11th Jun2012

How to Paint Metal

by Dinah Wulf

My husband and I decided to tackle the simple weekend DIY project, painting our metal side gate.  It looked really worn and rusty and needed a little TLC.  So needless to say we needed to figure out how to paint metal.  Here is a BEFORE and AFTER photo.


There’s a big difference, huh??  It looks like the photos are different sides but they are not.  Same side, just much better!  This project is simple and can be done over the weekend (due to drying time).  You can use these instructions for painting patio furniture and the like.  Here is my tutorial on How to Paint Metal.


  • Wire metal brush (paint section of hardware store)
  • Spray Primer (We used Rust Destroyer)
  • Rust-oleum Spray Paint (We used hammered black)
  • Hose (optional)
  • Two wood horses (optional)
  • Old blanket
  • Newspaper
  • Tape

First, we disassembled the gate and placed it atop of two wooden horses.

Next, using the wire brush, gently scrub off any rust or paint.  This is an important step.

Here is what it looks like after scrubbing.  I would even recommend doing this step and stopping if your paint isn’t too bad!

To remove the paint chips and rust debris, we hosed it off and let it dry.

Next, use a primer for metal.  We ran into a friendly handy man at HD and he recommended Rust Destroyer.  It is a primer and stops rust all in one.  We used almost two cans (two coats) for this entire gate.  Follow the instructions on the can for drying times.  Make sure you spray in a well-ventilated area.

Meanwhile, we used newspaper and tape to protect the wall and painted the metal gate supports (or whatever you call them).

Finally, once the primer was dry, we painted the gate with two coats of spray paint made for outdoor metal.  Once it was dry, we re-assembled the gate.

Ta da!  Here is the before and after photo again!

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Dinah has a Master of Arts Degree in Speech Communication from California State University Fullerton. She is a Curator for Style Me Pretty Living, a Blogger at Earth911 and GMC Trade Secrets, and a member of Martha’s Circle. Her website, DIY Inspired has been recognized by Mashable, Parenting.com, and Circle of Moms as a Most Creative Blog. Dinah was featured on Linqia’s Community Spotlight, as an influential community leader.

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