How To Give Outdated Brass Pieces New Life

brass lamps painted with chalk paintI know, I know.. brass. It was just too hard for me to give up my brass pieces! I love them all. I finally took some of my favorite lamps, a chandelier, a planter and wall hangings that are different shells. All brass and all lovely. And while each one was pretty in it’s own right, all felt dated.

If you’re just getting started, you can get your feet wet and begin with your easiest design pieces. I started with the (mostly) flat planter, then worked my way to the more complex designs of the wall hangings. The raised areas of the shells were screaming to be accentuated!

 My favorite colors right now are shades of blues & greens and especially the various aqua shades. And with brass, it just seems appropriate since verdigris is aqua. Verdigris is the natural color of copper over time, like what you see on the statue of Liberty (made of copper) The chalk paint and verdigris both have a matte appearance which allows you to create beautiful contrast with the shiny brass.

 If your piece is very shiny, you may need to give it a priming base coat. Don’t forget to paint the backs and underneath…  I used a teal as my base coat, then brushed on a coat of light aqua for these particular pieces. Of course it wouldn’t be complete without the dark wax. American Paint Company has a wonderful dark wax. Chalk paint normally bonds pretty well to metal, however it’s important to note that care is required when waxing brass.

When adding and polishing with the wax it can easily remove the paint where you most want it to stay, so when distressing your brass piece be more delicate than you would be when distressing furniture.

 How To Paint Brass With Chalk Paint:

  • American Paint Company chalk paint
  • Various paint brushes
  • Dark or light Wax
  • Steel Wool
  • Sandpaper
  • Old newspaper
  • Old clothes
  • Protective eye goggles
  • Sandpaper
  • Sharp tool (for fine details and some distressing looks)
  • Primer (not required for most brass pieces)

Spread newspaper out to cover the area you are working on.

Painting-Brass-Lamps-Before-and-After-Make sure your piece is very clean and free from oils, grease and dirt. If it’s properly cleaned, you don’t need to prime your piece. You can carefully sand edges that would normally get worn over time or leave the paint as is. You will know what look you want once the paint dries. You can even try distressing it just a bit, and paint over it again if you decide to leave the paint whole.

Sometimes, stencils can be used on flatter edges, but if you’re on your first piece, I wouldn’t recommend stenciling. You can find stencils online or at your local hobby shop. I’ll probably cover stenciling in a later update.

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