How to paint vintage handles

So you have your pre-loved piece of furniture and make it look all pretty with your Dixie Belle Paint...but the handles are a bit of a let down!! You can either change them for some brand new ones or you could up-cycle the old ones. I love vintage handles and always try and re-use them where possible. This not only costs less but also reduces waste!

This is a short blog on one of the ways you can update your vintage handles!

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Product list:

White Lightning

Spray Paint

Gilding Waxes

Firstly it's worth noting that not all vintage handles are the same. Some will clean up beautifully with the use of some Brasso and elbow grease. Others need a little more TLC to become beautiful again. The handles on this piece were solid but cosmetically a little worse for wear. The finish was partially worn off but I wanted to keep them I felt they really suited the piece. 


First I removed all of the handles and cleaned them with White Lightning and warm water. 


This makes sure theres no grease or dirt on the handles which stops the paint to have adhesion issues. Make sure you wear gloves with White Lightning!

Once they had soaked for a while I gave them a scrub to remove any of the stubborn dirt.

I rinsed the handles with clean warm water to remove any White Lighting residue.

Next I laid them out on some paper towel and let them dry.


Once the handles were dry I took them outside and laid them flat on some cardboard. I sprayed them with 2 thin coats of Rustoleum Rubbed Bronze for even coverage. I don't have a particular brand that I use for spray paints but I always buy a good quality one. This brand is excellent as you don't need a primer and the colours are really authentic looking. It does take slightly longer to dry than other brands I've used but once its dry it is solid. Make sure you use a mask and are in a well ventilated area for spraying!


Don't forget to Include your key in this process so that it matches the rest of your hardware!

This is the complete set of handles with 2 coats of spray paint on. These look pretty enough if you wanted to stop there and depending on your personal preference and the piece you're working on you may want to. I required a little more glam for my piece though!

This is when these little tubs of magic come into play! These gilding waxes are an oil based, highly pigmented and permanent wax and are so easy to use! They come in a variety of colours and you can mix them to achieve lots of variations of metallics! Can you tell I love them?!?

Once the handles were re-fitted, I added some gold gilding wax using my finger. You can use a brush or sponge but I prefer my finger as it gives a 'dusting' effect. I toned the gold down with a little bronze over the top as I didn't want the gold to be too bright against the red paint work. This mix gave just the right level of glam!

Here is a close up of the finished piece! I used the same gilding waxes to highlight the edges of the doors and drawers to tie the look altogether!

I hope this blog has been useful for your up-cycling projects!

Con x


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