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How To Paint Metal: Step-By-Step

Last Updated on January 2, 2020

If you have unused metal surfaces in your home, refurbishing them is easy. Once you know how to paint metal, you can do such projects easily. Moreover, you can accomplish this task even you are alone!

Metal objects do not require you to retain their original color. This enhances your flexibility to play with different paints and colors. As long as you have the proper tools and the right knowledge, all of these possibilities are doable!

How To Paint Metal


1. You should start by working in a ventilated area. As much as possible, do this job on outdoors. Dealing with paints can be harmful, especially if the fine particles get inside your respiratory system. You need to have enough air to disperse these airborne residues.

Moreover, you have to wear a dust mask and a pair gloves before you start.

2. Put a drop sheet beneath the metal object you will paint.

3. Moreover, it is a good idea to keep a wet cloth beside you. This will help you to wipe all the rust, dust, and paint while you are working.
Removing the Old Paint
1. If your metal has an old paint, you have to remove it first before progressing. In doing this, you will need a wire brush to strip the paint away.

2. While stripping, you should occasionally wipe the paint and dust particles.

3. Optionally, you can use a high-grade sandpaper in scrubbing the paint away.

Cleaning the Surface of the Metal

1. When you are done stripping the paint, you will need to rub away all the residues using a damp cloth. Afterwards, you will need to use a new cloth to wipe the metal thoroughly. You should repeat this process so that you can expel all the grease and grime in the surface.

Sanding the Metal

1. After you cleaned the surface, you have to sand it again. This time, you will have to do it to ensure that the metal will be smooth. Smooth finishes can guarantee extended lifespan of your paint. Therefore, it will save you from the hassle of painting from time to time.

2. Once you are done sanding, you have to wipe the surface with a damp cloth. You have to remove any debris before proceeding to the actual painting process.

Applying the Primer

1. If your metal has rust, you will need to apply a zinc-chromate primer. You have to do this first before using your regular primer. This process is only applicable to rusted metals. If your metal is in a fine condition, then jump to the next step.

2. Metals that have no rust will require an oil-based primer. Apply it based on the prescribed direction.

3. You have to ensure that your paint and primer is compatible. For example, if you will use acrylic paint, you will need to choose an oil-based primer. Specifically, it should be compatible with acrylic. Moreover, look for primers that are made for painting metal objects.

4. Use a paint sprayer to coat one layer of primer. You have to do this thoroughly until such time all the surface will be covered.

5. The second coating is necessary because metal is susceptible to oxidation. This means that if you only use one coat of primer, your metal will just rust. Moreover, the double coating allows the metal to be resistant to the elements.

6. After the applying the primer, you should wait for it to dry. Most of the brands of primers have varying drying time. Therefore, make sure that you know this piece of information before you start painting.

Painting the Metal

1. Using your paint sprayer, apply one layer of acrylic paint to the surface of the metal. Apply evenly and make sure you will do it thoroughly. After applying, you should let the paint dry thoroughly. Usually, an acrylic paint dries quickly. Therefore, there is no need for you to wait for so long.

2. After drying, you can now apply the second layer of coating. You should still do this process evenly to get a satisfactory result. Just like the primer, the second layer of coat will provide additional protection to the metal.

As a reminder, you can apply a different color of paint on the first coating and another color on the second layer. This will explore your creativity on handling different paint colors!

3. When you are done, you should let your metal dry for 48 hours, at max. This will ensure that the paint will thoroughly stick to the object. Moreover, you should put it on a place in where there are not potential damages that can occur.


Knowing how to paint metal will give you the flexibility to refurbish different structures of your home. It also lets you save money, as you will no longer need to hire the services of professionals.

Moreover, we recommend that you should have the right painting tools. For example, a paint sprayer can enable you to paint the surface of the metal evenly! It can also give you professional finishes to your items and furnishings!