How To Refinish or Paint Brass

Brass adds an ancient charm to any household. Along with gold and silver, it is a favorite material for making keepsakes and heirlooms. Daily wear and tear, however, can take a toll at brass. It is not uncommon for brass furniture and fixture to turn brownish or blackish after several years.

  • There are two ways you can make your brass furniture or fixture look its best again. You can either refinish it or paint it. Refinishing brass, however, is only possible if the brass is not plated. You can test this by placing a magnet near your brass furniture or fixture. If the magnet sticks to it, your furniture or fixture is plated. Otherwise, it is made of brass. Another test you can do to know if your brass is not plated is to scratch an inconspicuous area on your furniture or fixture. The shavings should look yellowish if your furniture or fixture is made of brass. Whichever of the two methods you choose, the key in making your old brass beautiful is to refinish or paint them properly. Here’s how:  
  • Gather the materials. You need different sets of materials for refinishing and painting brass furniture or fixture. For refinishing brass, you should acquire soap, warm water, rags, a paint stripper, an extra fine steel wool pad, an emery board, a paint stripper after wash, rags, a brass polish, and a polymer-based car wax. You need soap, warm water, 100-grit sandpaper, an epoxy primer, polyurethane, paint, and a paintbrush, meanwhile, for painting brass. Aside from these materials, you should also have rubber gloves and goggles to protect yourself from the chemicals that will be used in this activity.
  • Prepare the brass furniture or fixture. First, remove any objects inside or on your brass furniture. If refinishing or painting a fixture, remove the fixture from where it is attached. Next, clean the brass with a rag dipped in a mixture of soap and warm water. Then, rinse the brass in tepid water and let it dry.
  • Refinishing brass. If you decided to refinish your brass furniture or fixture, you should strip it off its coating first before polishing it. Apply a paint stripper on your brass using a paintbrush. Read the label of the paint stripper for how many minutes you need to leave the stripper on the brass before it can soften the coating. When the stripper has settled on the brass, use an extra fine steel pad and emery board to scrape the brass’ coating. Next, neutralize the paint stripper by rubbing an after wash all over the brass using a rag. When you’re done, apply polish on the brass until it shines. Seal the polish with a polymer-based car wax to protect the polish.
  • Painting brass. Sand your brass furniture or fixture with 100-grit sandpaper. Apply epoxy primer all over the brass using a paintbrush and wait for it to dry. The epoxy primer will make the paint adhere better on your brass furniture or fixture. When the primer has dried, apply a layer of paint on the brass. Let this layer of paint dry first, before applying another layer. When you’re done painting the brass, top the paint with polyurethane to seal it.

If possible, refinish or paint your brass furniture and fixture on your lawn. In this way, the strong fumes that paints and primers emit wouldn’t be trapped in your house.


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