Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: From Brassy to Sassy

As you know, I'm currently knee deep in project "Paint All the Trim in the Entire House White." To date, I've managed to paint the trim in all of our larger (most lived-in) rooms, so this past weekend I started on a few of the doors. Along with a nice coat of fresh white paint, I decided they also needed a fixture update. Our house is a 1950's ranch, so we've been trying to get her (yes, our house is female -- girl power!) into the 21st century ever since we moved in. Can you believe we actually had a ceiling fan in our dining room when we first moved in? Dust flakes in your salad, anyone?

This gives you an idea of what all of our doors/knobs look like . . . 

Since the doors were in true 1950's style with lovely brass knobs, I wanted to replace the knobs, hinges and screws with brushed nickel in order to keep things looking fresh and clean. Much to my dismay, I went to Lowe's to price out new knobs and they were about $12 a pop . . . just for the knobs. Yowzah! Hubby and I quickly guesstimated that it would easily cost us $200 to replace all the knobs, hinges and screws in our doors.
That's when I discovered the magic of spray paint. I stumbled across several blog articles and after some research found out how to take my knobs from brassy to sassy for less than $30.

Here's what you'll need:
From L to R: Coarse Sandpaper -- you'll need a block like the one above, but you'll also need some sheets in order to really get in the crevices of your knobs; Metallic spray paint in brushed nickel (I tested with the Lowe's Valspar brand); Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer

You'll also need some dish soap, a bucket or bowl, some Styrofoam, cardboard, and a screwdriver or drill.

Start by unscrewing (using your screwdriver or your drill) all of your hardware -- screws, hinges, knobs, latchy-thingy, etc -- anything brassy that you want to look sassy :)

Take your bucket or bowl, and fill it with warm soapy water. Place your hardware in the bowl and let it soak for about 10 minutes.

While those beauts are getting a bath, take a moment to get your work station ready. You'll need to do this in a well ventilated area (a garage works great!). Lay out some newspaper, cardboard and Styrofoam. 

Doing this will keep your garage floor spray paint free. A spray paint free garage floor keeps the man in your life happy. Trust me. There may or may not be red paint splotches on our driveway from a paint job gone bad. I might have been the one responsible for that. *grin*

After your brassy stuff is done bathing, remove it and give it a good wipe down. If yours are 60+ years old like ours, then you might have to put some elbow grease into it. 
Let them dry completely . . . 

Take your trusty sandpaper and go to town! You'll really want to sand these puppies down. Really get into those crevices  . . .here's what your sanded knob should look like when your done (sanded below, not sanded on top)

Take all your hardware, and stick it upright in your Styrofoam -- this will keep it from toppling over. You can place your hinges on the cardboard . . . 

Now begins the process of spraying your primer. You want a nice, even coat--not too heavy, or else you'll get the dreaded paint drippies!

You'll want to let them dry completely. Probably about 4-5 hours or so. And, if you need a second coat of primer, reapply and let it dry again.

Then comes the fun part!!  Grab your metallic spray paint and go to town!
Again, spray evenly and not too heavy. 

And, once it's all done, you should get something that looks like this . . . .

You'll want to let these dry 24-48 hours before you reinstall them.

I have to say, I was completely surprised at how nice these turned out. I was worried I would get to the end and they would somehow look too shiny, too dull or too gray . . . and not brushed nickel-y enough, but they actually look like the real thing! Here's to saving hundreds of dollars on updating our hardware!

And because y'all know I'm a sucker for a true before and after . . .

Brassy Before

Sassy, Brushed Nickel Painted After

Have any of you tried to spray painting before? If so, I'd love to hear how it turned out! 


  1. I'm impressed! They look really good! Can't wait to see them with your doors!

  2. Wow - that looks great! How resourceful and you saved a ton of money! I'm so proud of you!

  3. Those look lovely! Love how they turned out!

  4. I love how ambitious you are; those two projects (trim and hardware) are now on our house to-do list), thanks for such great ideas for updating on a budget!

  5. Nice Job! I will be renting my home next spring and have 39 interior doors with bright shiny brass. Not to mention 117 brass hinges.

  6. How is it holding up? I am very interested but nervous...spray paint has come a long way!

    1. The held up great! We spray painted them about 1 year before we moved, and we never had to do a touch-up.


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