Instructables

Upgrade Your Old Ceiling Fan

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Cheap fans with phony shiny wood grain and "brass" parts are pretty ugly, and pretty prevalent. Since I couldn't find a great looking replacement that didn't cost a gazillion dollars, and since my fans still worked fine, I decided to just change their look. This project is easy to do and doesn't require any electrical work (unless you want it to). Plan on taking 2-3 hours to tackle the first 6 steps, and another 30 mins to reassemble your fan and turn it on.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Primer paint
Finish paint
Rustoleum oil based paint or the like
2-3 paint brushes
All purpose cleaner and towels
Screwdriver (flat and/or Phillips depending on your fan)
Ladder

Step 2: Remove fan blades from motor

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I have done two fans. For the first I removed the entire fan from the ceiling requiring me to turn off the power to the fan at the circuit box. While this did allow me to fix a problem with the fan (it's a 3-speed but was only one was working), it made painting the motor housing difficult.

For the second fan I just left the motor on the ceiling. This made painting the motor housing really simple. Removing the fan blades is very easy to do. Seems pretty standard that the blades are attached to the motor by a couple of screws and that's it. Just remove the screws and the blade and connector will separate from the housing.

Step 3: Separate fan blades from connectors and clean all

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Unscrew the blades from the connectors. These screws came out very easily in both my fan projects.

Fan blades get super grimy and dusty, esp if near a kitchen which was the case for one of mine. I used all purpose cleaner and rags and went over the blades a few times to get them clean. Same with the connectors.

jcopeland1217 days ago
Was it hard reattaching the fan blades? One of mine came loose and we had to take it off but were having a really hard time putting it back on..any suggestions?
ckoehler19048 months ago
I really like the idea of using the adjustable lights - great idea.
Just wondering....did you have any problems having unbalanced fan blades after painting them? I ask this because getting fan blades to balance properly (not having fan "wobble") has always been a problem for me. Adding paint to the blades might potentially add to that instability. Of course, that can be solved by rebalancing the van by using small attachable weights.
artcobain4 years ago
 what does it looks like at night?

tinawina (author)  artcobain4 years ago
 it looks great at night. Replacing the old glass "shades" with the new adjustable spotlights gives a much better room light. And being able to position the lights -- on the wall, on the floor, on the dining room table... -- makes the fan a lot more functional. There's really know flicker at all. I have two of these fans in my living room/dining room -- large room -- and they really look great. No regrets having done this project!
ac1D4 years ago
You forgot some step:
1) Add some knive to each blade
2) mount it on your truck
3) hope zombie come!
tinawina (author)  ac1D4 years ago
 Ha! You should def pursue that version and post it to Instructables. 
Why does the fan have 4 blades before you painted it, and 5 blades after?
Just a guess, maybe forgot the 'before' picture after starting the project..  I've got 3 different ceiling fans in my house.  I don't do a lot of planning or fore-thought before jumping into a project, and usually afterward thinking I should have taken some pictures.  Documentation has never been a strong point for me, but plan on doing an Instructable sometime.
tinawina (author)  HarveyH444 years ago
 Hi there - there is a "before" picture available. On the intro page, scroll down to just under the big photo of the finished fan and there's a thumbnail you can click that will pull up the photo of the original fan. 

I agree about documentation. I realized after finishing the first of two fans that I should have documented. So glad I had a second fan project to do - though I didn't start documenting that one until I was pretty much done. Whoops!
tinawina (author)  davidhullster4 years ago
 I think my intro page is a bit confusing - sorry! My fan started out as a 5-blade fan that is brown faux wood and faux brass. On the intro page there is a picture of it -- scroll down to just under the big photo of the finished 4-blade fan and click on the thumbnail to see the original. 

I wanted to minimize the fan as much as possible. Since my fans offer the option to use only 4 blades or to use the full set of 5, I opted to switch from the original 5-blade format to the 4-blade format in the finished project. I do not notice any difference in air circulation with the 4-blade format.