How to Upgrade Door Knobs with Spray Paint, The Tried and Tested Method

How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE!

 Hey all, it is Corey from Sawdust 2 Stitches! Since I was last here, I have moved to a  new house!  We love it here, but with the move I find myself re-doing projects that I already have done. For example, painting ALL the walls, and changing all the light fixtures.  While it is a little tiring, I am realizing that it is definitely easier this time around!    There isn’t any guess work.  I know what techniques have worked and which ones have not.  Which is why I’m writing today… brass door knobs. Plain, cheap, contractor grade door knobs. Most people have them, and *almost* nobody wants them!   Have no fear, over the years I have tried a few processes, and I am going to show you the one that has worked best for me, with the best long term results. How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE! Get all the details (and why you shouldn't take shortcuts) from Sawdust2Stitches on Remodelaholic.com

The Tried and Tested Method to Upgrade Door Knobs with Spray Paint

by Sawdust 2 Stitches

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Supplies Used:

  • Foam Sanding Block 
  • Wash Cloth
  • Craft Foam  (or  a cardboard box will work)
  • Spray Primer (like this black primer, if you’re painting your knobs a dark color)
  • “Very Fine” Steel Wool (grade #00, like this or this)
  • Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint (like this or this)

Tools Suggested:

  • Screw Driver

 Step 1.  Remove Hardware

Just DO IT!  I know that some sites might tell you to go ahead and tape it off. “It’ll be fine!”  they say.  EXACTLY , we don’t want “fine”, we want stellar.  I want to know that  I won’t be fixing these things a few months down the road.  So just take them off,  take the time to prep these properly, and you cannot do that when they are attached to your door.  Okay? Okay.

Standard door knobs only  have two long screws. You do not need to remove them,  just loosen and then turn (the base of the knob) it should pop right off.


Step 2. Sand/Scuff

Basic painting 101, if you want a really good adhesion of paint to a surface it will  adhere much better to a dull surface,  not a shiny one.   I realize lots of  spray paint/primers claim “no sanding required”. Well,  it may not be required, but I highly suggest it.   Now when I say “sand”  it is not a long.  labor intensive  task, it is relatively  quick and painless. I use a foam sanding block.  It helps get in all the curves.How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE!

When “sanding”  you are NOT taking off the finish,  you are just scuffing up the surface enough that it becomes dull. How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE!


Step 3.  Wipe Down

After you scuff them up,  you are going to need to wipe them down.   You  just need to remove the dust from sanding, and any  leftover oils or dirt on the surface.

We are now ready to paint!  Obviously, it is a whole heck of a lot easier to paint a stationary item. I choose to use craft foam.  I holds the knobs steady and there are no runaway screws!  You can also use a cardboard box,  it is all personal opinion.

How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE!


Step 4.  Prime

I know what you are thinking,  “but Corey, the spray paint I am using says ‘paint and primer in one'”. Well,  I am just saying, I have done it both ways, and YES just the spray paint will work, it will hold up nicely for quite a long time… but I don’t want “quite a long time”, I want the doorknob finish to outlast the house!  I never want to remove these stinking knobs ever again!

When priming I opted for black primer, because I will be using Oil Rubbed Bronze, and it will cover the black really  nicely.  Like with any spray paint, multiple, LIGHT coats is key!  Don’t try and cover  the whole piece  all at one time.  It will take forever to dry/cure  and you will have drip marks.

How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE!


Step 5.  In-between Coat Sand

This step is quick and painless.  After the primer has dried I quickly once over the knobs/hinges with “very fine” steel wool.  It  will  make sure that your surface is perfectly smooth before you apply your final coat.  After  you have gone over the  knobs/hinges with steel wool, wipe down with a damp cloth to remove excess dust.

How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE!


Step 6. Paint Those Suckers!

You  made it!  You are ready to paint.  (It’s true what they say, painting IS mostly  prep work.)  Again,  when painting use MULTIPLE, LIGHT coats.  Make sure you reference the application instructions on the can to see suggested dry times. Believe me,  those guys know what they are talking about.  Listen to them!  I know being patient is the worst, but it will pay off!  (I used this oil rubbed bronze paint.)How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE!


Step 7. Re-Install

Once they have had ample time to dry  then re-install!  There you have it, a quick and easy update for door knobs! If you are wanting to spray paint your door hinges no problem!  Follow the same above steps, works like a charm!

How to upgrade door knobs with spray paint -- the RIGHT way so you'll only have to do it ONCE!


Now that you’ve spray painted your door knobs… see what else you can spray paint!

A couple coats of spray paint can make a world of difference and turn something dated into something fresh, like:

folding chairs

folding-chair-makeover-grain-sack

lamps and decor

yellow-lamp-redo-before-after

aged window trim

fixing a yellowing door trim2

pillows (yes, you can spray paint fabric!)

spray painted outdoor pillows for a welcoming porch, Remodelaholic

countertops — yes, that’s spray paint!

how to spray paint faux granite countertops, Nest of Bliss on Remodelaholic

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. I love seeing stuff like this and I go right out and buy what I need. Saw the painting of the knobs a couple of years ago and yes, the spray paint is still sitting there waiting for me to get to the job! Great job.

    1. I have done the same thing, often! To the point that I have supplies I can’t remember what project I bought them for 😉 Sounds like we are kindred DIYers, Pam! Thanks for the comment.

      1. okay now i know i am not alone with the supplies and forgetting what they were for…….but i actually did paint my door knobs and they did not hold up to well. i thought i did a good job with prep but maybe its because they are levered handles………

  2. I didn’t believe it until I tried it, sanding the door knobs before the initial spray makes such a difference. We painted one with and one without sanded, the finish on the sanded door knob is soo much better!!

  3. I am in the middle of this project. So far so good, with two exceptions. I did not think I would have to prime/paint BOTH sides of the hinges, but when you hang them, you can see the gold come through. DUH. So if you are doing this, please do both sides. Also, I bought very fine steel wool and when I use it on the knobs, etc., it leaves a horrible light “hairy” mess. Did anyone else have this issue? Am I doing something wrong? Thanks for this tutorial!

  4. Just did this two ways. I referred to another tutorial that said to spray the knobs with acrylic. That actually caused bubbles and an uneven surface so second time around I skipped the acrylic. I also didn’t want to remove the hinges so I painted them the same color as the door with a regular paint brush and the door looks amazing.

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