How to Get Paint to Stick to Chrome

by Chelsea Fitzgerald
Wire brushes help rid chrome of rust and peeling paint.

Wire brushes help rid chrome of rust and peeling paint.

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The key to making paint stick to a chrome surface is to prepare the area carefully before beginning. Often, when paint does not adhere to chrome it is because the painter did not remove debris from the surface, such as grease, oil, dust, dirt and loose or peeling paint. Preparing the surface correctly ensures that the paint sticks and results in a professional-looking finish.

Items you will need

  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Plastic basin
  • Sponge
  • Absorbent towel
  • Wire bristle brush
  • Steel wool
  • Coarse grit sandpaper
  • Metal paint scraper
  • Rust-proof primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Spray-on rust-proof metal paint
Step 1

Wash the chrome well before attempting to paint it. Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid to warm water in a plastic basin. Place a sponge in the basin and wring it out. Clean the chrome surfaces and then rinse well with clear water. Dry the area with an absorbent towel.

Step 2

Rub the chrome surface with a wire bristle brush, a piece of steel wool or coarse grit sandpaper. This removes any rust or peeling paint and provides a surface that grips the paint, allowing it to stick. A metal scraper is often necessary on large, flat pieces of chrome to speed the process..

Step 3

Rinse the chrome well with clear water. This removes any grit or other particles. Wipe it off with the absorbent towel to ensure it is completely dry.

Step 4

Apply a rust-proof primer to the surface with a paint brush, following the directions carefully. The brand may require more than one coat. Allow each primer coat to dry completely before continuing with the paint.

Step 5

Spray the rust-proof metal paint onto your chrome surface. Read the directions on the label regarding the number of applications and drying time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Buy quality paints and primer. Read the labels to ensure both products are formulated for use on chrome or other metals. These types of paints have ingredients that enable them to inhibit rust.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images