in this guide, you can transform your chrome pieces into vibrant spray-painted pieces.