How to Paint Brass Drawer Pulls

Brass drawer pulls have long been a popular choice in home decor due to their timeless elegance and durability. However, as interior design trends evolve, the desire to update or customize the appearance of these fixtures grows.

How to Paint Brass Drawer Pulls

Knowing how to paint brass drawer pulls allows homeowners to achieve their desired aesthetics and seamlessly match the pulls with their existing decor. This article provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to paint brass drawer pulls effectively and efficiently.

Each phase is meticulously detailed to ensure a professional-looking finish, from preparation and selection of materials to priming, painting, sealing, and reinstalling. By following these instructions, you can transform your brass drawer pulls into custom pieces that reflect your personal style and preferences.

Preparation and Planning

Proper preparation is crucial for achieving a flawless finish when painting brass drawer pulls. By investing time in these preliminary steps, you ensure better paint adhesion and durability, ultimately leading to a professional result.


The first step in preparation is thoroughly cleaning the brass drawer pulls. Over time, they can accumulate dirt, grime, and old finishes that can prevent the new paint from adhering properly.

Start by removing the pulls from the furniture, if possible, for easier access. Use warm, soapy water or a degreaser to scrub away any contaminants. Rinse the pulls thoroughly and let them dry completely.

This step is essential to ensure a clean surface for the paint to cling to, which helps prevent peeling or chipping down the line.


After cleaning, the next critical step is sanding the brass surfaces. Using fine-grit sandpaper, gently roughen the surface of the drawer pulls. This step helps create tiny abrasions that allow the primer and paint to adhere more effectively.

Be thorough but gentle to avoid scratching or damaging the brass. Once you have sanded all the areas, wipe down the pulls with a tack cloth to remove any sanding dust. This ensures a smooth and clean surface that is ready for priming.

Planning the Painting Process

Planning your painting process is just as crucial as the physical preparation.

Selecting the Desired Paint Color

Start by selecting the desired paint color and finish. Consider whether you want a matte, glossy, or metallic look to complement your decor’s overall aesthetic. Decide whether to paint the drawer pulls while they are attached to the furniture or removed.

Painting them while attached can save time but may require more precision to avoid paint drips on the furniture. On the other hand, removing the pulls allows for more thorough coverage and easier handling.

In conclusion, proper preparation and planning are fundamental steps in effectively painting brass drawer pulls.

By thoroughly cleaning, sanding, and planning your approach, you set the stage for a seamless and successful painting experience.

Selecting Paint and Supplies

Choosing the right paint and supplies is vital for achieving a durable and aesthetically pleasing finish on brass drawer pulls. The types of paint suitable for this project include spray paint and metal-specific paint, each offering distinct benefits.

Spray Paint

Spray paint is a popular choice for painting brass drawer pulls due to its ease of application and ability to provide a smooth, even finish. When selecting spray paint, opt for a product specifically designed for use on metal surfaces. This ensures better adhesion and durability.

Additionally, spray paint is available in various finishes, such as matte, glossy, and metallic, allowing you to tailor the look to your preference.

Metal-Specific Paint

Metal-specific paint is another excellent option, formulated to bond with metal surfaces, enhancing longevity and resistance to chipping. This type of paint often comes in liquid form, requiring the use of a brush or roller for application. It offers flexibility in terms of coverage and can be applied in thicker coats for added durability.

Additional Supplies

Metal Surfaces Require a Good Quality Primer

Alongside your chosen paint, you’ll need a few essential supplies:

  • Primer: Metal surfaces require a good quality primer to ensure proper paint adhesion and prevent rusting.
  • Painter’s Tape: Use this to mask off any areas you don’t want to paint, especially if you are painting the pulls while still attached to the furniture.
  • Drop Cloths: Protect your working area from paint spills and drips by covering it with drop cloths.
  • Protective Gear: Safety is paramount, so wear gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes from paint fumes and splashes.

By carefully selecting the right paint and supplies, you lay the groundwork for a successful project that transforms your brass drawer pulls into personalized, stylish accents for your home decor.

How to Paint Brass Drawer Pulls Priming Brass Drawer Pulls

Priming brass drawer pulls is a crucial step in the painting process. It ensures that the paint adheres properly and that the finish remains durable over time.

Applying a primer creates a suitable surface for the paint to cling to, helping to prevent issues like chipping, peeling, and rusting.

By investing time in thorough priming, you can achieve a professional-looking outcome and prolong the lifespan of your beautifully painted drawer pulls.


Before you apply primer, it’s important to ensure that the brass drawer pulls are completely clean. Even though you’ve already cleaned them during the preparation phase, it’s wise to give them a final wipe-down to remove any dust or debris that may have settled.

Use a Clean Lint-free Cloth

Use a clean, lint-free cloth to gently wipe the surfaces of the pulls, ensuring they are free from dirt and ready for priming.

Applying Primer

  1. Choosing the Primer: Select a high-quality spray primer specifically designed for metal surfaces. This type of primer will adhere well to brass and create a solid base for the paint.
  2. Setting Up Your Workspace: Lay out your drop cloths to protect the surrounding area from overspray. If you haven’t already, decide whether to leave the pulls attached to the furniture or remove them for easier handling.
  3. Applying Thin, Even Coats: Hold the spray can about 6-8 inches away from the surface of the brass drawer pulls. Begin applying the primer in thin, even coats, moving the can in a steady, sweeping motion to avoid drips and runs. Thin coats result in a smooth and uniform finish, which is crucial for the subsequent layers of paint.
  4. Drying Time: Allow each coat of primer to dry completely before applying the next. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended drying time, which is usually between 10 and 30 minutes. Patience at this stage ensures that the primer sets properly, providing a strong base for the paint.

Sanding Between Coats

  1. Light Sanding: Once the first coat of primer is dry, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper (220 to 320 grit). This step helps to smooth out any imperfections, such as small bumps or rough patches and promotes paint adhesion.
  2. Cleaning the Sanded Surface: After sanding, wipe down the pulls again with a tack cloth to remove any sanding dust. A clean surface is essential for the next coat of primer to adhere properly.
  3. Applying Additional Coats: Repeat the process of applying thin, even coats of primer and sanding between each coat until you have built up a smooth, solid base. Typically, two to three coats are sufficient, but follow the primer’s instructions for best results.
 Remove Any Sanding Dust

By meticulously cleaning, priming, and sanding your brass drawer pulls, you are setting the stage for a flawless and long-lasting painted finish. This attention to detail in the priming phase ensures that the final paint application will bond well to the brass, providing a durable and aesthetically pleasing result that enhances your home decor.

How to Paint Brass Drawer Pulls Painting Brass Drawer Pulls

Applying Paint

Once the primer is thoroughly dried and sanded, you can move on to the exciting step of applying the paint to your brass drawer pulls.

Whether you choose to use spray paint or a brush, the key to achieving a high-quality finish is to apply the paint in thin, even coats.

Using Spray Paint

If you’ve opted for spray paint, hold the can about 6-8 inches from the surface of the drawer pulls. Begin spraying in a light, sweeping motion, ensuring each pass overlaps slightly with the previous one for consistent coverage.

Avoid holding the can too close or spraying too heavily, as this can result in drips and uneven areas.

Using a Brush

For those using metal-specific paint with a brush, dip the tip of your brush into the paint and tap off any excess to prevent overloading.

Apply the paint using smooth, even strokes, following the contours of the drawer pulls. Work methodically to ensure there are no brush marks or thick patches.

Drying Time

Allow each coat of paint to dry fully before proceeding with the next. The drying time will vary depending on the type of paint and environmental conditions, so always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Typically, drying times range from 20 minutes to an hour.

Ensuring the paint is completely dry between coats will help prevent issues like smudging and uneven texture.

Optional Techniques

For added visual interest, consider experimenting with different painting techniques:

  • Layering Multiple Paint Colors: Apply a base coat of one color and let it dry. Follow with a light, uneven coat of a second color, focusing on the edges and raised details to create depth and dimension.
  • Distressed Finish: After painting, use fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand areas of the drawer pulls, particularly the edges, to create a worn, antique look.
  • Antiqued Finish: Apply a base coat of paint and let it dry. Then, using a brush, apply a thin layer of dark glaze or antiquing wax, wiping away the excess to highlight the details and crevices, giving the pulls a vintage appearance.
Use Fine-grit Sandpaper

By following these detailed steps and allowing adequate drying time between coats, you will achieve beautifully painted brass drawer pulls that elevate the look of your furniture.

Sealing and Protecting Brass Drawer Pulls

Importance of Sealing

Sealing your freshly painted brass drawer pulls is a crucial step to ensure that your meticulous work remains protected and durable over time. The sealer creates a protective barrier that shields the paint from wear and tear, moisture, and other environmental factors that could cause the paint to chip, fade, or become damaged.

Without this final protective layer, all the effort you have put into priming and painting can quickly diminish, leaving the pulls looking worn and unappealing.

Sealing Options and Application

Several sealing options are available to provide a durable finish. A clear spray sealant is a popular choice due to its ease of application and even coverage.

Alternatively, polyurethane offers a robust protective layer for added durability, which can be applied either using a spray or a brush. Regardless of the option you choose, the application process is similar:

  1. Preparation: Ensure the painted drawer pulls are completely dry before applying the sealant. Lay down drop cloths to protect your workspace.
  2. Application: Hold the spray can 6-8 inches away from the surface, or use a brush for liquid polyurethane. Apply thin, even coats to avoid drips.
  3. Drying Time: Allow each layer to dry thoroughly, following the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times.


After applying the sealant, avoid handling the drawer pulls until the sealant has fully cured. This precaution is necessary to prevent smudges, fingerprints, or other damage to the finish, ensuring a pristine and long-lasting result.

Reinstalling or Reassembling

Final Steps for Completing the Painting Process

Once the Sealant Has Fully Dried

Once the sealant has fully dried and cured, the next step is to reinstall the drawer pulls onto your furniture or reassemble them if they were dismantled for painting. Begin by carefully aligning each pull with its corresponding screw holes to ensure a proper fit.

Using a screwdriver, gently secure each pull in place by tightening the screws. Be cautious not to over-tighten the screws as this can strip the threads or damage the new paint finish.

After reassembly, check each drawer pull for smooth operation.

They should move without resistance or misalignment, which can affect the drawers’ functionality and appearance. If any issues are found, make necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.

Tips for Maintaining and Caring for Painted Brass Drawer Pulls

Regular care and maintenance are essential to preserve the appearance and longevity of your newly painted brass drawer pulls.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on the pulls, as these can scratch or wear away the paint. Instead, clean the surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with mild soap and water.

Additionally, regularly check for any signs of wear or chipping and touch up the paint as needed to keep it looking pristine. By following these simple steps, you will enjoy the beauty and functionality of your painted brass drawer pulls for years to come.


Painting brass drawer pulls is a rewarding DIY project that allows for the personalization and refreshment of any piece of furniture.

You can achieve a professional-looking finish by following the step-by-step process outlined here, from preparation and priming to painting, sealing, and reinstallation.

First, carefully prepare and prime the drawer pulls. Then, apply the paint using either a spray can or a brush, ensuring each coat dries fully before moving on to the next step.

Finally, seal the painted pulls to protect your hard work and ensure durability, and reinstall them onto your furniture.

We encourage readers to take on this DIY task to update and personalize their home decor while saving money compared to purchasing new drawer pulls.

The process of learning how to paint brass drawer pulls is not only cost-effective but also offers a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Transforming brass drawer pulls into custom pieces that reflect your style and preferences bring a unique charm to your home.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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