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How to Refinish Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet hardware is often a key indication of a dated look. For someone prepping her home for sale, a dated look often means less money and a slower sale. Or maybe you just want an updated look for yourself. Builder-grade cabinet hardware in artificial high brass and fake ivory is a good candidate for an inexpensive hardware makeover.

Taking hardware from brass to bronze.
Removed and clean hardware.

Remove your cabinet hardware. If it has old cabinet paint on it, you may need to scrape off the edges. Clean the hardware thoroughly (particularly kitchen hardware, as it may be soiled with grease). This allows your new paint to adhere to the surface. Some hardware may need a light sanding to remove the surface finish. If your hardware screw heads show, be sure to clean these, too.

Attach the hardware and screws to cardboard.

Find a piece of scrap cardboard and attach your hardware lightly to the cardboard to hold your hardware in place while you paint it.

Hardware in position on cardboard.

Tape off any ceramic or plastic pieces so that you don't spray them.

Taped hardware positioned outside, ready to paint.

Take your cardboard outside or to a well-ventilated area. Protect for overspray as needed.

Painted hardware drying.

Shake your spray paint thoroughly, particularly if it's metallic, because it will have little reflective bits that you want to mix thoroughly before spraying them on. You can spray-paint dozens of pieces at once; just allow a few inches around each so your paint can reach all sides. Position screws so that you can easily spray the screw heads at the same time.

Comparison of finishes.

Spray the hardware, rotating the cardboard so that you achieve full coverage over all metal surfaces. Don't overspray or try to coat your hardware with a thick coat; this creates runs. Hold your spray can away from your cardboard and make even, sweeping passes. It's better to build up your coats with thin coats that dry quickly than to try to remove gloppy drips.

Allow your hardware to dry thoroughly (a few hours is a good idea). Remove the hardware from the cardboard and re-install it.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Tape (optional)
  • Spray paint

Tip

  • If your hardware is rusted, you may need to give it a brisk brushing with a metal brush, or you may need to sand spots. You may also need to prime or use a paint that covers and inhibits rust. Most of these seal off any rusty spots so you won't get color changes. You can also use this process to change your hinge colors. The key is to really clean the hardware first.

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.

Photo Credits

  • F.R.R. Mallory et. al.