Daily Archives: January 22, 2013

Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs for a Few Dollars – Week 3

Week 3 of 52 DIY Home Projects! One of my favorite DIY blogs, Young House Love, had a post on painting oil rubbed bronze door knobs and door knobs accessories (in Hank Hill’s voice, of course). At first it intimidated me because I’ve never touched a spray paint can in my life. But considering how much money I would save in painting these old and heavily abused brass door knobs, I gave it a shot. I’m glad I did because it was so easy! You can see Young House Love post on the project right here.

You will need:

Supplies for Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs

Supplies for Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs

  1. Screwdriver
  2. All-purpose cleaning solution
  3. Paper towels
  4. Cardboard (Home Depot let me take a couple of empty boxes)
  5. High grit sandpaper (I bought 3M Pro Grade Sandpaper Extra Fine 400 grit at Home Depot for $3.97)
  6. Deglosser (I bought the Klean-Strip Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser at Home Depot for $6.98)
  7. Steel wool (I bought the Rhodes American Grade #3 Steel Wool pack at Home Depot for $3.98)
  8. Spray can with primer (I bought the Rust-Oleum Universal Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Paint & Primer at Home Depot for ($7.28)
  9. Gloves

Total amount spent on supplies: $24.15 (incl. 8.75% tax).


  1. UNINSTALLING: Start by bidding farewell to your door knobs. Use your screwdriver to remove all screws, including the matching strike plate to have a matching set. Be careful when you remove the door knob. Black dust stained the carpet. I recommend placing a rag or towel under the door while removing the door knob.
    Carpet Stain

    Beware of staining your carpet

    To remove a door knob that looks like mine, turn the knob as if you are opening the door. Next, pull knobs opposite to each. You can easily remove the deadlatch from the door after you remove the knobs. Don’t forget your strike plate and keep all the screws together. This diagram might help in describing how to remove your door knob:

  2. CLEANING: Clean your knob and parts with your all-purpose cleaning solution like 409 cleaner. Clean any superficial built up grime off.
  3. SANDING: Cut up a small piece of your sandpaper and sand every groove and crevice of your door knob and its parts. I don’t think I did a good job on the grooves so I hope the paint adheres as long as the other parts that I sanded well. I recommend using a lower grit because 400 grit was a little too fine for me to get a thorough sanding. I thought I did a thorough sanding but now that I look at the pictures, I see that I could have been rougher. To remove white paint from the strike plate, I rubbed the steel wool heavily on the plate and it came off beautifully. Good-bye white paint that doesn’t belong there! The steel wool is good to remove any heavy, heavy stuff from your door knob.

    Papersand Door Knob

    Sanding – Done!

  4. DEGLOSSING: Read the instructions on your deglosser. I was an eager beaver; I put on my gloves, poured deglosser on a cotton rag, and lightly rubbed each door part. I wiped the deglosser off with the dry part of my rag after a minute or two. Me thinks I used it wrong… 

    So why use a deglosser AND sandpaper?? Doesn’t the deglosser OR sandpaper have the same result??Well… Apparently not. So paint expert Home Depot says that deglosser is useful because grime collects heavily on door knobs overtime and it’s not evenly spread. Deglossing helps clean that heavy grime. Also, the deglosser goes in the little nooks and crevices of your curvy door knobs and parts, where the sandpaper doesn’t reach. Somebody says deglossing protects the door knob from chipping when other objects bump into it.

    So how do you apply a deglosser to door knobs??

    My bottle instructions suggested a coarse material that is lint free so I though a cotton rag is coarse right?? WRONG. Next time, I’ll use something that is COARSE LOL Like a sandpaper sponge or dish scrubber or even steel wool.  Another approach I’ve seen is soaking the knobs in a container with deglosser and just wiping them down. I’ll let you know which one works for me better than my cotton rag…

    CONCLUSION: Degloss BEFORE sanding. Why you ask? Because the deglosser softens the first layer of paint on a door knob, preparing the knob for sanding. The sanding will make your door knob smooth but not the deglosser. Deglossers work best when door knobs dry off well before sanding it for maximum adhesion of your paint. And if your door knobs are just as sad and dirty and mine, consider deglossing and sanding twice to make sure you have the door knobs ready to receive and forever cohabitate with the paint.

    As you can see my door knobs are still too glossy after I supposedly deglossed them. Sad but lesson learned… Even so, after spray painting, the results are still two enthusiastic thumbs up!

    Door knob deglosser

    Door knobs after applying deglosser – still glossy…

    WARNING: Deglosser stinks. Use the deglosser in a ventilated area and do follow instructions on the container. Make sure to consider that I used a low VOC deglosser since I live in California.

  5. CARDBOARD: Prep your cardboard to spray paint by poking holes to fit your door knob parts and screws. I used a knife to puncture the cardboard. The cardboard will help hold all of the door knob parts conveniently placed to spray paint.

    Door knob in cardboard

    Place the door knobs on a piece of cardboard

  6. SPRAY PAINTING: Finally, ready to spray paint! It was exciting (I know, what a dork haha)! Make sure you spray paint in a ventilated area, free of gusty winds and falling leaves or dust, or cover your face if you don’t have many choices, like me. Although I knew to spray light coats, or “mists”, and allow drying for 15 minutes between thin coats, I was too eager. I ended doing 5 coats allowing to dry for 10 minutes. However, after waiting 24 hours I noticed the stem area needed an extra coat! Gahhh! I spray painted a couple of times again, twiddled my thumbs, and waited for 48 hours for the knobs to dry.
  7. REINSTALLING: Start with the easiest part – screw back the strike plate. Next place the deadlatch first making sure the sloping side of the latch faces toward the outside knob. When inserting the outside knob, make sure you place the keyhole how you typically insert your key to open it. Then to insert the inside knob, make sure you place the lock on your preferred position of locking and unlocking the door. Start screwing in the deadlatch followed by the inside knob. Just make sure you are gentle and don’t scratch the inside knob with the screwdriver. To protect the knob from scratches, use a towel. Voila!

    After DIY Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knob

    After DIY Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knob

I love the “like-new” look on my new oil rubbed bronze door knobs! I love that the supplies cost less than $25, of which we have plenty to paint the remaining knobs! I’m so thankful for Young House Love, I would have never known :*) Thank youuu

I won’t spray paint the door hinges (not like it’s noticeable but it can be bothersome) but I’ll move on. The biggest sacrifice, as expected, is the paint chipping at the strike plate and latch. I’d much rather overlook that flaw than spend a couple hundred of dollars on new door knob sets…

So… Did you redo your door knobs?? Any tips or anything you would suggest for painting the rest of the door knobs?

Thanks for stopping by!