- Bare sheet metal
- High-grit sandpaper
- Steel wool
- White vinegar
- Welding supplies and beads (optional)
- Clear gesso and/or epoxy
- Painting tools
Step One: Use sand or bead blasting to slightly roughen the surface of the sheet metal. Otherwise the paint will not stick adequately. High-grit sandpaper or steel wool will also do the trick and you probably already have one of these lying around. Make sure to clean the surface with white vinegar when you are done.
Step Two: Decide how you want to paint the sheet metal. There are a variety of different styles, ranging from antique to highly modern. Welded breads can make the surface three dimensional and faux rust patinas add a stylish touch. Depending on what you are using the sheet metal for, it may be wise to apply a protective coating.
Step Three: Apply a primer. Some contain a built in etcher that will use acid to etch the surface. Clean the surface with white vinegar again. This time, dilute the vinegar slightly so that it is not as harsh on the new layer of primer
Step Four: Paint the sheet metal. The color and type of paint you decide on will determine the finished look. There are metallic paints that add a shimmer, oil paints that glisten, and bold colors that will leap from the surface. Depending on the style you decide on, there are many different tools to choose from. Small brushes can add designs and flourishes, while wide brushes make large sweeping effects and more rapidly cover the surface.
Step Five: Use clear gesso for exposed metal and epoxy for painted metal to apply a protective top coat. This will add gloss and prevent peeling. Epoxy has to be allowed to mix for the right amount of time of the components will not blend together properly.