How to Paint Metal: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Paint Metal: 13 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Paint Metal: 13 Steps (with Pictures)
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If you want to update metal objects with new paint or paint metal surfaces in general, you can do that. The method is also very easy. Even better, the color of the metal surface paint on the object you are going to use again doesn't have to be maintained that way. So there are lots of interesting projects you can do. As long as the metal is properly prepared before painting, you should be able to finish this painting with ease.

Step

Part 1 of 3: Peeling Metal Surfaces

Paint Metal Step 1
Paint Metal Step 1

Step 1. Work in a well-ventilated room

Working with paint and rusty particles can be dangerous. So, choose a large ventilated room, where you can put a few sheets of newspaper or a washcloth as a base while working. Wear gloves and an anti-dust mask when working.

  • Keep a damp cloth nearby to wipe away paint, dust, and rust particles while working. Frequent wiping will be safer for you than waiting until the job is done to clean everything.
  • If the paint you're peeling off contains lead, you should wear a dust mask for your own safety.
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Step 2. Remove old paint from metal surfaces

Use a wire brush to peel the paint off the metal. Don't forget to wipe off dust and paint particles immediately with a damp cloth afterward. If you want, you can use sandpaper to peel off the paint.

  • Use the following combination of steps: exfoliate a wide surface with a wire brush to speed up the process, then use sandpaper to clean the nooks and crannies.
  • You can also use a cordless drill with a wire brush attached to the end. The combination of these two tools is perfect for peeling paint off large surfaces. Don't forget to use earplugs to protect yourself when operating the drill.
Paint Metal Step 3
Paint Metal Step 3

Step 3. Clean the metal surface

Wipe off all paint dust with a damp cloth, then discard the used cloth. Scrape off any remaining paint. Use a clean cloth to wipe the entire metal surface and remove any peeling paint, dirt, oil, and dust from the surface.

  • Don't skip this step even if the metal surface looks pretty clean. Metal surfaces should be perfectly clean, or at least nearly so.
  • If the metal is not perfectly clean, the paint job may be poor. The paint will not adhere well to the metal and will peel off easily.
  • Oil on a freshly galvanized (plated) metal surface-which may or may not be visible to the naked eye-can interfere with painting if not removed. Use a detergent solution to clean freshly galvanized metal.
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Step 4. Sand the metal as smooth as possible

Sanding will make the paint last longer. After sanding, wipe the metal one last time using a damp cloth to remove any remaining debris.

Part 2 of 3: Applying Base Paint to Metal Surfaces

Paint Metal Step 5
Paint Metal Step 5

Step 1. Apply a zinc chromate primer (primer) first if the metal is rusting

Do this step before applying your regular primer, but this step is for rusting metal only. If the metal you're working on doesn't rust, just apply a regular oil-based primer, as described below. Before applying, scrape off any flaking rust and wipe to remove any debris or residue. After the rust has been removed, coat the metal with a zinc chromate primer before applying a premium primer.

  • Coat metal surfaces with a premium primer immediately after application of zinc chromate primer. So don't apply zinc chromate primer first if you are not ready to apply premium primer afterwards.
  • Zinc chromate is an anti-corrosion substance. This substance is applied first to become the first layer on the metal surface to protect it from rust. After applying, immediately apply a regular premium primer so that the zinc chromate remains the first layer. Zinc chromate also acts as an adhesive primer (adhesive) for premium primers.
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Step 2. Choose an oil-based primer

Make sure the primer and paint match each other. You will be using acrylic paint (best for metal). So, choose an oil-based primer that is compatible with acrylic paints. Look for a primer that's made specifically for metal so that it adheres firmly to metal surfaces.

  • Most primers are sold in spray bottles for ease of use. But if you prefer to use a brush to apply it, metal primers are also available in buckets or cans.
  • The primer prepares the metal surface for the paint to adhere properly and helps smooth out any remaining color and texture that cannot be removed.
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Step 3. Apply the first coat of primer

Spray the primer evenly over the metal surface until it is completely covered. If you work outdoors, don't use a spray primer on a windy day. Before using it, shake the can of primer for about 2 minutes.

Paint Metal Step 8
Paint Metal Step 8

Step 4. Apply a second coat of primer

Since metals are very susceptible to the effects of oxidation, a double coat of primer will give the best results. Two coats of primer will help the paint adhere to the metal surface better while making the metal stronger against the effects of time and exposure to natural elements that trigger rust.

Rust, in particular, can be prevented by using the right primer

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Step 5. Allow the primer to dry completely

Drying time depends on each product, so check the information on the product you are using to find out. Acrylic paint will look better and last longer if you apply it over a completely dry primer.

Part 3 of 3: Applying Paint

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Step 1. Apply the first coat of acrylic paint with a brush or paint sprayer

Spray paint is another option you can use, but this type of paint won't last long on metal. Apply the paint evenly to the surface.

If you use a brush, don't let the bristles contain too much paint because it can make the paint smudged and the first coat to be too thick

Paint Metal Step 11
Paint Metal Step 11

Step 2. Allow the first coat of paint to dry completely

Check the product you are using to find out how long it takes to dry. If you don't let the product dry completely, the paint won't last as long. Fortunately, most acrylic paints dry quickly. So you can complete all the work in one day if you have calculated the time correctly.

Paint Metal Step 12
Paint Metal Step 12

Step 3. Apply a second coat of acrylic paint to the metal surface

Apply the paint as evenly as possible. The second layer will make the painting look more perfect when finished later. A second coat will also provide added protection and make the paint stick longer to the metal.

  • You can just apply the first coat of paint with a certain color, let it dry completely, then apply a second coat of paint with another color. This method is suitable for painting letters or logos on metal objects.
  • These acrylic paints are waterproof, meaning you can apply multiple coats for different effects.
  • When applying multiple coats, allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next coat.
Paint Metal Step 13
Paint Metal Step 13

Step 4. Allow the final coat to dry completely for 36 to 48 hours before using the metal object

If possible, paint the item where you can leave it immediately without moving it. That way, you can avoid any damage that might occur to the finished surface if the object has to be moved.

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