Friday, June 10, 2011

How To Spray Paint Door Knobs and Learn from My Mistakes

I was definitely afraid to take spray paint to my door knobs. I wasn't afraid that I'd ruin their bronzy beauty:
Sorry, I don't have many pictures focusing on the knobs... They're bad news! 

But anyway, back to being afraid to paint... I was afraid of doing what I typically do and screwing them up because I'm impatient! I will put 1 or 2 very thick coats of paint on whatever I'm painting. The second coat is most often done while the first is still wet. Then I'll accidentally bump into what I painted and take a big chunk out of the paint! This happens when I paint my toenails, when I paint a wall, whatever. I've never met a thin coat of anything! I finally couldn't look at the bronze anymore and did some extensive googling. 

I found a few websites that recommended that I buy a metallic spray paint, and a primer. They also said sanding the knob was super important so the paint would stick. I decided I would only take a knob and all other metal door parts off and practice on that one. If it worked I would do 1/2 of them, and do the other 1/2 once it was done. I was going to put this "trial knob" back on and live with it for a week to see how it held up to use. 

Impatient me got in the way. I figured "while I have this screwdriver out I should just..." and an hour later I'd unhung every door in the house! I then attempted to get myself back to behaving and sorted everything very nice:
See all of the poor unhung doors to the left and back? See my carefully labeled bowls of stuff? 

Don't do that. Total waste of time!

When it's time to sand and paint you dump them all out. Sorting comes when it's time to reassemble. 
So, I have them all together and I realize- "It's time to sand with the steel wool recommended online!" 

Don't use steel wool. It will make marks on your knobs that will show through when you paint them!

Use an old piece of sandpaper that's near the end of its life. That worked sooo much better! Rough everything up really good! After I was done sanding I realized how impulsive I am. Everyone I'd googled had punched their knobs through cardboard so they were upright when painted. Whoops. I ran all over the house looking for cardboard. Fortunately I had bought a new TV and had the styrofoam from that still. But not enough. I also found a cardboard box I'd bought for shipping a gift. I promptly "repurposed" that box! And I improvised in a few other ways... I'm ashamed to show this:

Yes... I definitely used a snow drift. Yes... The snow drift is silver because of the spray paint!
I thought I was done and had thrown out all of my cardboard and stuff and I found a few touchups that this puppy needed! 

So anyway... Don't use a snow drift! It worked just fine for me, but it's summer. After laying them all out, and mounting them all
It was time to prime! The primer dries super fast. I bought dark grey since I was going silver. After actually following the recommended dry time I went over them again, then flipped and repeated the process. Fortunately, I only have 8 interior doors with knobs and hinges (I have 2 pocket doors). 1 can of primer and 1 of paint was just enough for 8 doors and all of their accessories. 

After priming, of course it was time to paint! I will admit, seeing shiny silver cover blah matte grey is exciting. I went a little really overboard on a knob before I saw that it was super gross and drippy. 

Don't do that! It dried all gloppy and gross and I had to re-sand the knob and start over in the whole prime then paint process. 

Fortunately I got smart after I messed up 1 knob and actually did light coats. It probably took 5 dry times before I was happy with the results. 



I would recommend not spray painting when it's a balmy 40 degrees out... Wait until it's warmer! Things will dry faster! I also was my own worst enemy. The very next day I put the knobs back on. The screwdriver bumping the side of the knobs made a couple of marks on the paint, and the most heavily used knobs showed a tiny bit of wear and tear. 

Totally my fault.

In April I took the knobs that didn't look so good back off (there were only 2, the others looked perfect!). I redid them and waited a full week to reinstall. Since I did them correctly there are 0 marks on them! I was afraid they'd look cheap though. Even in the pictures they kind of look "tin man silver' vs. a stainless type look. So check the color out next to my stainless stove:

Hopefully this is super informative about how easy it is to spray paint doorknobs... And how to avoid the mistakes I've made! 

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