Sunday, 4 September 2016

Spray Painting Interior Door handles

Over the Summer holidays, when the boys were off school, I decided to tackle a few niggly interior projects. 'Niggly' meaning that they weren't hard and they didn't require a huge amount of time, but they were jobs that had been on my mind for a while and I wanted to get them ticked off the list.

Most of them were tedious and boring (paint touch ups, stain blocking, filling holes, sewing a throw!). However, there was one job that I decided was blog worthy - spray painting brass plate interior door handles with matt black paint.

WHY change the handles?

Three reasons really...

1. I had always wanted to change any interior brass fittings in the house to silver or chrome. So far we've replaced all the brass fittings (floor strips, tile surrounds etc.) with chrome or wood. The last thing to be replaced were the interior door handles.

2. I thought silver was a good option until I read this post on Housetweaking about replacing interior doors and hardware. After reading the post I changed my mind and started to think that black handles might be the way to go.

3. Then I saw these handles on Pinterest and absolutely loved the way they looked. I thought they really made a statement. And the style and shape was very simialar to our existing brass ones.

It was decided then... I was going to spray paint our door handles matt black. It would be an inexpensive way to test out a black door handle and I could always replace them with silver ones (which was the original plan) if they didn't turn out or if I decided black handles just didn't work.

I'd spray painted a few hinges on the exterior door of our shed a few years ago. It was an easy job, it probably took less than ten minutes to do everything apart from the drying time between coats. This was my gauge for deciding that the job was doable with the boys off school. Once I removed all the handles, spraying them with a couple of coats of the matt black paint would be easy - right?

Emm ... Not really. It definitely wasn't a hard job but the length of time it took for the paint to dry between coats meant that the job took absolutely ages. The actual spray painting was the quickest part. The job was also quite disruptive as it took our kitchen table (where I sprayed the handles) out of action for at least four days. The overall length of time the project took from start to finish was a couple of weeks. But having said all that I'd do it again and I love the way they look now.

The Details...

First I had to unscrew all the handles which was easy but once removed there were two problems. Number 1: You can get stuck in a room really easily with the latch still intact in the door frame but no handle (a pliers came in handy when this happened!). I could have left some of the handles on the doors and done the job in two parts but I wanted to get the job finished as soon as possible. And Number 2: As I just mentioned, the time it took for the handles to be sprayed, dried and sprayed again.. and again.. and again.. took one of our main areas in the house - the kitchen table - out of action for a really long time. If you happen to have a spare room you can use as a workspace then brilliant - I don't!

Once the handles had been unscrewed the prep work started..

I added a capful of sugar soap to a basin of warm water and let the handles and locks soak for a few minutes before cleaning them with a cloth. This removed dirt and grease and prepared the surface for the primer. Once dry they were ready for the E.S.P to be applied.

Using a clean dry J-cloth I rubbed on the E.S.P and let it dry for two hours which gave the paint a good surface to adhere to.

Then it was time to start spraying.

I propped them up to get better coverage on the sides - just a piece of kitchen paper wrapped in sellotape so the paint wouldn't stick - real Mac Gyver stuff. I left them to dry for two days before respraying each coat. On the can it states that twenty-four hours is sufficient but from experience I know that some paints can take up to thirty days to harden fully. I wanted to make sure each coat was fully dry before respraying. I definitely didn't want to have to spray them all again if they marked or dented.

I also had to turn the door handles over to spay each side. Both sides needed two days to dry in between coats. Can you see the time consuming nature of the job?! Each time a new coat was sprayed it needed days to dry fully. I completely miscalculated, it turned out that this was a terrible job to do while the boys were off school!

Once the final coat had been sprayed I left them for a week to dry and harden. I moved them to a shelf in the office for this part - I really needed my table back!

Deciding on black handles instead of silver was definitely the right choice for us.

The finished look is absolutely PERFECT.

I'm so glad that I stumbled across the Housetweeking blog post before I bought 10 chrome handles and lock fittings! At about €20 each per part it would have cost the guts of about €400. Spraying the handles changed the look and finish for the cost of two cans of spray paint (€17 euro each).

And while chrome would have been good, the matt black handles are MUCH better. The matt effect gives a quality feel and they now have slight masculine look which I love. They're handsome yet elegant and look striking on the white doors alongside the Shaded White (Farrow & Ball) walls.

The black colour looks intense and vivid especially in places like the landing and hall where all of the handles are on view together.

It did involve more work and disruption than I originally thought but it was worth it in the end.

And with nearly a full can of matt black spray paint left over I'm already scouring the house for my next design dilemma. Maybe something in Ross's bedroom? Watch this space..!


*I had everything from previous projects apart from the spray paint.

Sugar soap

Clean cloth


Greaseproof paper


Rust-Oleum Matt Black Spray Paint



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