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How to Use Jewelry Paint to Transform Your Bling

Kate Miller-Wilson
Stacked Colorful Bangles On Table

You can update the appearance of tired, out-of-date jewelry with a coat of paint. The key is deciding on the look you want and using the technique that will work best to get you that style.

Nail Polish for Detail Work

If you want to change the color of artificial gems or give old pieces a high shine finish, nail polish is an affordable and fun way to transform your bling. This takes a steady hand, but if you're used to painting your nails, you should have no problem with your jewelry. You can choose any color or finish you like, but longer wearing polishes create a tougher finish for your jewelry. This transformation takes about as long as painting your nails.

Things You'll Need

Because this process is a little more controlled, it works great for painting just part of a piece or a really delicate item. If you want blue gems in that necklace but like the gold color of the metal, this is a good way to change it. Any type of jewelry will work here. In addition to the pieces you want to paint, you'll need the following:

  • Dish soap and water
  • Paper towel
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish corrector pen for mistakes
  • Very fine-tipped paintbrush if you have little details to paint
  • Nail polish clear coat

What to Do

  1. Before you paint, you need to remove any grease or dirt on the surface of the jewelry. Give it a wash in dish soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Then allow it to dry completely before painting.
  2. Place the pieces you're painting on a section of paper towel.
  3. Open the nail polish and apply a thin coat, just as you would on your fingernails. If the item has tiny details, use the fine brush to do those.
  4. Allow it to dry before you add the next coat. Don't expect it to cover completely in one coat. Depending on the original color of the item, it may take several coats to get the look you want.
  5. If you find you made a mistake, use nail polish corrector pen to get rid of the paint you don't want. Remember to do this sparingly, though, since it can also remove the original surface from areas you aren't painting.
  6. Let the items dry thoroughly. Then add a clear coat for durability.

Ideas for a Custom Look

Ready to get creative with your bling? Try these ideas:

  • Bring on the nail art. If you know how to make little flowers and other designs on your nails, add these touches to your jewelry too!
  • You can also use nail art pens to give the jewelry a detailed look without the mess of multiple bottles of polish. Try affordable options like Sally Hansen's I Heart Nail Art Pen.
  • Consider metallic polish if you want to change the color of the metal while still keeping the jewelry neutral in tone.
  • Play around with glitter polish or iridescent shades for a really fun and funky look. This is great for stackable bracelets or dangly earrings.

Spray Paint for Major Color Changes

Spray paint is a great way to get big changes in a minimal amount of time. The key to making this technique work well is to choose the right kind of jewelry and properly prepare the surface. Expect to spend about 20 minutes transforming your jewelry, plus a bit more for drying.

Things You'll Need

The type of jewelry you use here is important. Keep in mind, the entire piece will be the color you choose, so it's best to go with chunky jewelry, such as bangles, necklaces with large beads, or hoop earrings. Simple styles like narrow bracelets, chokers, or band rings can work too, but they shouldn't have a ton of movement like chains or hinges. In addition to the jewelry, you'll need the following:

  • Clean cloth
  • Dish soap and water
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Spray paint in the finish you would like
  • Protective top coat, if desired

What to Do

  1. Start by cleaning the surface of the jewelry. Grease and dirt can cause the spray paint to chip or peel off, so for a durable finish, you need to wipe it down with a cloth dipped in soapy water. Dish soap is great for mildly removing grease. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry.
  2. Lightly sand the surface with fine grit sandpaper to rough it up. The rougher surface will take the spray paint better. Remove any dust with a cloth.
  3. In a well-ventilated area, hang the jewelry so you can access all sides of it with the spray paint. Lightly spray it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use several thin coats, allowing the paint to dry between coats according to the instructions.
  4. Let the paint dry completely. Most spray paint provides a durable finish; however, if you desire extra durability, add a coat of clear protective spray from the same brand of paint. Then enjoy your totally new jewelry look!

Ideas for a Custom Look

Try these ideas to get creative with your bling:

  • Use metallic spray paint, such as Krylon Premium Metallic Paint, if you want a finish that actually looks like a precious metal.
  • After the paint is dry, add details in a different color using paint pens. You can outline certain parts of the design, enhance beads with small flowers or decorations, or simple add a second color to the pieces you paint. Do this before sealing with a top coat.
  • Experiment with distressing the finish after you paint. You can use fine grit sandpaper to rub off some of the paint, leaving paint only in the grooves of an item. This gives a great patina and can make your jewelry look really dimensional.

Give Old Pieces a New Look

Jewelry styles change quickly, and it's easy for items to go out of fashion. By changing the color, you can bring them back in style and extend the use you get out of your favorite pieces.

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How to Use Jewelry Paint to Transform Your Bling