Brass-Be-Gone: One Down, 1546 to Go!

One of the things that we, and everyone we know, immediately noticed about our house is the higher-than-average number of brass fixtures. One in the bathroom. An awesome chandelier in the dining room. The ceiling fan in the living room. The sconces in all of the bedrooms and the hallway. The ceiling fan in the bedroom. The fixture in the attic.

From my understanding, these hideously ugly things were popular at some point. What’s even more amazing, is that they still sell these sorts of things in stores, meaning people still buy them. I can’t imagine why.

Because of the number of fixtures around the house, and the desire to tackle other projects before replacing every piece of brass in the place, I came to terms with the fact that we’d have to live with the brass and all of its shiny goodness for an indefinite amount of time… Until we painted the dining room. There’s something about a fresh coat of awesome blue paint to make a hideously ugly brass and glass fixture seem MORE out of place.

On Saturday, I decided things needed to change.

(Note: The picture above was actually taken before I decided to pull the chandelier down. I lightly poked at the top part, and the entire thing popped off. It was fate that the stupid thing needed to be pulled down.)

Jesse had plans to head to Providence to play with a new band. I had no plans… a perfect situation for spray-painting a chandelier! Before Jesse left, he gave me a hand with taking the chandelier off of the ceiling. Two screws and some un-wiring (after the power to the room was turned off, obviously) later, the chandelier was on the floor and ready to be disassembled. Jesse was concerned that we wouldn’t find a new chandelier before dark (I’m picky. And cheap), and when I told him the old one was going back up, he looked at me like I had three heads. Eventually I convinced him to trust me, without revealing my plan. He couldn’t dissuade me!

Diassembling the chandelier wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had to undo one of the chain links to get the top part off, but everything came apart pretty easily after that. (Note: When doing this, keep track of what piece goes where. I didn’t. Re-assembly was a little more challenging because of this. Oh well, live and learn.) To the garage! I laid a plastic dropcloth over the garage floor to protect it from spray paint distruction, opened the garage door, and went to town.

I wish I could say that everything went perfectly smooth from start to finish. It didn’t. I made a few mistakes:

Mistake #1: Using a plastic drop cloth. Spray paint sticks to plastic drop cloths, which makes the items you’re spray painting stick to plastic drop cloth. Whoops.

Mistake #2: Not properly weighing down the plastic drop cloth. It was windy on Saturday, and even though I was in the garage, the wind was blowing right through it. This meant the stupid drop cloth blew up and stuck to my freshly painted chandelier. Meh.

Mistake #3: Holding pieces while touching up the paint. Spray paint DOES NOT like to come off of hands. I should have warn gloves. Lesson learned.

For the paint, I used Rustoleum in Satin Black. I definitely wanted black, but I didn’t want it to be glaringly shiny. The brass was shiny enough. I sprayed one coat on all of the pieces, waited about 45 min, then applied a second coat. I let the chandelier sit out in the garage for about 2 hours before I went and checked on it. I have a habit of poking at things too early, so I let it sit out without even looking at it. This was NOT a mistake! Even after two hours, most of the pieces were still tacky. I touched up thin spots on a lot of the pieces, moved them all OFF of the stupid drop cloth, and left them to dry overnight.

Once everything was dry, I reassembled the chandelier and Jesse and I reattached it to the ceiling, screwed in my new bulbs (round white >> fake plastic candle bulbs), and restored the power to the room.


There were a few spots on the chain and on one of the upper pieces where the paint had rubbed off. I didn’t degloss the thing before spraying, and I didn’t prime, so I sort of expected that there would be spots that weren’t perfect. I touched up those blemishes with a sharpie. You can’t even tell. Success!

So, do we love it? It’s alright. It looks good (from far away, and in the dark), and it looks a MILLION times better than the ugly brass beast, but it’s not what I would have chosen if we had gone to the store and picked something out. But, for the time being, it’ll be great. Mostly because it was cheap.

Now I have the spray paint bug. I have a bunch of old, cheap frames that are going to get a dose of white paint tomorrow afternoon. Then I will FINALLY get some pictures up on the walls.



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