Buh-Bye Brass!

Happy Monday everyone!  Hope you had a great weekend.

I wanted to show you another project in our No-Money Remodel.  Our upstairs has a total mismatched collection of fixtures and ceiling fans. None of them are original and it sort of looks like an odd collection of Home Depot clearance sales and garage sale finds.

My least favorite were two, very brassy fixtures in the kitchen: the main, three bulb light and the ceiling fan.  I have searched through literally thousands of pictures going back to 2004 and these blurry shots from 2007 are the only ones I could find.

I’ve apparently tried really hard to keep the glaring brass out of every . single . picture or have cropped heavily.  Or maybe both.

My decorator neighbor suggested painting both fixtures with a little bit of liquid magic:


Specifically Sophisticated Finishes paint by Triangle Crafts in Blackened Bronze. It’s a little larger than a bottle of craft paint and is usually found by the faux finish paints at craft stores.

I’ve used this stuff in the past to paint a little planter and cover an old utensil crock in my kitchen, but was nervous about using it for fixtures. However, since Decorator Girl has a straight-out-of-the-catalog house and I paint diaper boxes, I deferred to her judgment.

Because I’m lazy Because I didn’t think it was necessary, the only prep work I did was to clean both fixtures with soap and water. No primer, no sanding, nothing. And since I didn’t have the electrical know-how to mess with removing either fixture, I just climbed up on a chair and got to work.

I started with the ceiling fan …

… covering the main fan housing with a thin coat of paint using a cheap-o foam brush. (I ended up doing three thin coats).

To paint the top of the fan without getting paint all over the ceiling, I stuck a meellion little pieces of frog tape around the base.

A pain in the neck, yes, but easier than having to remove the fan from the ceiling all together.

To paint the individual arms, I removed the bolts holding the arms to the housing …

… and then removed the small bolts holding the blades to the arms. Everything went into a ziplock bag to keep the kids from walking off with the parts.

The arms got a good wash down and then a first coat of paint. Just a heads up: it’s going to look terrible at first. I mean really, really terrible.

My first coat on both the fan housing and the arms looked awful and sent me into full oh-crap-I’d-better-figure-out-some-way-to-fix-this-before-Mr.Thrive-gets-home mode.  Thankfully, each coat looked better and five thin coats later, the arms looked awesome. And a little bit like lobsters.

Before reassembling the fan blades and arms, I dipped the heads of the screws in paint and let them dry for an hour …

… then carefully screwed them into position, touching up any scuffs with a quick dab of my brush.

On the opposite side of the blades, the tips of the screws got a quick dab of paint to get rid of that last little bit of brass …

… and all of the blades were reattached to the main housing after everything was dry.

Ahhhhh. So pretty.

The other fixture came together the same way: wash with soap and water, dry thoroughly and paint with a bunch of thin coats.

Painting the top of the fixture where it meets the ceiling was handled the same way as the fan.

So. much . better.

 (And I swear to you that this fixture really is clean. I’ve taken these pictures three times and dusted and cleaned obsessively and it still looks like there’s a bunch of dust from this angle. Bleh.)

Using the paint I had on hand made this a great no-cost project for me, but it’s pretty cheap even if you were to buy paint.  I think this bottle was $10 at Michael’s before the coupon discount. I’ve painted two fixtures, a utensil jar and a small planter so far and still have a third of a bottle left.

But hey, Rock What Ya Got.

Fixture re-dos like this would also work great with spray paint or another brand of specialty paint in your choice of colors.

So have fun checking around the house, checking your local recycling center or checking the online classifieds for free/cheap paint.

(And if you’ve painted your fixtures, I’d love to see them!)


Linking up to:


get-your-craft-on-300x84 handmadepacttrashtotreasuresomeday.crafts bluecricket works.for.me.wednesdaySugarSpice pennypinchpartychildmade_button_2_smallertidy.mom mkc_fantabulousfriday_png

50 thoughts on “Buh-Bye Brass!”

  1. LUVLUVLUV it! Great job, looks so much better. My fans aren't brassy, but in a very strange green color. I think I found me a new weekend project, after a trip to Michaels. I was going to spraypaint them, but this seems way better.
    You rock,

  2. What a great idea…we have a dining room light that I hate but can't even think of spray painting for another couple months (too much snow/cold) so will have to give this one a shot…do you know if they carry any other colors..like a brushed nickel color?

  3. Fawn,

    Yes, they do have several other colors including some sort of a silver/nickel. (Sorry, it's been over a year since I bought it and don't remember the other names very well). Hope that helps!

  4. oh man! that's such a great idea! i am moving soon and will file this one away, just in case we get a house with fugly light fixtures! i have found that another super cheap way to update a light fixture is to purchase new glass shades. i took an expensive (but 80's looking shades) fan into this century with $8 worth of alabaster glass shades.

  5. I literally laughed out loud over your "oh-crap-I’d-better-figure-out-some-way-to-fix-this-before-Mr.Thrive-gets-home" comment. Every single project I take on has at least one moment of this feeling!!

  6. Love, love, love this idea!!! I'm bookmarking it! I wonder (hope) if it would work on sink faucets?

    Thanks so much for sharing this great tip! 🙂


  7. Christi,
    My decorator friend painted her builders grade faucets with this stuff and loves it. She recommended priming and sealing them to help the finish last longer. I'm going to try it on my faucets, too. Good luck!

  8. Came over from UCreate! So glad she did a feature on you. So I have a question – are you still just using what you have or do you find your self spending on craft/ DIY for projects for you blog? I seem to be spending a bit more trying to come up with things for my blog though you wouldn't know that by what I have posted!

    Looking forward to seeing more of your projects!

  9. Thanks for doing this. I just had someone send me here from my blog. I am doing a "Help me Decorate my Dining room" post. I have a brass chandelier in there that I've had a couple people tell me to paint. I had no idea what kind of paint to use. This was just some great awesomeness!
    loving your blog. I'd love it if you wanted to link up to my Organizing Mission link party.

  10. WOW! Those don't even look like the same fixtures – amazing! Love how they turned out. Thanks for sharing!
    Missy & Kimi
    (newest follower!)

  11. I love this. I just stumbled across your blog and I am getting so many great ideas. Thank you! I have a HIDEOUS brass ceiling fan in our living room and bummed that we don't have enough money to replace it. This will be perfect.

  12. excellent job- it made a complete difference. I have to admit I am one of those people that look at things like that brass and say- ah- nothing really wrong with it, no need to change but it did change it and make it look excellent! New perspective – thanks!

  13. Why not just use Rustoleum Rubbed Bronze spray paint? I used it on my own fan and lighting fixtures and it was easy, and came out great.

  14. Absolutely better than buying a new one. I wonder why you have a lot of ceiling fans and a mismatched collection of fixtures up there? The place is a kitchen, and definitely nothing like storage, but it sure houses a lot of out-of-place stuff. Staci @ BrooklynFan.com

Comments are closed.