How to Paint Over a Chrome Surface

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How to Paint Over a Chrome Surface

Polished chrome is not always the look some consumers desire on vehicle accents, furniture, or accessories. Instead, painting the surface gives the chrome a different effect. It can be challenging to paint over a chrome surface since it is smooth and slippery. However, the correct preparation techniques and usage of special paint makes the process easier for the average user. When done properly, the painted chrome surface lasts without chipping or peeling away.


Prepare the Surface

To prepare nonrusted chrome for painting, wash it with soap and water. Allow the chrome dry thoroughly and begin to sand the entire chrome piece with 60-grit sandpaper. Sand all of the pits in the chrome so that it has no shine or glossy look. After using 60-grit sand paper, follow up with 320-grit sandpaper to finish the sanding. Wipe off the dust from the surface, and clean the oils and wax from the chrome using lacquer thinner.

Prime the Chrome

Wearing a facemask, coat the piece with a self-etching primer. Apply two light coats to the chrome, allowing it to dry in between each coat. The primer attaches to the chrome and is then ready for more primer and paint. Once the first coat of primer is dry, cover the chrome piece in a high-build primer. High-build primer has a more solid content than regular primers and increases the film in each coat. After the first coat fully dries, add two additional coats.

Sand the Primer

After priming, sand any glaze down with 320-grit sandpaper. Follow this with 600-grit paper, so that the result is a smooth finish on the surface, with no chips. If there are chips in the primer, they show in the paint surface. Wipe the chrome down again using the lacquer thinner of any dust or oils. Too much lacquer thinner makes the primer come off.


Paint the Chrome

If using a spray gun, apply up to four coats of selected colour. If painting using a spray can, apply up to six coats. Wait for the paint to dry completely in between coats so the pain does not run. If paint does begin to run, allow it to dry completely then lightly sand the run with a 1000-grit sand paper. Once the piece has dried, spray it with three coats of clear finish.


Paint Type



Base coat

Available in solid and metallic colours

No hardener needed

Not UV resistant

Has flat look and easy to scratch


Available in solid and metallic colours

Has semi-gloss finish

Must mix with thinners

Needs a clear coat on top


Good for trailers and trucks

Less expensive

Limited colours

Not available in metallic colours

Automotive enamel

Finish is strong

Long lasting

Has full gloss finish

Available in solid and metallic

Higher cost

Less range in colour options


Depending on the finish desired for the piece, the paint selection is important. Cheaper paint is easier to scratch and chip, while high-quality paint has a nicer finish and lasts longer.


Finish the Surface

Allow the clear coat to dry for three days, and then use a very fine rubbing compound on the surface. This gives a smooth, shiny finish by removing any flaws, runs, and bumps from the clear coat. Apply the compound with a wax applicator, and then let it set for a couple of minutes. Buff out any extra blemishes by hand with a wax compound.


How to Buy Paint for Chrome Surfaces on eBay

To purchase paint on eBay, research the type of paint needed for your project. Go to the search bar found on any eBay page and type in the keywords matching your product. After searching the paint, look at the options available from sellers and select an item to view. Read the description of the item once you select it to ensure that it has all the features you want. To cut down on shipping costs and time, search for sellers in your area that offer the paint you need.

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