Ever since we moved into our house in the middle of the pandemic, I have been updating it little by little. My dreams of making it feel like a house that is 100 years old can be expensive. I will eventually replace all the door knobs with vintage ones, but until then I am going to spray paint my door knobs.
Spray painting door knobs is a quick and easy way to update the look of your home. With a few simple supplies and some basic instructions, you can have your door knobs looking like new in no time.
Paint is one of my favorite ways to update my home on a budget and this DIY fits that ticket! Come on!
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How to Spray Paint Door Knobs To Last
Before we dive into the best way to spray paint door knobs, there are few things to consider. First thing is Can door knobs be spray painted?? Second, is it worth it to take the time to spray paint each individual door knob or is buying new more efficient?
Can I Spray Paint Door Knobs?
You can definitely spray paint door knobs, YES! The key is, like with most painting projects, to do all the prep work and choose quality products. You get what you pay for so the right paint+prep will make the paint job last longer.
Enamel paint is the best kind of spray paint, but this is the spray paint I used. Before that, clean the knobs REALLY WELL and rough them up. Use the most important part: an automotive primer! Then apply the spray paint in light coats and then seal. Let dry for a couple days.
When Should I Buy vs DIY?
If you have a smaller house or apartment that you own, maybe a mobile home, you may have only 5 or so doors. It may be more cost effective to go to home depot or lowe’s or even amazon to replace your door knobs rather than go to the trouble of spray painting them.
We will talk later about how much I saved by DIYing vs buying.
Supplies Needed For Spray Painting Door Knobs
Here are the supplies and tools you will need to get the best results that will last when deciding to spray paint your door knobs:
- automotive primer
- Rustoleum spray paint in black matte (choose what ever color you wish)
- TSP Cleaner
- Top Coat
- Painter’s tape
- Something to protect your painting area (I always use a cardboard box, usually from amazon haha)
- Rustoleum Etching primer (this one is optional, I will explain in a second)
Additional Supplies Recommended
A question asked a lot, in addition to spray painting door knobs, is whether you can spray paint the hinges? The answer is yes, of course you can. However, these are much bigger of a pain in the butt to prep for painting.
They either have to be completely removed (thus the door has to be removed) or meticulous taping is involved to section off the hinges from the door, door frame, and then there is the big problem of over spray. Does this sound fun to you? That’s a no for me.
These hinges are also going to have a lot of movement (like my kids slamming doors). Since I would have to remove the hinges anyways, I decided to replace them. You can buy them in big contractor packs to save money.
Full transparency, I have not replaced all of the ones in my house. Slow and steady, it will get done one day.
It’s ok to do things a little at a time and when you have room in the budget. HOME TAKES TIME! I also bought new strike plates because there is not paint on earth strong and durable enough to withstand the constant friction they endure. No brainer.
Steps By Step Instructions on Spray Painting Door Knobs
This DIY can save you so much money, but you don’t want to have to do it multiple times. We want to get it right and have longevity. Here are the steps to follow for learning how to spray paint door knobs so they will last for years.
Step 1-Remove the Hardware
Using a screwdriver, remove the screws from all the door handles. Keep up with the screws, unless you don’t want to paint them the same color. Remove the latch mechanisms as well. Label these with painters tape. I put all of mine in the ziploc bag and painted them after I reattached the door knobs.
The latch strike will not stand up to any paint, no matter how durable, so I ordered new ones.
This is an extra step, but I think it’s a good idea. Take some painter’s tape to label the door knobs so you know what goes together and where the go.
Step 2-Prepping the Door Knobs for Paint
Before any painting can begin, prep work is an important first step. Wash the door knobs in hot soapy water thoroughly. Additionally, you can use TSP for a deeper clean if the door handles aren’t regularly cleaned (mine are not, so I used TSP to make sure the dirt and grime was gone).
Step 3-Sanding or Self Etching Primer?
Next, you have a choice. The door knobs are slick and need something for the paint to be able to grab onto. This can be done with a light scuff sanding with your sander. Use a fine grit (220 or above) to rough up the door knob. This gives paint a surface to adhere to. After sanding, wipe with a tack cloth.
If you choose to sand, do this first, then wash the knobs, then prime with an automotive primer.
If you wish to skip sanding so many door knobs, try self etching primer. It is also an automotive primer that etches (scuffs) the metal itself because it contains an acidic compound. Set out some cardboard boxes and spray the latch mechanisms, door knobs, and screws with the primer.
This is a 2-in-1 step because now you have “scuffed” and primed your metal door knobs. Let dry for 24 hours.
Step 4-Spray With Primer
It’s finally time to start spraying the knobs. First comes the automotive primer. Flip your doorknob over first. Put on gloves and lightly coat the underside of the door knobs with primer, then flip over and spray the top.
Repeat with several light coats until the knob is covered. Let dry thoroughly for 24 hours.
Step 5-Spray Paint The Door Knobs
The biggest mistake I see people making with spray painting an item is to go to heavy (which causes drips, gross) and it takes to long to dry.
They also spray paint the top and try to access the bottom from while the item is right side up. It’s usually a disaster. (Ask me how I know).
Spray the door knobs, latch mechanisms, and screws. To make your life easier, get one of these spray paint handles to keep your hands free from paint. Pay attention to how much time it says to wait until you can spray another coat. Mine was within 2 hours, so I sprayed another coat after about an hour.
If you don’t re-coat within the 2 hours, you have to wait 48 hours. I did all the priming and spray painting in the same day when we finally had a nice weather day.
Step 6-Leave The Door Knobs To Dry For 2-3 Days
Give the door knobs plenty of time to dry. They are dry to the touch 2 hours after painting, but don’t completely dry for a couple of days. We want to give these knobs the best chance at longevity so we don’t mess up all the work we just did. I set mine in my garage on a worktable out of the way.
Step 7-Cover With A Top Coat
After they dry for 2-3 days is when you can spray a top coat on for even more added protection. The longer you give the knobs to dry, the better chance they have of not chipping or scratching upon reinstallation. If you use a high gloss paint, I don’t think a top coat is necessary.
Step 6-Reinstall The Spray Painted Door Knobs
It’s finally time to reinstall the door hardware after all of your hard work. Great job! There will inevitably be some scratches on the screw heads when reattaching them to the door. Just grab a small paint brush with a little black craft paint or a sharpie to touch it up.
SHH! I won’t tell if you won’t!!
How Much Money Do I Save DIYing vs Buying?
Now let’s lets compare how much I saved by spray painting the door knobs instead of buying the ones that I need. I needed 17 door knobs in total, 4 being dummy knobs for two sets of french doors.
The doorknobs I wanted were 5 for $110 and I would need 3 sets. The french door matching hardware was $30 for 1. I need 4.
New Door Knobs: $110×3=$330 $30×4=$120 $330+$120=$450
So according to my math as of the prices at the time of this post, I saved over $400. I’d say that was a no brainer on my part. I will slowly replace them probably one 5 pack at a time, but for now the spray painting was the way to go.
Should I Spray Paint The Hinges To Match?
I think the real question to ask here is should the hinges match the knobs, strike plate, etc. Yes, I do think it looks better if they all match. Is it necessary? No, not at all.
Then you can decided how to change the color: spray paint then using the same method as the knobs or replacing them. I replaced them, and recommend you do too, but if you want to try spray painting, go ahead!
Should I Add A Protective Top Coat?
If you are using a high gloss spray paint finish, then you probably don’t need to worry about it. The metallic spray paint I used is pretty durable, but I did still seal it with a protective top coat.
Spray after the last coat dries for 24 hours. This can help particularly if you have exterior knobs to paint or those in a bathroom.
I wanted all my knobs to look the same so I just sprayed them all with the top coat. There is no such thing as too much protection. It really helps make the paint last and not rub off the metal.
Can Brass Be Spray Painted?
The handles I was spray painting are metal which doesn’t need to have any coating removed, but what about brass? Good news is, yes you can absolutely spray paint brass using the same method as above.
If you are going to use the self etching primer, however, you need to remove the polyurethane coating before priming and painting. Or you can just sand. The same goes for hinges, spray paint at your own risk or just replace.
I Spray Painted Knobs, What About Door Handles?
YES you can totally paint door handles! Use the same steps for spray painting door knobs to spray paint your door handles. Don’t forget to spray the underside FIRST!
Can I Spray Paint Around Door Knobs Without Removing Them?
Technically you can, but I don’t recommend it. Interior door handles would have to be taped off around the back plate and everything within a 12 foot radius be covered in plastic wrap to catch any potential over spray. It’s not worth it, just take them off and spray paint outside.
Remember, these knobs have to dry for 2-3 days plus a day for drying after primer and 2-3 more for the top coat. The spray paint isn’t technically cured for a month either, so you still have to be a little careful too. You may end up with a door that can’t be used for quite a while.
You may be able do this with an outdoor knobs since the over spray may not be as big of a deal. Above is my back door of my house with a spray painted lock. It is still going strong! Spray paint for the win!
Can I Change the Color? Brass to Silver? Nickel to O.R.B?
Yes you can change the color of the knob, that’s the whole point of spray painting them is to update them to your chosen color. It may just change the primer you use. Generally, if you are going from a dark color to lighter color (brass to silver), use a lighter primer and it may require more coats of paint.
If going from a lighter to darker color (nickel to black or oil rubbed bronze), use a darker primer like a black or dark gray primer before spraying the darker paint color. The rest of the process is the same.
Important Things To Remember
Wow, that was a lot of information to remember. Hopefully you found the information you needed and it all makes sense. Just to reiterate some of the more important things about this process, here’s a recap of how to spray paint door knobs:
- The automotive primer is a crucial step for the longevity of the paint
- Sanding can be skipped if you use a self etching primer, if not definitely sand before applying primer
- A Top Coat will afford extra protection, if you used a high gloss spray paint then a top coat isn’t needed
- Try to match finishes so no weird textures appear on the knobs. High gloss primer + high gloss spray paint, matte primer +matte spray paint + matte top coat.
- DRYING TIME MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE! Let dry for 24 hours after primer, 2-3 days after last coat of paint, 24 hours after spray top coat and let dry for another 2-3 days.
- Choose the right color primer, use a black one if going to a oil rubbed bronze or black
- Don’t bother spray painting the strike plate or hinges, just replace them with new ones. You’ll thank yourself and me later.
- If you get spray paint on your hands, check out how to clean the spray paint off hands.
Spray painting your door knobs is an easy update that can change the entire look of your doors and home. My favorite part is where you can save so much money depending on the kinds of knobs or handles you wish to replace the old ones with.
I love when aesthetics and function meet like when I converted a kitchen cabinet into a trash drawer. Another super easy and impactful DIY.
Anyone can do this diy, it just takes some time to gather the materials and patience while waiting on the dry time. Trust me its well worth it! Let me know if you try this!