Introduction: Refashioning Flea Market Finds - Rusted Metal to Modern White

About: Bioengineer by degree, web designer by career, crafter by passion.

This DIY project is so simple, but gets really nice results!

I recently went "garage saling" with my mom, and we stumbled upon an antique store that was closing. The owner was dying to get rid of her merchandise, and I basically died of excitement. Thrifting and vintage shopping is my favorite hobby. I love everything about it. The more piles of junk, the more hidden treasures there are to find. My mom and I ended up with a lot of vintage silver-plated kitchen accessories, some of it beyond repair. These pieces were begging to be refurbished in some way. Most of them had that ornate, floral decoration around the edges of the dish. It's very typical of the silver plated decor that you see in thrift stores these days, and a little dated if it can't be polished up.

Step 1: Clean & Scrub

This, although obvious, is a very important step!

I am admittedly a lazy person and I like to take short cuts, so I sympathize with you guys out there who want to skip this step. However, if the piece you are refurbishing is not free of dust, dirt or oil, it will ruin your project. The paint will not properly adhere to the metal.

So, specifically, use soap and water, along with a hardy scrub brush or sponge. Make sure to clean in the grooves of the design if there are any nooks and crannies. Sometimes I use a Q Tip with rubbing alcohol.

You don't have to be worried about maintaining the finish of whatever you are cleaning because it will soon be covered by paint. I would recommend doing some research before cleaning metal with any products if you are not eventually going to use something for this project.

Step 2: Spray Paint Coating

Pure white decor is very trendy these days. Textured glass, plastic, or metal looks modern and brand new once the flaws and patchy discoloration is hidden.

For this step, find a flat, even surface to work on in a ventilated area.

I once made the mistake of doing this project on top of newspaper in the grass. The paint coating turned out uneven and patchy. I even ended up with the imprint of blades of grass in the paint. Not good.

Grab some newspaper, or plastic table cloth you don't mind ruining.

I usually do multiple pieces at once to save resources. Lay out the objects so that you have vantage points to every angle that you'd like to paint (except the part laying on the surface).

After you have covered your flat surface, you are ready to begin painting.

A word on the type of paint...

The type of spray paint you use is not necessarily important. If you use a paint specifically for metals, then it is extremely easy. If not, I would recommend using a metal prep solution, sold in Home Depot or other hardware stores. The paint may chip if you don't use the correct materials.

If you are painting glass, the paint won't last forever regardless of what you use. For wood, any spray paint will do.

Follow the directions on the can of paint you have in particular. They are all pretty similar, but just in case!

Hold the can at least a foot away from your objects. If you have worked with spray paint on 3D objects before, you know that it is pretty easy to end up with dripping paint if you don't make sure to do this. Spray evenly in a methodical manner, spraying in a side to side motion or in a sort of swirl.

The first coat of paint will not necessarily cover the metal completely. It may just look like a dusting of paint at first, but that is exactly what you want to start with. This will dry quickly

Repeat this about 3 or 4 times, waiting to make sure the previous layer of paint is dry before you begin the next. Girls, think of painting your nails. It takes forever for your nails to dry completely if you don't wait in-between coats.

Step 3: The Endless Possibilities

Spray painting is so easy and so versatile. I have redone furniture, used stencils with fabric, created custom wood signs...

Virtually any material will (temporarily) hold spray paint. Have fun with it!

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