Never Polish Your Brass Again – Paint It!

I grew up polishing brass items my grandparents brought home from Pakistan.  My grandfather worked there for a few years, and they came home with many souvenirs.

Painter Artist Mom (PAM) and Handy Builder Dad (HBD) were graced with this brass coffee table, among other things.

Brass Table "Before"

The base is hand-carved wood – wood so hard you’d think it’s made of stone.

Hand-Carved Table Base

I wouldn’t attempt to paint this table base with all its cuttings and detailing.  But, the brass top is another matter altogether.

PAM bribed me as a child to polish the brass top, along with all the other brass we had in the house.  “If you’ll polish this table, it’ll be yours some day.”

“Really?  You’ll give it to me when I grow up?”


Cut to year fifteen, and I decided I NEVER wanted that table.  Who wants to do this huge polish project every six months the rest of their life?

PAM (still stuck with the table) wondered a while back if we (I) could paint it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

“Sure!”  I have a similar coppery piece that turned out well – the hammered tray transformation.

Hammered Tray DIY Complete

PAM decided she liked Annie Sloan color of Florence (same as the hammered tray).  During her post-surgery convalescence, I got to work (while PAM, her words, “sat on the couch and said ouch“).

Painted Table

I went heavy on the paint and regretted it later.  It took a lot of sanding to find the brass highlights beneath.

After clear wax and then dark wax, it looked old…aged…

ASCP Florence Painted Table


Florence Brass Table

We didn’t like that much green for that piece – or the room.  I ran out of time and decided to do more to the table on my next visit.

Last week, I visited PAM and HBD again.  I sanded a good bit of the green, which removed the wax, as well.

Sanded Painted Table

This time, I did a mostly dry-brush coating of French Linen.

ASCP French Linen

With such a sheer coat of paint, the brass and green beneath were exposed as I polished with clear wax.

Sanded and Waxed Table

The dark wax brought out the rich tones and brass details.

PAM and I like it much better now.  It has that aged brass patina…calm hints of the green rather than a shocking green table.

ASCP ainted Brass Table

Just before leaving their house last cloudy Friday, I snapped a few pictures using a flash.  The picture above was the only one that was non-glaring, revealing the true look of the color.  It’s not a very clear picture, either, so I hope you get the idea.

A visitor wouldn’t notice any difference in the table.  The painted brass looks so much like the original unpolished (for years!) brass.  The very bright side is that we NEVER have to polish the brass again.

Ahem…can I take back what I said about not wanting the table when I grow up?

Are you tired of polishing brass?  Why not give it a quick coat of chalk paint?


125 px Signature


    • says

      Thank you! Yes, it was a big job and one I always dreaded. Funny thing I discovered. When I sanded the brass, it didn’t scratch, and it took all the tarnish away. (Warning: test brass first if you want to try this.)

  1. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Wow, I love it…… and I would have NEVER thought it would look good at all painted. I am impressed and will remember this for sure.

  2. Robin says

    Makes me glad my mom never had any brass for me to polish! hahaha
    The table looks fabulous BTW! GREAT job there!!!

    And thanks so much for your concern….I have been reading, just not posting….feeling very tired due to thyroid/adrenal issues…but I will survive…it’s yet another TEST. 🙂

  3. teresa says

    why didn’t you just wax it or spray it with laquer. This was an amazing piece. Better to give to someone who liked it as it was meant to be.

    • says

      Well, coating the brass would require cleaning it really well first. I can’t imagine how many hours that would take because it’s been years since the last cleaning. Neither PAM nor I wanted to give it away to someone outside the family, and we don’t know who in our family would want it. No volunteers as of yet. 🙂