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!

7 Responses to Spray Paint Door Handle Oil Rubbed Bronze

  1. Rob says:

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

  2. 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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