How to Spray Paint Light Fixtures


Last updated: June 9, 2023

A Researched Guide On Spray Painting Light Fixtures The Easy Way!

How to spray paint light fixtures

You have beautiful light fixtures, but they’ve seen better days, and you’d like to give them a facelift. It could be the colors do not match your interior décor, your tastes have upgraded, or the colors have faded and lost their aesthetic appeal over time. 

Whatever the case, you want to know how to spray paint light fixtures. Luckily, it’s possible to spray paint brass or metal light fixture and give your space a new personality with bold, unique colors and themes. If you’re spray painting outdoor light fixtures, exterior spray paint is a perfect option. 

In this guide, we dive into the art of spray painting light fixtures, the step-by-step procedure, and the best spray paint. If you’ve ever wanted to know if you can also spray paint light fixtures without taking them down, keep reading to learn all about it here. 

How to spray paint light fixtures

Start by cleaning the dust from the surface, priming, and applying thin coats of spray paint. Using spray paint containing primer is much better for improving surface adhesion and paint texture. Exterior spray paint, such as Krylon COLORmaxx, is ideal for outdoor light fixtures. 

Can light fixtures be spray painted?

Yes, it’s possible to spray paint bathroom light fixtures easily and perfectly, even if you’re not a professional Suppose you found a nice light, but the fixtures have the wrong color. 

Or you’re thinking of updating your spaces and remodeling your pieces. In that case, you can use good quality spray paint to paint your light fixtures. 

How Do You Spray Paint Light Fixtures?

Whether you’re a professional or a novice painter, a clear, straightforward step-by-step tutorial ensures a perfect job. That’s why we created this guide to make things easier for you so you can achieve that perfect finish. Follow these steps to expertly paint your light fixtures without issues. 

Step 1: Remove Your Light Fixtures

If you wish to spray paint your hanging light fixture, you must take it down first. Begin by switching off the light and taking it from the ceiling or wall. Removing the light fixture makes it easy to spray paint at every angle and gives you nice coverage. 

Fortunately, it doesn’t require much prep work; you only need to clean the surface and tape off specific areas. 

Step 2: Tape off Your Light

Specific areas like electricity openings and lightbulb sockets should not be painted. The same goes for the wiring compartment at the back of the fixture. These should be taped off to prevent paint from spilling inside. If your light fixture has design patterns you wish to retain in the original color, consider taping off those too. 

Step 3: Prepare Your Light Fixture For Paint

If you use Krylon spray paint for light fixtures, you’ll be glad to know that it requires very little preparation.

Sometimes all you have to do is wipe the light fixture with a degreaser such as TSP, depending on how old it is. 

If the substrate is relatively new, a quick wipe with a damp cloth is enough to remove surface dust. If using Krylon COLORmaxx spray paint, prime the surface with Krylon COLORmaxx Primer for better adhesion and surface durability. Otherwise, Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint Primer will do a perfect job. 

Step 4: Spray the Paint

It’s time to transform your light fixtures into beautiful pieces of art. Working in a well-ventilated area, place the fixtures on a drop cloth or tarp and apply light coats in a sweeping motion. Keep the aerosol can moving in a steady, consistent position back and forth over the entire light fixture until you achieve an even smooth finish. 

Three light coats are recommended to cover every angle of the light fixture. Then, wait for 20 minutes, flip it over, and repeat. Please maintain the same consistency with every angle of the light fixture. It also should be covered in light coats throughout. 

Step 5: Reinstall Your Light Fixture

Once the paint has dried, you can reinstall the light fixtures to the ceiling. Before you do, however, confirm that the power is switched off as a safety precaution. 

How to spray paint light fixtures

As you can see, the process is relatively straightforward and quick; you can spray paint your light fixtures, reinstall them and enjoy them as brand new. 

How to spray paint metal light fixtures

You can spray paint metal light fixtures conveniently, provided you use the recommended products. Rust-Oleum and Krylon spray paints are perfect for spray painting metal objects like light fixtures as they provide maximum bonding qualities. 

Below is an easy step-by-step guide on how to spray paint metal light fixtures affordably, especially if you’re on a budget. Here’s a list of all that you’ll need for the project:

  • Rust-Oleum metal spray paint.
  • Sandpaper.
  • Drop cloth.
  • Painter’s tape.
  • Old newspaper or paper towels.

Here is our proven method of spray painting metal light fixtures:

  • Step 1: To be safe, first ensure the light’s power supply is switched off. Turn them off at the fuse box before removing the light fixture.

  • Step 2: Unscrew the light fixture from the mounting plate and take it down. This will simplify the painting process, making everything much easier.  

  • Step 3: Using painter’s tape and paper towels, cover and mask off parts of the fixture that you don’t want to paint, for example, glass and certain hardware. 

  • Step 4: Get a suitable place to spray paint the object. Outdoors is preferable, but keep the room ventilated if working indoors. Place the light fixture on a drop cloth to protect the floor or workspace from paint overspray.

  • Step 5: Lightly sand the substrate with fine-grit sandpaper to increase adhesion. Wipe the dust and debris from the surface in readiness for the painting. 

  • Step 6: Apply at least one coat of a quality spray paint primer for metal before painting. Leave the primer to dry fully for at least half an hour. 

  • Step 7: Start spray painting your light fixture, keeping the can at least eight inches from the substrate, and move it back and forth in a sweeping motion. Maintain even, consistent strokes while avoiding spraying too much paint in a single area to prevent drips and runs. 

  • Step 8: Leave the first coat to dry for 20-30 minutes, then continue adding more light coats, as much as you believe are enough to give the substrate a smooth, attractive finish. 

  • Step 9: Once you’ve sprayed the last coat, leave it to dry and cure for an hour or two before reinstalling the light fixture back in place. From there, you can turn on the power and test your light. For best results, always use exterior spray paint suitable for metal surfaces.

How to spray paint outdoor light fixtures

Outdoor light fixtures help brighten up your property’s exteriors. However, since they’re typically exposed to the elements, they can lose their aesthetic appeal and become dull and uninspiring. 

When that happens, you can retouch them with a new coat of spray paint for a better, stunning look. With premium spray paint, you can create a new light fixture no matter how long you’ve used it. Below is how to go about it. What you’ll need:

  • Painter’s tape.
  • Screwdriver and Electric drill.
  • Rag or towel.
  • Stiff wire and scrub brush.
  • Vinegar or All-purpose cleaner.
  • Drop cloths or tarps.
  • Sanding pads or abrasive discs.
  • Scraper.
  • Dust mask and safety goggles.

Step 1: Remove the Fixtures 

Before you can spray paint a light fixture, you need to unmount or mask the nearby surfaces. Removing the fixtures from the mount is much easier and advisable, but if this is not possible, you should mask off the adjacent wall it’s attached to or nearby surfaces to protect against paint spills. 

Such projects are also best done on a dry, warm, or sunny day and avoid painting on damp surfaces or in high humidity above 80%. After turning off the fuse box’s power.

  1. Remove the fixture by unscrewing it from the mountain plate.
  2. Unscrew the wire connectors and circuit wires to loosen the fixture completely.
  3. Remove or mask off the glass shades from the frame. If you remove the shades, clean them with the all-purpose cleaner and water or use a vinegar solution.
  4. Wipe them with paper towels and keep them in a safe place where they can dry. If you mask them, use painter’s tape to mask them off.

The next step is to spread a drop cloth or tarp on the ground or floor you’ll be working on. 

Step 2: Clean the Fixtures

Your fixtures should be clean before they can be spray painted. In this step, use a water and vinegar solution or an all-purpose cleaner and water to clean off any surface impurities. 

Use a scrub brush or rag to remove all the grime, mold, or mildew. You can even use a commercial mold remover if necessary.

Step 3: Remove Rust or Old Paint 

New spray paint doesn’t adhere well to old, peeling, or rusted surfaces. Use a stiff wire brush to remove the imperfections if your outdoor light fixtures have old, flaking paint. An electric drill featuring a sanding pad or abrasive discs is also a better alternative where there’s minimal rust. 

Finally, give it a thorough wipe with a commercial rust remover, following the manufacturer’s instructions as indicated on the label. After the surface has dried, wipe it with a clean, dry rag to remove lingering debris. 

Step 4: Apply Primer

Priming is essential to ensure maximum adhesion when working with metal or brass light fixtures. Use good quality primer such as True Value X-O Rust rust-inhibiting primer and apply at least two coats. Leave the primer to dry out completely for at least 24 hours until it no longer feels tacky. 

Step 5: Spray the Topcoat

This step is the fun part. It’s time to give your outdoor light fixtures a stunning new look by spraying several thin few coats of paint. You can choose any finish, whether flat, matte, gloss, or semi-gloss. 

You also have limited color options so long as it blends or matches your patio decor or exterior house colors. Apply several thin coats of spray paint, holding the can about 8-12 inches from the substrate and avoiding applying excess paint that may result in drips. 

Step 6: Reinstall Fixtures

If you unmount your exterior fixtures before painting them, it’s time to reinstall them back to the wall and reconnect the electrical and circuit wires. Connect each light fixture to its specific circuit wire, then fasten the ends with a wire connector. Shove the wiring into the hole, then readjust the mounting plate into its original position. 

Using a screwdriver, fasten the mounting hardware and the fixture shade. Remove the masking and painter’s tape from the wall and adjacent surfaces. Your outdoor light fixtures are ready and properly fixed. You can now turn on the lights, stand back and admire your handiwork. 

What is the best paint to use in light fixtures?

When thinking of spray painting light fixtures, it’s important to always choose spray paint as it’s more efficient, straightforward, and easy to use. It also guarantees maximum adhesion, which is equally important. 

However, you should be careful not to use just any type of spray paint. For light fixtures, you need something compatible with metal or brass, which are the primary materials fixtures are usually made of. You also need heat-resistant products that can withstand the heat from the light fixtures. 

Therefore, we recommend high-quality paint from the two leading brands: Krylon and Rust-Oleum. Any metal-compatible spray paint from either of the two brands will give you the best results. 

Otherwise, we recommend using the Krylon Fusion All-In-One and Krylon COLORmaxx on your light fixtures One great advantage with these options is that they contain primer, so you get double value in one can. 

Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint Primer (Metallic Gold)

This spray paint is made with high-quality bonding ingredients providing excellent adhesion and smooth finishes and bringing out a perfect paint texture. Since it contains a primer, it guarantees great adhesion and durability and can be used on any surface, including metal, brass, wood, paper, fabric, etc. 

This product dries to the touch within 10 minutes, which we find impressive, and provides fast coverage. The Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint Primer is available in a 12 oz. can covering up to 25 sq. feet of surface. It’s also available in charcoal black, white, red oxide, and gray. 

Krylon Fusion All-In-One spray paint.

The Revolutionary no-prep Fusion All-In-One spray paint is everything its name suggests. With this spray paint, you don’t need to sand or prime the substrate for painting, it’s an easy grab-and-spray product. 

It dries to the touch in less than 30 minutes and cures completely within two hours. It is highly resistant to chipping and flaking and offers maximum protection against rust for indoor and outdoor light fixtures. 

It’s made with an E.Z. Touch 360-degree dial spray tip which increases its efficiency and can be used on metal, wood, wrought iron, glass, wicker, PVC, laminate, masonry surfaces, and more. 

Can you spray paint a light fixture without taking it down?

Technically, it’s possible to spray paint pendant light fixtures without taking them down if you don’t want to interfere with the installation. In this case, you must mask off all the surrounding walks and surfaces using masking tape held down by a painter’s tape. 

You must also remove all the light shades and tape off all the sockets with the painter’s tape. However, it would be much easier to remove the light fixtures to avoid a messy paint job. 

FAQs: How to Spray Paint Light Fixtures

What is the best spray paint for light fixtures?

The Rust-Oleum Textured spray paint provides a rich quality appearance and textured finish. As an oil-based formula, this spray paint is highly heat-resistant and protects against rust, chipping, and weather elements. Krylon High Heat spray paint is another durable, high-heat option that can resist the effects of the elements. 

What is the best spray paint for metal light fixtures?

The Krylon Fusion All-in-One acrylic paint is one of the best spray paints for metal fixtures. It combines paint and primer, ensuring minimal surface prep work, dries within 30 minutes, and can be sprayed from any angle. The Rust-Oleum Professional Cold Galvanizing Compound spray paint is also a great choice that protects against corrosion and weather effects.

Do you need to clean before spray painting?

Yes, cleaning the surface before spraying is highly necessary to remove any surface impurities that may compromise adhesion and the overall quality of your project. Depending on how dusty the surface is, wipe with rubbing alcohol, vinegar and water solution or an all-purpose cleaner before spray painting. 

Do I need to sand light fixtures before painting?

Sanding helps remove accumulated rust, grime, mold, mildew, or old and flaking paint. Sanding also helps the paint and primer to bind better on the substrate and improve the overall quality of your work. Otherwise, if there are no visible imperfections, you can use good-quality spray paint containing primer such as the Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint Primer. 

How do you remove a builder-grade bathroom light fixture?

To remove a builder-grade bathroom light fixture, switch off the power at the breaker and unscrew the light fixture from the front. This will expose the circuit and connecting wires behind the light. Unscrew these as well, beginning with the ground wire and then the white neutral wire before you get to the live black wire.

Content Summary: How to Spray Paint Light Fixtures

As you can see, spray painting light fixtures is simpler than it seems. With a proper approach, it can be done conveniently, efficiently, and affordably. You only need a professional step-by-step tutorial, the right supplies, and the best spray paint to get the job done. 

Fortunately, we’ve covered all that in this brief article. Most materials listed here are readily available at your local hardware and department store. 

As for the best spray paint, you can’t go wrong with Rust-Oleum or Krylon, and you can conveniently order these from Amazon, Walmart, Lowe’s, or Home Depot. The only question you can ask yourself is, which color should you choose?

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