Can You Paint Door Knobs? A Beginner’s Guide

Can You Paint Door Knobs

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Looking to upgrade your door knobs and interior door hardware without breaking the bank? You might be surprised to learn that painting them could be the solution you’ve been looking for! Yes, that’s right. Painting door knobs can give them a fresh new look and make a huge difference in the overall aesthetics of your home.

But before you grab that paintbrush, there are a few things you need to know. In this article, we’ll share eight game-changing hacks on how to paint door knobs for a gorgeous upgrade. From choosing the right type of paint to prepping and finishing techniques, we’ve got everything covered so you can transform your old and dull hardware into something beautiful and stylish.

Can You Paint Door Knobs?

Yes, you can paint door knobs.

Painting door knobs is a cost-effective and simple way to give your doors a fresh look without having to replace the entire hardware. With the right preparation and materials, such as a high-quality metal primer and paint, you can easily transform old, worn-out door knobs into stylish and updated accents for your home. Before starting the project, it’s essential to clean and lightly sand the surface of the door knobs to ensure proper paint adhesion and a smooth, long-lasting finish.

Can You Paint Door Knobs

What You’ll Need To Spray Paint Door Knobs

  • Spray paint (in the color of your choice)
  • Primer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth or cardboard box to protect surrounding areas
  • Screwdriver
  • Steel wool or sandpaper (220 grit)
  • Cleaning solution (such as rubbing alcohol or vinegar)
  • Optional: an automotive primer for better paint adhesion on metal surfaces

Before starting any DIY project, make sure you have all the necessary materials and tools. For this project, you’ll need spray paint in the color of your choice, primer, painter’s tape, a drop cloth or cardboard box to protect surrounding areas from overspray, a screw driver to remove the door knob from the door, steel wool, or sandpaper to lightly scuff up the surface of the knob for better paint adhesion and a cleaning solution such as rubbing alcohol or vinegar to clean off any dirt and grime.

If you’re working with metal door knobs that may not hold paint well, it can be helpful to also use an automotive primer for even better paint adhesion. Make sure you have all materials before starting so you don’t have to stop mid-project.

Preparing The Door Knob

Before you start spray painting door knobs, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure the best possible outcome. Here’s how to prepare your interior door knobs for a fresh coat of paint, these steps also apply to spray painting exterior door knobs as well:

  1. Clean the knob: Use warm soapy water and a clean cloth or sponge to remove any dirt, grime, or grease from the surface of the knob. Rinse with clean water and dry it off thoroughly.
  2. Sand the knob: Using fine-grit sandpaper (such as 220 grit), lightly sand the entire surface of the door knob to create some texture for better paint adhesion. You don’t need to remove all of the existing finish, just rough up the surface enough for primer and paint to stick.
  3. Mask off the area around the knob: Use painter’s tape and/or masking paper to cover any areas around the door knobs that you don’t want to be painted.
  4. Prime before painting: Apply automotive primer on metal surfaces since it helps in better adhesion of paint while acrylic-based primers work great on wooden doorknobs.
  5. Choose appropriate spray paints: Select spray paints specifically designed with metal surfaces in mind such as the Rust-Oleum brand which are perfect for giving an even coating on all types of hardware including brass door handles or old brass knobs without chipping easily.
  6. Paint thin coats: Shake the can well before use and apply several thin coats instead of one thick coat since this will give you better control over coverage while also reducing any chance that drips may develop later during drying time!
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Now that your prep work is done properly, let’s move on to painting!

Clean The Knob

Before you start painting your door knob, give it a good clean. This will help ensure that the paint adheres properly to the surface and give you a better finish.

To clean your door knob, start by removing any dust or dirt with a damp cloth. You can also use rubbing alcohol to remove any grease or oil that may be on the surface of the knob.

If your door knob is particularly dirty or has been painted previously, you may need to give it a more thorough cleaning. In this case, use steel wool and elbow grease to scrub away any grime or old paint.

Once you’ve cleaned your door knob, make sure it is completely dry before moving on to the next step. Any moisture left on the surface could affect how well the paint adheres.

By taking the time to properly clean your door knobs before painting them, you’ll get much better results and ensure that your new paint job lasts as long as possible.

Sand The Knob

Once the door knob is clean, it’s time to sand. Sanding ensures that the paint will adhere properly and not peel or chip off easily. Use steel wool or sandpaper, depending on which you prefer. Start with a medium grit and work your way up to a fine grit. Be sure to remove any rust or old paint as well.

It’s important not to skip this step as it can affect the longevity of your painted door knobs. You don’t need to go crazy with the sanding though- just give them a good buff so there’s no shiny finish left on them.

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After you’ve sanded all of your knobs, wipe them down with a damp cloth again to make sure they’re free of dust and debris before moving on to masking them off for painting.

Tip: If you’re looking for a different look than just solid color, consider distressing or adding some chalk paint details after painting!

Mask Off The Knob

Before you start painting your door knob, it’s important to mask off any areas that you don’t want to get paint on. You can use painter’s tape to cover the areas around the door knob, including any hardware or screws. You can also use a cardboard box with a hole cut out to fit over the doorknob and protect the rest of the door.

When masking off the knob, make sure that you’re not covering up any parts that need to be painted. For example, if you’re painting both sides of a doorknob, make sure that you don’t accidentally mask off one side while painting the other.

Take your time when masking off your doorknob because this step is critical for achieving a clean and polished finish. The more time and effort you put into prep work like this, the better your final result will look.

Once everything is masked off properly, it’s time to move on to priming and painting your door knobs!

Prime The Knob

Before you start painting, it’s important to prime the knob. This will help the paint adhere better, and also provide a base coat that will prevent any old brass or other metallic colors from showing through.

When choosing a primer, look for one that is specifically designed for metal surfaces. Automotive primers are a good option because they are durable and can handle wear and tear. You can find these at your local hardware store.

Once you have your primer, prepare the surface of the knob by lightly sanding it with steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper. This will create a rough surface that the primer can grip onto.

Next, apply several light coats of primer to the knob using thin layers. Be sure to let each layer dry completely before adding another coat. Allow ample time for drying between each coat (at least 30 minutes).

After applying all necessary coats of primer, allow it to dry fully before moving on to painting the knob in your desired color.

Overall, priming is an essential step in ensuring that your painted doorknobs last long and look great!

Painting The Door Knob

Now that the prep work is done, it’s time to start painting. Spray paint is the best option for this project since it provides a smooth and even finish. Use high-quality spray paint made specifically for metal surfaces such as door knobs, and interior door hardware like old brass door handles, and door hinges.

Before you begin spraying, make sure you shake the can well and test it on a piece of cardboard or scrap metal to ensure that the nozzle is working properly and there are no clogs. Hold the can about 6-8 inches away from the door knob and apply several thin coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.

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Avoid spraying too much at once as this will cause drips and unevenness in your finish. If you need to take a break during painting, cover your spray can with plastic wrap or put it in a cardboard box to prevent drying out.

Once you’ve achieved full coverage with the first coat of paint, give it some time to fully dry before applying another one. You might want to apply a second or third coat depending on how opaque your color choice is.

If desired (and if recommended by your spray paint brand), add a protective topcoat over your newly painted surface once everything has dried down completely.

With these steps done carefully and correctly, you’ll have perfectly fine-looking doorknobs that match whatever room design idea you had in mind!

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve finished painting your door knobs, there are a few finishing touches you can add to give them a professional and polished look.

First, let the paint dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may take several hours or even overnight.

Next, apply a protective top coat to help prevent chipping and scratching. You can use clear spray paint or clear polyurethane for this step.

If you want to change the color of other hardware on your doors, like hinges or latch strike plates, now is the time to do so. Simply remove them from the door using a screwdriver and spray paint them with the same method as your door knobs.

Finally, reattach all the hardware back onto your doors. Make sure all screws are tightened securely before testing out your freshly painted door handles!

With these finishing touches added in, your newly painted door knobs will look professionally done and be ready for everyday use.


Painting door knobs can be a simple and affordable way to upgrade your interior or exterior doors. With the right supplies, prep work, and technique, you can transform old or ugly brass door knobs into stylish oil-rubbed bronze or any color of your choice.

Using a spray paint method is usually the best option for painting metal surfaces like door knobs. It’s important to clean and sand the knob before masking it off and applying a high-quality primer. Then, apply several thin coats of spray paint in your desired color, allowing each coat to dry fully before adding another.

Once you’re satisfied with the coverage, add a protective top coat for added durability. Don’t forget to reattach all hardware properly before admiring your fresh coat of paint! While it may take some time and elbow grease to complete this DIY project, it’s worth it for the gorgeous upgrade that will make all the difference in your home.

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