Metal bed frames, especially aluminum, are prone to scratches and rust. As long as the overall condition of the frame itself is in good order, you can refinish a metal bed frame and give it a quick facelift without replacing it altogether. For even application, use spray paints rather than paint and a brush, which tend to drip or leave brush strokes on metal surfaces.
What You’ll Need:
Screwdriver or power drill
Oil-based metal spray paint top coat color
Oil-based metal spray paint primer
Lay out a dropcloth in a well-ventilated work space such as a driveway or patio. Take apart the bed frame as much as possible and lay out the pieces on the drop cloth. Remove any hardware such as screws or hinges and set them in a safe place to reuse later.
Wear a dust mask, latex gloves and safety goggles to prevent inhaling rust or paint flakes or getting them in your eye. Use a steel-bristled brush to scrape off any loose paint chips or rust spots on the furniture. Wear down any spots of rust using a coarse file until the bare metal is exposed. For any rounded areas, such as on the bed posts, use 80-grit sandpaper to sand down rust spots.
Wipe the entire frame clean with a tack cloth to remove any loose paint, rust or debris.
Apply a thin coat of primer using an oil-based metal spray paint. Use a spray paint formulated for metal surfaces, which will help prevent future rust and stick to the surface of the metal. Hold the can of spray paint 12 to 18 inches from the surface and use a back-and-forth motion to coat the frame. Do not oversaturate the frame and do not worry if portions of the metal show through the primer. Let the primer dry overnight.
Spray on a thin coat of an oil-based metal spray paint in the top coat color desired. Use a smooth back-and-forth motion again to cover the bed frame. Let the first coat dry until it is no longer tacky to the touch and apply a second coat. A third coat may be needed for darker or vibrant colors. It is best to apply the color in several coats to prevent drip marks and get an even finish. Let the paint dry overnight before reassembling the bed frame.