How to Spray Paint Cabinet Hardware | See My Results

There wasn’t much information out there for me when researching how to spray paint cabinet hardware black. I decided to video my process of painting my 29 kitchen cabinet pulls. Not only is the video available for you to watch but I am listing off a complete written guide on how to spray paint kitchen cabinet hardware as well.

To quickly answer the question, first sand the cabinet hardware to help the paint and primer stick on better. After sanding, spray on the primer and then spray on your paint. Lastly, to have a durable finish, spray on a protective topcoat. 

I know I had so many questions when getting started on this project, so I am going to try and answer what I feel is very important when painting cabinet hardware.

What kind of paint to use on cabinet hardware?

When painting cabinet hardware I prefer to use Rust-Oleums Universal Paint and Primer. After doing some research on the product I decided to paint my kitchen cabinet hardware using their Flat Black option, I can say it holds up very well.

Although this paint is a 2 in 1, paint and primer, I still recommend using a primer. It helps increase the overall durability of the project, especially with cabinet handles.

Does spray painting cabinet hardware last?

It has been 3 months since I finished painting my cabinet handles black and they are still holding up great! When following the proper steps it is more likely your painted hardware will last a long time. I believe that applying multiple topcoats of lacquer is helping my painted kitchen handles last long.

I will provide another update on my painted cabinet hardware in the future. Providing my results helps you from doing a project that will only waste your time. If I can do it you can too!

Can you chalk paint drawer pulls?

Yes, you can chalk paint drawer pulls however, I would recommend using spray-on chalk paint. When brushing paint on cabinet hardware you are bound to see brush marks, using a spray-can prevents this problem. The best chalk spray paints I have used would be Rust-Oleums Chalked Spray Paint or Krylon’s Chalky Finish.

The best way how to chalk paint drawer pulls would be through the same process of sanding, priming, painting, and then applying a protecting topcoat.

How to Spray Paint Cabinet Hardware in 8 Steps 

In my process of painting cabinet hardware, I only had to paint the cabinet pulls because my hinges are hidden behind the cabinet itself. However, these 8 steps are still great for painting all cabinet hardware. Let’s get started:

1. Remove All The Hardware

removing kitchen hardware from cabinets

The first step is super easy, it is time to remove the cabinet hardware from the cabinets. Take a look at where your cabinet hardware is located, do you need a ladder or chair? Sometimes hardware is located in some tricky places, you might need to crouch, stretch, or just be in a weird position when trying to remove them.

For the most part, cabinet hardware is built using screws. See what type of screwdriver you are going to need, the most common types of screw heads you’ll see are Robertson (square head) or the Philips (regular cross head). It is possible that the cabinet hardware contains other types of screws, if you have a screwdriver set at home you should have no problems.

2. Prepare a Painting Space

placing a plastic drop cloth for painting kitchen handles

The next step is to prepare a painting space. I did learn a few things about the painting area during this project. I used a plastic drop cloth, but I feel a piece of plywood or a canvas drop cloth would work better. If you give it a try let me know if it works better.

I had the paint stick to the plastic drop cloth making things a bit annoying. Check out my Youtube video below on this project to see exactly what I mean.

Anyways, preparing a painting space is a good idea, it prevents unnecessary paint spills. I had 29 cabinet handles to paint, this meant I need a large painting space. I set up a drop cloth in my garage, it was a perfect project location.


3. Sand Each Piece

sanded cabinet pulls

After setting up the painting and project space, take out the sandpaper. The reason you should sand the hardware before painting it is to make sure the paint sticks on better. Sometimes cabinet handles have a glossy top coat and if it isn’t sanded down the paint will chip off rather quickly.

I started sanding with 80 grit sandpaper and then finished with 180 grit. 

The reason you start with the lower grit sandpaper is to help remove the topcoat faster and to sand off any major uneven surfaces. Finishing with the 180 grit sandpaper makes the paint look as smooth as possible when dried, but try not to go above 200 grit sandpaper when refinishing hardware it could cause the paint to chip easier.

Hardware can be shaped awkwardly so sand the best you can, don’t lose any sleep if you can’t get a certain piece.

4. Clean All Dust From Hardware

using a microfiber cloth to clean cabinet hardware

When you finish up sanding each piece of cabinet hardware begins cleaning them. Why do you need to clean them? If left uncleaned and full of dust, when painted the surface could end up being rough, meaning it will look and feel bad. Furthermore, when painting before cleaning it reduces its overall durability and your hardware is prone to chipping.

I use a microfiber cloth and some mineral spirits to clean the kitchen hardware.

Why use mineral spirits when refinishing hardware?

Mineral spirits are a great product for cleaning, it is typically used for degreasing tools and other pieces of equipment. However,  it has become a very popular choice for cleaning the rough and greasy places around the home, but I wouldn’t say use it in the kitchen. The power it has against grease is why its a recommended choice for my DIY projects. If you use mineral spirits on the cabinet handles you are guaranteed to remove any grease or dirt on the surface. Once removed, paint and primer will stick on substantially better.

5. Prime Hardware

spraying primer on kitchen cabinet handles

I have been asked numerous times if a 2 in 1 paint and primer is good enough for hardware. In my opinion and through much research, I recommend using a separate primer when looking for the best quality. This is mainly because professional painters recommend this. I choose a primer based on the material I am painting. In this project, I used a Grey Rust-Oleum Primer that is best for metal and steel surfaces. The price per paint spray bottle is very low and it works great!

When spraying on primer, it should be a light coat. The main purpose of the primer is that the paint will stick onto it while the primer bonds into the original surface. This creates a much more durable piece that will less likely chip overtime.

I began by spraying the bottom of the handle first, by doing so I could then place the handle down and spray the top. Spray 10 inches or so away from the handle so you do not overspray. Overspraying means you will see drip marks on your handles, these will have to be sanded to be removed. Spray each piece and wait until they dry before painting.

What’s the best primer for kitchen hardware?

The best type of primer to paint your kitchen hardware would be something that will hold onto metal well. My favorite spray-on primer choices when refinishing hardware would be an automotive primer and any metal primer, Rust-Oleum makes some great budget-friendly options. Choose Rust-Oleum Automotive Primer or Rust-Oleum Professional Primer Spray Paint.

6. Spray Paint Hardware

spray painting kitchen cabinet hardware

After the primer has completely dried it is time to paint these kitchen handles. I am painting the handles with Rust-Oleums Universal Paint and Primer, the design of the spray can is perfect for painting small pieces!


Painting the kitchen handles will be the same as priming, spray underneath first, lay them down, and spray the top. The reason you do it in these steps is that once you paint them you can’t touch them until they dry. In my youtube video, you will see exactly how the process went for painting and priming.

Remember to spray about 10 inches away to prevent overspray! The Rust-Oleum paint can come out pretty thick so be careful, with the 29 cabinet pulls I painted I probably over-sprayed a few.

7. Apply Lacquer Final Coat

using lacquer as a topcoat on hardware

The last step for painting your kitchen hardware handle is the protective topcoat. I used a clear satin lacquer by Watco, it is my go-to lacquer of choice.

Again, I sprayed this product on using the same exact steps. I sprayed the bottom, flipped them over, and sprayed the top. It is very important you paint lacquer on in a well-ventilated space, I also wear a paint respirator when I spray lacquer. This stuff is super strong and will stink out the house for a bit. So take it outside or open up the garage door if painting in there like me.

Lacquer is a clear coat finish that dries in about 15-30 mins, apply 2-3 coats for extra durability to prevent cracks or chips. By doing so my kitchen handles have been strong since, still zero chips! Apply each coat after one dries, do not spray too much on at a time.

It is super important that you let the lacquer cure for a minimum of one night, but it is actually recommended for 48 hours. I installed them after 24 hours but avoided using them in the kitchen that day.


8. Attach Hardware Back On

screwing in kitchen hardware

We finally made it to the final step! It is time to attach the hardware back onto the kitchen cabinets. Grab your screws and your screwdriver and begin installing them.

One tip I think is important that many people wouldn’t mention is to strategically place the handles. Of course, with 29 handles some must have turned out better than others. So what should you do to the ugly ones? Place them in an area that is difficult to see that they have minor issues. For the most part, any mistakes I had would have only been small and on one side, I would place these at the bottom of the drawers, a corner cabinet, or a hard to reach cabinet. If you did a great job and have no issues then this step will be super easy for you, great job!

When each piece is back on the cabinets, take a look, and see how good they look!

Video on How to Paint Kitchen Hardware

For DIY projects like this one, I think a visual representation is exactly what people need. If you can’t see this process it makes it really hard to grasp on and follow each step correctly. With a proper mix of writing explanations, photos, and a full video demonstration, you should have no problems giving this project a try at home!

Here is my Youtube video showing a step by step guide on how to paint kitchen hardware black:

If you like DIY projects and similar videos feel free to subscribe to my channel by clicking here.

Final Thoughts

I had a lot of fun refinishing my kitchen hardware handles and if you are thinking about it give it a try. By following each step above accordingly, you should have no issues at all creating beautiful painted hardware for your kitchen cabinets. If someone asked me “Was this a hard project?”, my answer would be “No, painting these cabinet handles was easy, however, because I had 29 handles it was very time consuming”. Just think about it, I had to repeat every step 29 times, that’s a lot of sanding, cleaning, and painting. Also, think about the screws, each handle has 2 screws meaning I had to remove 58 screws and then, later on, install all of them again.

Since I had extra time during the COVID 19 stay at home months I took this project on. It took me a few days of spending a couple of hours per day. Really waiting for the paint to dry is what makes this project take so long. Anyways, I hope you learned something here today and if you have any questions please ask in the comment section or email me directly at