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Furniture Painting Painting Tutorials

How to paint hardware for your furniture project.

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The trend right now, is to leave the hardware on your furniture project and just paint over the hardware as you go. The color behind the hardware, becomes the color of the hardware. For a lot of people (including me) this is sometimes considered more laziness than artistic, but I would never judge another person’s artistic expression. It feels good to take the easy way out now and then, right? Eek!

dixie belle paint, rustoleum spray paint, reporpose hardware

Whether or not to paint the hardware for your furniture project is just as touchy of a topic as whether or not to paint an intricate antique buffet. Should you paint it? Well, the answer is, it depends.

The “furniture artist” crowd would loudly beam, “of course!” It is trendy right now. A lot of the purists (like me) believe it is lazy, and laziness is the only reason it is done, and once a trending furniture painter did it a time or two, everyone else just jumped on board. (Including me, sometimes.)

I have to admit, though, every single time I see a piece with painted hardware, I wonder if it is going to wear off over time and disappoint the end owner of the piece. I have not seen any of the handle painting artists priming the metal to hold the paint. Maybe it is because the chalky and clay based paints’ claim-to-fame is that they stick to anything? The paints are said to “cure” in 30 days and be practically indestructible. I still wonder…

Nevetheless, I do occasionally leave the hinges on my project, lazy painter that I can be…but most of the time, I pull the hardware off before I start painting. 

All of that being said, I also paint my hardware all of the time. What, you ask? I just spent 4 paragraphs dissing and throwing shade at the lazy hardware painters and I paint hardware? What the???

My opinion is that hardware can be painted, with some precautions. Here is the method that I use…

First, most of the time, I  use a “sticks to metal” spray paint in my color of choice. Lay the dang things in a cardboard box, and paint away.




Second, if using chalky style paint, I would normally prime first, if the hardware had a slick surface, then paint.

Third, if the hardware has a matte or textured surface, I paint right over it with the chalky style paint, and use a topcoat on it, just as I would the rest of the piece. I do, however, 99% of the time, remove the hardware to do this.


In the photos here, in this project, I am using a matte, textured piece of hardware. I painted directly on it with two coats of Dixie Belle metallic base coat in copper, and put 2 coats of copper topcoat. I then sealed with Dixie Belle Gator Hide (their toughest topcoat) and then applied a small amount of dark wax to age the hardware to match the buffet that they are going on.

Part of the reason for painting this hardware, is that I am mixing and matching from my hardware stash, rather than going out to buy more. The paint will create the illusion that all of the hardware was from the same lot. It will tie the piece together, and will not increase my expenditures on the cost of the piece. (In the end, I dabbed some brown paint on the face of the knobs with my finger to help them recede into the background, just a little bit more, on this piece.)

So, in a nutshell, you can paint hardware, but it is my opinion that it needs to be properly prepped, or special metal paint used. I also keep the piece for over the 30 day curing time before selling it, when the hardware is painted, or let the buyer know not to use the handles until the 30 days have passed, or the damage will be on them, not me.

I hope this helps, and would love to see your painted hardware!

boho, copper patina, copper metallic, boho

If you are interested in watching the tutorial on how to create this entire finish, it is available in my Etsy store.

The buffet is also available on Etsy.

If  you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy this one, about painting shutters, as well.

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