Before I started painting the front door, I had to remove all the existing hardware. The brass door handle was in terrible shape, so I looked into buying a new one. That option was immediately ruled out because I didn’t want to spend upwards of $125. So I did the next best thing: I spray painted the door handle oil rubbed bronze.

door handle before


  • Ultra fine steel wool
  • Liquid deglosser and rag
  • Oil rubbed bronze spray paint

1. Steel Wool

Rub the handles with ultra fine steel wool. This creates a lot of micro-abrasions and dulls the surface to help the paint cling. I’ve read other sources that suggest using finishing sanding paper, but this scarred me too much. I didn’t want to actually scratch the brass. The handle was already tarnished too much, why risk further damage?

door handle spray paint supplies

2. Liquid Deglosser

I rubbed the metal with a rag dampened with liquid deglosser. This removed any remaining oils. Oh, by the way, do this all outside. Steel wool is messy and deglosser is smelly.

3. Spray Paint the Door Knobs Oil Rubbed Bronze

The spray paint I used was a primer and paint in one, so priming wasn’t necessary. I went straight to spraying. Holding the can about 12 inches away, I misted the surfaces in a sweeping motion. I let the first layer dry, then toggled locks and rotated handles, and gave the metal another coat. Some pieces finished quickly (the peephole, for example), so I took those out of the mix before spraying another layer. The massive handle took the longest to paint because I had to flip it every which way.

door handle oil rubbed bronze

I let the metal sit outside and bake in the sun so the paint wouldn’t stink up the house. After a few hours, I put the hardware back into our newly painted green front door and was quite pleased with my work.

door handle oil rubbed bronze

Not bad for a $7 can of paint. We’re pretty pleased with the results. Oil rubbed bronze on green = meeeow!

door handle oil rubbed bronze

I’ll update in a few months to show you how the wear and tear is going (or, isn’t going, hopefully!).

door handle oil rubbed bronze

Any spray painting fun happening in your house?

Update: Read an update on the door knobs here!

13 Responses to Spray Paint Door Handle Oil Rubbed Bronze

  1. Sue says:

    I also did my hinges. I taped them up and then sprayed the spray paint in a small glass bowl. I used a sponge brush and dabbed the paint on, using no brush strokes. Turned out perfect and didn’t even have to take them off my door.

  2. Annie Dawson says:

    I’ve done this to almost all my handles at home. We have had some issue with those handles which are used more frequently. I will have to do some touch up. Thinking it would be best to put a coat of poly on before reinstalling. I purchased “real” handles at discount for the ones that get used most frequently – at

    • Paige says:

      Belated response! You know, a coat of poly would probably be an excellent idea. An extra layer of insurance. We’re at the point where we need to invest in “real” handles for the exterior doors, they show the most wear and tear.

  3. I did the same thing. The results are amazing, but the paint will start to come off with heavy use.
    You could always get a little touch up paint for scratches.

    • Paige says:

      Belated response: Yes! Our door knobs are still rocking, but the front door? Not so much. The latch catch plates are scraped a bit too. C’est la vie. I can live with it though, still 100% better and 90% cheaper 🙂

  4. Rob says:

    I’m thinking of doing this as well. How did the paint hold up?

  5. I hate the gold knobs all throughout my house, but buying new hardware just isn’t an option. So I *love* this idea! Thank you so much for this post, and especially for the update post to show how it held up over time. Pinning now!

    • Judy Brockman says:

      How is the pain holding up for the gold knobs within your house. Any pictures? Did you paint any outdoor knobs?

      • Paige says:

        Good! I did an update here /2013/04/painted-front-door/ it’s from last April, but the paint is in the same condition. All the interior knobs are pristine. The latch plates in the door frames are slightly scratched from the latches running against them (but only on the doors we frequently open and close, like the bathroom). The exterior door knobs are good. The back door looks great, but the front door is a little rough from being stabbed with a key several times a day 🙂

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