a must-have tutorial: How to Paint a Brass Chandelier

Last Friday I gave you a sneak peak into my weekend project…

To tell you the truth, it’s a project that I have been day dreaming of and planning for a while now,

So I’m pretty excited to show it to you.


I won’t be revealing the entire room yet, so you’ll just have to wait to see the rest.


Because I still want to do “just one more project”…..


Anywayyyyy… I love the look of a painted brass chandelier.

The bones of them are pretty and feminine, and if done right, they can be a great combination of a traditional elegance and bold modern color.

image via thepartydress.net

The best part is that since they are often considered so dated, even many of the less ambitious of us end up changing them out.  Most of these end up in the trash or in a second hand shop, making them pretty easy to come by and pretty cheap too! I got mine at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store for fifteen bucks.

When I first brought this beauty home, I affectionately called it “my chandy”. But the hubby told me he’d vomit if I called it that one more time asked me very kindly not to call it that anymore, so I’ve been trying to show some restraint…


Anywayyyyy…. The first thing you want to do is to make sure that your chandelier is well cleaned and free of any dust or particles. I just wiped mine down with a wet rag, paying special attention to all of those hard to reach places.

I used two different chemicals to prepare the metal for painting: Liquid Sander Deglosser and Acetone. They are pretty smelly and probably not too good for our planet, so make sure to be especially careful with them. You could probably substitute for these with different chemicals, but I already had both of them from a previous project and they both worked really well.

Use a clean dry rag and a little bit of elbow grease to rub the deglosser all over the fixture, being careful to frequently switch the portion of the rag you are using so you don’t redeposit grime back onto the chandelier.

Repeat if necessary.

(A quick tip that I have learned the hard way? If you are in doubt… it’s probably necessary. We are spending time and money on theses projects, ladies! It would be silly to skimp over a step because you are in a hurry to get things done, just to have the project turn out sub-par because of it!)

Using another clean dry rag rub the acetone onto the brass surface and into all of the little nooks and crannies.

Once everything is well cleaned, it’s time tape off. I knew I wanted the faux candle sticks to be white, so before I primed the piece I taped off only the light bulb sockets and the ends of the wire. I then sprayed the whole thing down with a primer made specifically for painting metal (Rustoleum’s Metal Primer ). I don’t know if it worked better than spray Kilz primer or not, but I can tell you that I didn’t have any problems with it and was happy with the results!

Because of all of those bitter-sweet nooks and crannies, it’s necessary to spray the chandelier from different angles, making sure to cover all surfaces and paying special attention to the bottom of the fixture, since that’s what people will be looking up at when it’s hanging over their heads. It took me 3 separate coats of primer sprayed from different angles to feel as though it was well covered.

You might want to do a little bit of light sanding with a fine grit sandpaper in between coats to get rid of any bumps or drip marks.I ran out of my high grit paper so I used a clean, gently used Brillo pad to get rid of any flecks or bumps, and then wiped it down again with a wet rag.

(Note: make sure each coat is completely dry before trying to sand or to move the chandelier in order to paint it from a different angle.)

…I have to admit that, at this point, I was reallyyyy loving the chandy (oops) already just in white. I love love LOVE just about anything in white and was almost tempted to cover the entire thing in a coat of glossy white spray paint and throw it up on the ceiling as-is…

Once the entire fixture was well primed (including the candlesticks, chain and ceiling medallion), I moved on to the top coat of the candle sticks, spraying them down with some of Rustoleum’s glossy White. It’s important to do this before painting the rest of the chandelier, because it’s waaaaay easier to tape off 6 candle sticks when painting your main color than it is to tape off the entire chandelier if you try to add the white later.


Wait until the candle sticks are COMPLETELY dry, then tape them of, making sure to press your tape down and to bring it as close to the bottom of the candle stick as possible.

Now your ready for your final color.

Oh, and at this point…. you’re going to start to get a little excited.


I think it’s definitely important to choose the right color of paint for your chandelier, so take your time and check out a couple of different brands and stores before you commit. I got lucky and found my color at The Home Depot, where I swiped up a can of Rustoleum’s Warm Yellow.

You’re going to have to do multiple coats again, so just take your time and make sure each coat covers well and is a smooth surface before moving on to the next one.

After I thought everything was well painted and dried, I carefully removed the tape from the candle sticks. This is when I noticed that the tape was pulling just a little bit of white paint off along with it and that I had missed a few spots which had been hiding from me on the actual fixture. I got out a pack of small, really cheap kids’ crafts brushes that I keep in my crafting crate (I use these when I am working with oil based paint so that I can just throw them away) and two paper plates. I sprayed my paint in a small puddle on the plate and used a brush to make the touch ups.  It worked great.

Finally, I sprayed the entire thing down with a liberal application of crystal clear enamel (I keep this on hand instead of polyurethane because I paint so many things white and polyurethane tends to yellow and discolor over time… especially on white or light colored surfaces).

Here’s my finished product:

Are you going to stop reading my blog because of my bad iphone pics…hmmm??

Hanging the light was a little bit of an intimidating idea for us, because even though I have watched it a hundred times on all of my design shows, we have NEVER done any kind of electrical work at all. Plus one of the only downfalls of our our well-built 1930’s bungalow is that it has knob and tube wiring everywhere except for the kitchen, and we weren’t sure how that would effect the project.

The sunlight was fading and we had to shut off the power to our entire house… plus we had a fussy baby. We had the old ceiling fan down and the new chandelier up in under thirty minutes…. talk about teamwork!


Here she is hanging in her new home:

We still need to patch up the ceiling and switch out Madelyn’s nightlight bulbs… but its 98% done!

If you have any questions for me about this tutorial, or anything else you see on my blog, please to not hesitate to email me at lindsey@housemadehome.net!

We were busy with this and one other project this weekend, so needless to say a few of my chores have been neglected for the past few days. I have a mile long to-do list and am going out of town this Thursday… then classes start the following Tuesday!

Hope your having a great week!

Click HERE to see the fabulous days I am linking up to.


74 Responses to “a must-have tutorial: How to Paint a Brass Chandelier”

  1. Jen says:

    i repainted a chandelier too and it really does make ALL the difference!! it’s amazing how an old, broken-down, cheapy-cheap light fixture can change so dramatically with a can of spray paint! your’s turned out perfectly…

  2. Kate says:

    I have to say, when I saw the chandy in white I was totally impressed and if it were me, I probably would have stopped there BUT I love, love, LOVE the yellow. Great call. I found you through Holly’s Fresh Coat Friday and I’m super glad I did!

  3. Holly says:

    WOW!! That looks straight out of a pottery barn catalogue! I have yet to attempt a brass light fixture, but you are so right they have great lines. Can’t wait to see what you share next, and thanks again for linking up with us for Fresh Coat Friday!!


  4. Stephanie says:

    I am featuring this idea on crazydomestic.com tomorrow! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Amber says:

    how cute i love it all white with the pink bulbs so cute for a little girls room!

  6. wow, i love it! Now that is inspiration. I’m always looking to collect new ideas and am going to add this to my scrap book for sure.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. So you have had no problem even though you repainted the candlestick covers? My dad (electrician) said I should not because paint is flamable, but I was considering doing it anyways. Any thoughts?

  8. admin says:

    we have had no problems at all, even when we have accidentally left her light burning all day while we were out!

  9. admin says:

    glad you liked it!

  10. Vicki says:

    It looks really good. It’s interesting what you started with, because we have a brass chandelier that is very shiny gold, and I was thinking of spraying it to look like the black-oil bronzed look. have you seen that done? The white or yellow won’t look so good in the dining room.

  11. Jan says:

    I’m terrified by the simplist projects. Do you think I can handle something as complicated as this project? I have no painting experience. I really want to try. This is a eight light candelier. Do you think this is more than I can handle? I don’t want to attempt this project if I will distroy it beyond repair.

  12. DougA says:

    Nice, and well done. Rather than patching the ceiling, your could affix a ceiling rose that would set that thing off pretty nicely.

  13. shannon says:

    loved reading all of your post!! why have you stopped???? i am sure you are super busy but i want to see how your home turned out. plan on doing your chandy redo this week while kids are in school….thanks for the tutorial!!

  14. Kassi says:

    Where can I find the pink bulbs?

  15. new time diy-er says:

    Definitely used your steps while I did mind! I diff have an issue with paint drip marks but in the end I have a pink chandelier. If your up for it, I also did a glitter color over and I made the light reflection even more fabulous! :) thank you for everything!

  16. carol says:

    Ok. so I am new at this, and I just started to prime a shinny brass chandy too. I already have a problem. The primer is leaving drip marks. What am I doing wrong? Can I sand out those drips? I thought this was going to be easy.

  17. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for your great tutorial! I have been wanting to tackle this project and your instructions seemed the best as I looked around. I’m excited now to re-new my chandelier!

  18. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for your great tutorial! I have been wanting to tackle this project and your instructions seemed the best as I looked around. I’m excited now to re-new my chandelier!

  19. Diana says:

    Hi! I was wondering…I am imagining myself spray painting a lovely brass 12 candlestick candleabra I snagged for $5…how did you keep your chandy from dripping spray paint? How did you manage to get the coats so even? Should I throw down a tarp outside, sit my candleabra on it and spray top to bottom or vice versa–can you tell I have a slight case of Project OCD??

  20. Amanda says:

    Hi, I know this is a really old post, but I love the color of the chandelier, and I am wondering if the spray paint was gloss or satin? I could only find gloss in warm yellow at our Home Depot. I would appreciate it if you could let me know. Thanks!

  21. Robin says:

    Glad I found your tutorial on Pinterest! I (and by that I mean “my dear husband”) just finished hanging up my freshly painted chandy that I rescued from Salvation Army. Mine is a barn red color, and I absolutely love it in my kitchen. Thanks for giving me the courage to try spray painting, and some inspiration for recycling!

  22. luba says:

    How did you get a way with the paint brush marks?

  23. I searched Pinterest for how to paint brass and found you. Of course because yours was a chandy it caught my eye. Thank you for such good directions. We just moved into my Grandma’s house our Forever Home (see my blog for pics) and we have lots of brass stuff to paint. I just took the brass rose towel holder down and it is first on my try to do list. Thank you again.

  24. jillkitty says:

    Recently divorced, I was bestowed one oct-lamp, brass 1980’s vintage. I found your blog simply by searching “how to paint brass” very impressive and fun to read! Ready to take on this project!

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