How to Paint Drawer Pulls

Today I’m sharing how to paint drawer pulls. This works for all sorts of hardware as well, including hinges and door knobs.

The process only takes a few hours, and it’s pretty simple when you break it down.

So let’s dive in!


Furniture hardware painted in Rust-oleum Champagne Bronze

Painting Drawer Hardware

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Supplies Used:

How to Paint Drawer Pulls

  1. Clean the Hardware
  2. Lightly Sand the Hardware
  3. Prime the Hardware
  4. Paint the Hardware
  5. Topcoat the Paint (Optional)
  6. Let it Dry

Step 1: Clean the Hardware

You can scrub them really really well and get them back down to almost bare metal… I have a separate blog post on How to Clean Old Furniture Hardware here!

Or you can just give them a quick scrub with a degreasing cleaner to remove the layer of dirt, grease and grime. I personally like to use Krud Kutter.

Cleaning old furniture hardware with krud kutter and a rag

Then make sure they are completely dry.

Step 2: Lightly Sand the Hardware

This can be an optional step if you scrubbed the hardware down to bare metal, or if you use a really good bonding primer in the next step, or if the hardware isn’t in a high traffic area.

When I lightly sand, or scuff sand, I typically use 220 grit sandpaper.

Lightly sanding hardware with 220 grit sandpaper

I don’t want to leave too many sanding marks behind, but I want to scuff the surface to give to paint something to hold onto. Especially on slick surfaces.

Then I wipe off the dust created from the sanding.

Step 3: Prime the Hardware

The primers that I completely trust to stick to any surface (even surfaces that haven’t been sanded) are shellac based primers.

So BIN shellac primer and clear shellac. Plus they cure quickly and you can paint oil or waterbased paints over them.

BIN shellac spray primer and clear shellac spray primer

If I use a shellac primer, I’ve learned that I can typically get away with not sanding beforehand.

But it never hurts to sand before either.

I like to use a spray can for a really nice finish.

When I spray with a spray can, I try to spray a couple of light coats.

Lightly spraying a couple coats of clear shellac based primer on hardware

And then I let it dry for about an hour before I move on to the next step.

Step 4: Paint the Hardware

My go-to right now is this champagne Rust-oleum metallic spray paint because I love this color.

Rust-oleum metallic champagne bronze spray paint

I’ve had great experience with these metallic spray paints as well! 

Once again, when I’m spraying I try to spray light coats, letting it dry for a few minutes between coats… basically to the point that it is a little tacky.

Spray painting hardware with Rust-oleum metallic spray paint

But most of these spray paints usually say to apply more coats within an hour, so I make sure to apply the next coat within an hour.

Or else it says to wait typically 48 hours. And nobody has time for that, right??           

Its one thing to spray paint hardware, but did you know you can actually use spray cans to paint furniture too!? Find out what the best spray paint for wood furniture is right here!

Check out my comparison between Krylon VS Rustoleum Spray Paint here.

Step 5: Topcoat the Paint (Optional)

Step 5 is completely optional.

But if you’re worried that it’s going to get scratched up, you may want to topcoat the paint.

I typically don’t topcoat, and I haven’t had issues with durability.

But you’ll want to check to make sure that whatever topcoat you use is compatible with the paint you used.

Most of this spray paint is oil based, so you’ll want to use an oil based topcoat.

Step 6: Let it Dry

Step six is super crucial.

You’ll want to give your hardware time to dry before you put it back in operation.

Freshly painted hardware drying before being installed onto furniture

Allow 24 hours before lightly using it or installing it… and then be extra careful with it for about a month while it completely cures.

Extra Tips

Here are some extra tips that might help your project go smoother.

What kind of paint do you use on handles?

I love to use spray paint, but you can use chalk paint, acrylic paint, oil paint… The paint that I wouldn’t recommend is latex paint that is made for walls.

If using a chalk paint or acrylic paint, I would definitely top coat the painted hardware.

But no matter the paint you use, the process is the same.

Bail Pulls

If your hardware is bail pull style with a handle that moves, you can stick toothpicks where the handles attach to the back plate, so the handles stay up in the air.

Toothpick holding up the handles on bail pull style hardware

Then you can spray the top and bottom of the handles, and all of the back plate all at once.


When painting hinges, you can open them all the way, so they create a triangle shape.

Spray the middle of the inside of the triangle, and then flip it over and spray the rest of the hardware.

Spray painting hinges with Rust-oleum metallic champagne bronze paint

This makes it so you can spray everything that you can see when they are installed.

Label the Hardware

Write labels on tape, and then fold the labels in half and tape them so you know where each hinge belongs.


Stick a toothpick or skewer through some paper or cardboard and then put the knob on the toothpick to help it stay upright when you spray it.

If you use a long skewer, you can keep it elevated so you can paint the underside too!

Using a long skewer to hold knobs in the air while spray painting them


Stick screws through some paper, Styrofoam or cardboard too so you can paint the heads.

Sticking screws into paper and spray painting the heads of the screws

Or sometimes I spray the spray paint on some paper and brush it onto the heads instead.

Watch my “How to Paint Drawer Pulls” Video to see it in action!

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  1. Can you provide information on where you purchase your new or used cabinet hardware? TIA. 🙂 Gary

    1. Good question! I like to purchase new hardware from Dlawless hardware online, or from hobby lobby. Or from Home Depot or Lowes but they are more expensive. Amazon has decent prices sometimes too.

  2. Hi, thank you for the info on using BM advance.
    I’m wondering if you ever used a glaze or stain with this paint to give it depth?

  3. Thanks for the toothpick tip! I was trying to come up with a way to spray paint my Hepplewhite pulls:)

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