How to Paint a Metal Bed Frame

Two Methods:Spray-Painting a Metal Bed FrameBrush Painting a Metal Bed Frame

Knowing how to paint a metal bed frame is important when you want to update your bedroom with a new color scheme, repair damage or totally refinish an old or re-cycled metal bed frame. With a few basic tools and some time and patience, painting that bed frame is a project anyone can do. There are two methods of refinishing metal bed frames, with spray paint or with a brush.

Method 1
Spray-Painting a Metal Bed Frame

Choose to spray-paint your bed frame if the frame is in fairly good shape already, and it just needs a simple one-color paint job and does not have fancy details like embossed or raised designs on it.

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    Find a good spot for painting.
    • This needs to be a well-ventilated place, dry, with temperatures between 45°F and 85°F (7°C and 29°C).
    • It should be fairly dust and insect free and where children and pets won’t disturb the bed frame as the paint dries.
    • There should be something in the area where parts can be propped against as you paint them and as they to dry. You could use a sawhorse, ladder or an old chair for this. You could also tape a drop cloth to a wall and lean the bed frame against that.
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    Take the metal bed frame apart as much as you can. As you work, pay attention to how the frame was assembled so you can re-assemble it correctly. Store the nuts and bolts and other small hardware in a secure container.
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    Wash the bed frame pieces with hot water and dish detergent and wipe them dry. Pay attention to corners, and crevices in designs. Make sure all the dirt is scrubbed off.
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    Sand the entire metal frame with medium-fine sandpaper.
    • Any old paint needs to be roughed up and all rust needs to be removed.
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    • You may need coarser sandpaper or a wire brush for heavily rusted areas to start but finish with the medium fine sandpaper.
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    • All loose peeling paint needs to be removed but it’s not necessary to remove all of the paint.
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    Clean any dust and rust or paint chips thoroughly from the area before you start painting. Cover the painting area with drop cloths or old newspapers.
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    Go over the frame with a tack cloth (found in hardware stores) to remove any particles left from sanding.
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    Go over the bed frame again with a damp, soft cloth.
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    Arrange the bed frame pieces against your prop (sawhorse, wall).
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    Spray the frame with a metal paint primer.
    • When one surface is dry, flip the pieces and spray the other side.
    • Use slow, sweeping motions with the spray can and avoid heavy coats that make drips.
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    • Allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
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    Spray the metal bed frame with paint.
    • This paint should be rust resistant, and made for use on metal.
    • Use those smooth, steady sweeping motions to get even coverage.
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    • Let the first surface dry completely, and then turn the pieces and spray the other side.
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    Apply a second coat of paint just like the first. Pay attention to corners and design areas to make sure they don’t collect excess paint or remain unpainted.
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    Let the frame dry and apply a third coat if you want a smoother finish.
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    Push the screws or bolts from the frame into a cardboard box, heads on the surface, and spray them with paint so the heads will match the frame color. Let dry.
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    Apply a coat of clear sealer to the bed frame to ensure the longest wear and allow it to dry.
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    Re-assemble the metal bed frame.

Method 2
Brush Painting a Metal Bed Frame

Paint your metal bed frame with a brush if you have a respiratory condition that might worsen from inhaled spray particles or fumes. You will also want to use a brush to paint the frame if you are painting on a design (e.g., making stripes or adding flowers). If the frame has a lot of ornate designs like scrolls, hand painting will give you better coverage and crisper detail.

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    Follow the steps above to prep the metal bed frame for painting.
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    Brush on a coat of metal paint primer. Use smooth strokes and don’t overload the paintbrush to avoid runs and drips.
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    Let the surface dry and then flip the pieces over and paint the other side of each. Let dry.
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    Brush on an acrylic or oil-based paint for metal using smooth, steady stokes, and avoiding drips and runs. Let one side dry, flip pieces and paint the other side.
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    Apply a second coat of paint as above when the first is dry. Check the paint label to see how long to let the paint dry between coats. A third coat may be needed with some paints.
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    Paint on designs like flowers or stripes after the last coat of paint has dried and let the details dry.
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    Paint the heads of screws and bolts as described above, except using a brush. This process will allow you to incorporate more details if you wish.
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    Apply a coat of clear paint sealer to the bed frame after all the paint layers have dried.
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    Let the paint sealer dry before re-assembling the metal bed frame.

Tips

  • Have several sizes of paintbrushes when hand painting a bed frame so all areas can be painted efficiently.
  • Use a stiff toothbrush to clean dirt or rust out of crevices.
  • Automobile polish can be used in place of clear sealer to protect bed frames.
  • As you take apart the bed frame check the screws or bolts to see if the threads are worn or the heads are damaged and replace them.
  • Sanding the frame in a location different from where it is painted helps keep dust and paint chips away from the painted surface.

Warnings

  • Make sure to purchase paint that is recommended for metal. Latex and some other paints will not work well.
  • Always paint in a well-ventilated room and wear a painting mask. Fans can help disburse paint fumes.
  • Wear goggles when spray-painting.
  • Repainting over brass is not easy and should be left to professionals. Brass is better polished than repainted.
  • Wear a mask when sanding if the paint may be old lead-based paint. Anyone with asthma or other respiratory problems may also want a mask when sanding.

Things You’ll Need

  • Screwdriver, pliers, wrenches and other tools for taking apart the bed frame
  • Drop clothes or old newspapers
  • Medium fine sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Clean soft cloths
  • Dish soap
  • Metal paint primer
  • Metal paint
  • Paint brushes if hand painting
  • Painting masks
  • Goggles
  • Small cardboard box for painting screw and bolt heads.

Article Info

Categories: Furniture and Cabinets