How to spray paint aluminum

Hey there my painter fellows! Hope you are doing good and today we have a great step by step guide to spray paint aluminum surface on your own without creating any mistake at all and getting best results after completing your work. This easy to understand guide is optimal for those beginners who were confused to do the job.

Painting on metal is similar to painting on any other surface. The key difference is how you prepare the surface for painting. Once you clean, sand, and prime aluminum, you can paint it just like you would plastic or wood.

spray paint aluminum

The overall process is simple, but it can be time-consuming because you must wait for each layer (primer, paint, and sealer) to dry and cure. The results are worth the effort, however.

Tools we need to paint aluminum surface

  • Spray paint
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Drop Cloth
  • Aluminum primer
  • Respirator
  • Gloves for protection
  • Glasses

Clean the aluminum surface for painting

First, you need to get rid of any dirt, dust and oil. Then you should use a degreaser to clean the surface. After that, you need to use an abrasive cleaner to remove any paint, grease and other contaminants.

You can use a steel wool pad or a French scouring pad to do the job. Finally, you should rinse the surface with water and apply a rust inhibitor. These are instructions to clean aluminum surface before spray painting.

Remove old paint from aluminum surface

You should apply the stripper on the aluminum surface in the shape of a square. Leave it for about 10 minutes and then wipe it with a clean cloth. After a few applications, you will see that the paint starts coming off. If this does not happen, then apply as many layers of stripper until you see paint coming off.

Remove rust from aluminum surface

The best and safest way to remove rust from aluminum surface is to use a citric acid solution which can be made by mixing two cups of water with one cup of white vinegar.

Rinse the area to be cleaned with a water and soap solution. (you can add a little bit of baking soda to the soap if you want, it will be better if you use a thick paste). Then immerse the object in the citric acid solution and leave it there for at least 8 hours but no more than 24 hours.

The rust and stains will completely come off and you will be left with a shiny aluminum surface. After you have removed the aluminum object from the citric acid solution, rinse it off thoroughly with warm water.

spray painting aluminum

Protect yourself for painting aluminum

Protect your eyes, hands, and lungs! When sanding metal furniture you risk breathing in tiny, heavy metal particles that can end up all over your clothes, hair, and just about anywhere else if precautions aren’t taken beforehand.

Sand the aluminum surface

In order to properly sand aluminum, you’ll need to get a few supplies. The most essential things you will need is a drill and a drill bit, as well as sandpaper. You’ll also want to get some rubbing compound to help you clean up the surface of the metal once you are finished sanding it.

To get the job done, start by drilling a hole in the top of the can. The hole should be just large enough to fit the bit.

This will serve as your sanding bit, and you’ll want to get it nice and sharp. Begin sanding with medium-grit sandpaper. Use your drill to sand the area, and make sure to finish off with a final sanding with your sandpaper.

Apply painter’s tape

Cover areas you don’t want painted with masking tape or any other masking solution. If you need to cover off a large area, cover it with paper or plastic sheeting first, then secure the edges with masking tape.

Start spraying aluminum

This is important, no matter what type of paint you are using: brush-on or spray-on. Just like with the primer, apply the paint using straight, overlapping strokes. They can be horizontal or vertical, but they all need to go in the same direction.

If you are using a brush-on paint, use a flat paintbrush made from synthetic fibers. Avoid camel hair or boar bristles. Spray paints should be shaken for about 1 minute before use and only about 8 inches (20 cm) away from the surface so as not to splash your fine finish when applying it.

Although paint may look dry after a few hours, it still needs some time to cure properly. The curing process typically takes 24 to 72 hours, depending on factors such as humidity in the area you are painting, air temperature and the type of paint. As with drying times, curing times also vary depending on what you have purchased.

It is important to apply 2 to 4 coats of clear enamel with time in between, letting each coat dry before applying the next one. Like the paint, applying light coats of overlapping strokes will do. Please make sure that after every coat is applied and dried you wait for about three minutes until it’s no longer sticky when touched.


Friend, There are several types of paint that will stick to aluminum. All you need to do is find the most suitable one for the job. Paint intended for use on aluminum will usually have a special name, such as “Teflon”, “Plasti-Kote”, “Dupli-Color Alumaprep” etc. These paints are specially formulated for the purpose of sticking to other materials. The other option is to use a ‘car paint’, which is specifically designed to stick to all kinds of surfaces. It is important that you select a paint that is labeled as “non-chipping”.

Yes, I’ve tried it, and it works pretty well. I had bought a couple of rusted steel machines, and sprayed them with Rustoleum, and they did really well. The cans that I bought were the original Rustoleum cans, not the newer Rustoleum paint cans. Anyway, it worked well for me, and I didn’t have any problems with them.

It is possible to spray paint aluminum without primer. You can do this by using a paint primer made for painted metal. After that, you apply the paint of your choice using a brush. If you want to spray paint aluminum without primer, you will need to use a primer made for sprayed aluminum. After that, you can spray the paint of your choice.

Yes, oil paint will work on aluminum surface. It is best to apply primer before painting. Make sure the aluminum surface is clean, free from oil and grease. Apply two-three coats of primer. This will give a strong adhesion surface for oil paint. It important that you hold the brush at a right angle to aluminum surface while painting. If the oil-based paint doesn’t work out, then try latex paint. Make sure the surface is free from dust, dirt and oil.

My verdict

We hope that this guide was able to help you learn more about preparing to paint aluminum. With the right information and equipment, you can create a new look for a piece of aluminum that can last for years to come. If you have any additional questions about painting aluminum, please feel free to contact us in comments section. Thank you for reading, and happy painting!

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