How to spray paint light fixtures

Not every home improvement project has to be big or take a lot of time to do. You can easily make a huge difference in your backyard decor by taking an hour or two this weekend and applying some colorful spray paint to the surfaces on your outdoor light fixtures. read further down for details.

In this post of mine, I will guide you on how to spray paint light fixtures in a very easy way without creating any mess.

spray paint light fixtures

This guide will be helpful for newbies and for those who are newcomers in this field and want to do the job very efficiently and in a satisfactory way.

Our bathroom light fixtures often fall behind on what the current style is and we want to be able to find an easy way of changing it up a little without breaking apart our bathrooms so we begin by looking for something new.

Sometimes people will do this for a specific party or wedding, that is why many how-to’s are written as guides for replacements in preparation for color-themed weddings.

If you have been wanting a new bath light fixture this post provides an informative piece of advice that can provide you with creative ideas and what steps, and tools, to use in order to make the change from one type of fixture to another.

Tools need to spray paint fixture

  • Circuit tester
  • Tape for masking paper to cover the surface
  • Screwdriver for unscrewing fixture
  • Towel for cleaning purposes
  • Masking paper to protect from paint
  • Painter’s tape for masking paper
  • Drop cloths for protection of paint
  • Scrub brush for cleaning fixture
  • Stiff wire brush for cleaning purposes
  • Sanding pad for sanding the surface
  • Scraper for scraping old paint
  • Dust mask for protection of your own self
  • Safety goggles for the protection of the eyes
  • Rust remover

Remove the fixtures or mask them

When painting a ceiling fan, you really need to detach and wash the fixture. But keep in mind that before you do anything with your fan it should have been removed from its mount.

Or you have properly masked any nearby walls so that there is nothing for the paint to adhere to but the fixture and not whatever has been covered.

Let’s face it; it’s usually easier if the fixture is off but if you can’t take it down or don’t want to, the only thing left to do is make sure the area you are covering up (i.e. Walls) is kept free of any stray paint drops.

If you plan to remove a light fixture, turn off the power to the fixture at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Use a high-voltage neon circuit tester to verify that the power is off before proceeding.

As you’ll need the fixture off the wall and unbolted, start by using a screwdriver to remove the mounting plate from the wall.

Carefully unplug it from that until you can see all of its connections inside, then use your screwdriver again to unscrew both wire connectors which are holding it in place.

Now, once these are removed finally as well, you should be able to tug on the fixture’s wires until it comes loose.

Remove the lights from the fixtures’ frame and set them aside. If you cannot or do not want to remove the lights, apply painter’s tape to mask them, otherwise, you can use masking paper cut to fit the light shades and keep them paint-free.

Remember to cover any surfaces around your workspace with drop cloths or tarps. Choose an open area in which to work to avoid overspray on nearby surfaces.

As you may be able to see around your house, there are several fixtures that can become painted without removing them from their location.

To protect the adjacent surfaces around a fixture before painting it, one can utilize a masking paper to cover the area properly and make sure all surfaces have been protected.

Be sure that the masking paper is big enough to cover all areas around the fixture and use tape to secure the masking paper – here are links to some great tapes:

Clean the fixtures

It’s important to clean off surfaces regularly as this helps keep them looking great.

To start, mix a solution of vinegar and water (50/50) or you can use a regular all-purpose cleaner to tackle dirt, grime, and some tough stains.

If there is mold or mildew on the fixtures, clean them with a bleach and water solution or use a commercial mold remover.

Remove old paint and rust from the fixture

Removing rust and peeling paint can be a big undertaking. The two usually go hand-in-hand, and removing either may end up taking more time than you’d like to spend on it.

But if you’ve got a rusted exterior (or interior) that needs some work, then you’ve come to the right place because we’ve got all the information that you need to know about getting rid of both rust and paint with just materials from your local hardware store.

method to spray paint fixtures

Method to remove rust from the fixture

Use vinegar to remove rust from fixtures. While it may sound like a simple solution, it actually works! Just get a small container, fill it with vinegar, and put it in the room with the rusty fixture.

Leave it there for at least 24 hours. You can leave it there for up to a week if you want. Overnight will remove the majority of the rust.

You can just wipe it off with a cloth after a few hours. If you want to make your own vinegar, mix 2 cups of distilled white vinegar with 4 cups of warm water. This chemical reaction will help remove most of the rust.

To get started, though, it’s important to have an idea about what kind of redecorating project you’re dealing with – is it mostly just surface rust on the door handle or do your windows look like they haven’t been cleaned in years?

Is it painted metal or concrete that needs some attention, or is it wood siding? This will make all the difference in whether you choose steel wool, sandpaper, or even a hammer and chisel.

Apply Primer on the surface

Spray a light dusting of rust-inhibiting spray paint over the rusted areas first. Then, apply a light coat of sea salt with a cheese grater to the entire surface and allow it to dry.

Apply another light spray layer of rust-inhibitor over the surface for extra protection. Allow 48 hours for the salt residue to be thoroughly washed off before applying silicone lube.

Apply topcoat

Now you can start painting! Consider how you want your finished product to look. Aerosol paints come in flat, semi-gloss, or high-gloss finishes.

Also, take some time to think about what color you’re going for and how it will work on the fixtures and with the rest of the house colors and patio decorations, etc.

Spray on a coat of True Value X-O Rust Paint & Primer in One – hold the can 8″-12″ from the object you’re painting and keep moving so as not to cause any drips.

Apply several light coats – if applicable, let the paint dry 24 hours before using.

Reinstall the fixture

Today, some of you may have taken down your fixtures to paint them, now that you have completed the painting process it is time to put the fixture back together. How do we accomplish this?

First, locate the wires that are now coming out of your wiring box and connect them to your new light fixture wiring.

The fixture should come with attached wires with connectors and a mounting plate. Electrical cables will not fit into these slots so remove any extra wire slack.

Next, remove any excess painter’s tape or masking materials (this can wait until after this process is complete).

Now place the mounting plate in its designated position making sure it lines up before it into place with screws that were included in the box.

Once the plate is snugly secured we move on to installing the light lens bulbs or shades depending on what type of light you purchased; then push all the wires back through and reinstall all hardware by hand or use the Allen key to adjust each for optimal fitment.


It can be done, but it’s not recommended. Spray paint is designed to stick to things like plastic and wood. It’s not going to stick to metal. It can be done, but you run the risk of the paint flaking off or leaving an uneven surface. However, if you must paint your light fixture, your best bet is to sand away some of the metal and create a flat surface. Then you will want to prime the metal with spray primer before applying your spray paint.

To paint light fixtures, you will need paint. Paint is a viscous liquid mixture that is used to coat or color surfaces. It is available in different colors and shades, and can be transparent or opaque depending on the properties of the paints. Commonly used paint types are oils, acrylics, enamels, etc.  You can even buy paint online. Acrylic paints are popular because they are water based. You can easily clean up with water after the paint dries. Also, acrylics work perfectly well with metal, plastic and glass. The best type of paint to use is the one that will be serving as the protection for your light fixtures. So if you desire to paint the light fixtures for aesthetics, choose the color you want, get the required amount and start painting.

Spray painting a light fixture without taking it down is a bit tricky – if you don’t get the balance just right, the paint will come out the wrong way and get all over the place. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a few things to keep in mind that will help you get the job done right. First, make sure you have a small-bore spray tip. Smaller is better here, as you want as precise a spray pattern as possible. Second, be sure that you have a light paint, something close to a flat white or off-white. For this kind of small area, you don’t need the coverage of a matte or semigloss finish. Third, make sure you have the light turned on. This may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want to spray the fixture when it’s turned on. You want to spray it when it’s turned off.

If you are looking at spray painting chrome light fixtures, then you are probably looking for a more cost-effective alternative to plating them. Most chrome light fixtures use a die cast zinc housing. This is a very porous material and cannot be plated. To paint them properly you will need to sand the fixture down to bare metal. This means removing the chrome plating and primer. If you are doing a fixture with a plastic housing you most likely can skip this step. If you decide to remove the chrome you will need to use a product called a “Chromic Acid Pickling Dip”. This is a fast-acting product that will strip the chrome and primer off of the fixture in minutes. Be sure to follow all of the instructions that come with the product. Once the fixture is stripped you will want to prep and prime it. This will seal the zinc and make it a great surface for the paint to adhere to. You can then use a regular spray can and primer to start the finish work. Just follow all the instructions on the packaging and you will be good to go.


Here is the complete guide to spray painting light fixtures for newbies and for those who don’t know how to spray paint them. This step-by-step method is very helpful and you must follow each step mentioned in this post of mine. If you have any questions post them down in the comments section, and I will try to answer them as soon as possible.

Leave a Comment