Thursday, 23 January 2014

Getting a Pewter Look on Hardware

Just a couple of materials and a few simple steps is all it takes

I have done this look on a couple of different dressers now. It all began with the beautiful dresser below. 

 I had previously refinished this dresser in turquoise (HERE) and was over-the-moon to find the exact same gorgeous dresser in excellent vintage condition. It has wonderful raised detailing and I added the legs to give it extra height.

There was nothing wrong with the hardware in its original state, but it was so dark that it was difficult to appreciate all the ornate carved detailing.  Lightening it up and glazing it really highlights all of that beautiful craftsmanship.

I drew inspiration from a technique I have used on some old candlesticks to get a 'pewter' looking finish. This candlestick used to be glossy red and it really suited the Japanese inspired furnishings of the house I shared in Sydney (yep, I brought these guys all the way home to Canada), but I gave them new life to fit in with the decor of my new digs.

I washed the hardware well using baking soda and vinegar to get the gunk off.  I noticed this did leave a film on the hardware after it dried (probably a chemical reaction) and so I gave all the pieces of hardware a good sanding. Just to give you an idea of the finish. The middle is the original finish, the left is after I sanded/buffed it to a soft gold, and the right shows the residue post soaking. 

I sanded all the hardware really well in order to promote good adhesion for the spray paint.  This was the most time consuming and unpleasant step.  I wore a mask to prevent any of those nasty particles tainting my pristine nostrils. I want to be able to taste my Honeycombs after all.

Next up was silver spray paint.  I used Krylon in a gloss finish.  I did about three coats with 20-30 minutes of dry time between coats. Although the hardware looked great after this step, it really lacked the depth that the glaze provided.

I let the paint dry for a couple of days and kept myself busy doing other things before glazing.  For the glaze I mixed together Martha Stewart glazing medium with some black paint. That's actually an old herbs bottle I mixed it up in. A little of the glaze goes a-l-o-n-g way.

I wiped on the glaze with a dry paper towel and then used a damp cloth to hastily wipe it back off.  I didn't over wipe as I wanted the glaze to gather into the grooves of the detailing and create a darker shadow.  If there were any areas I felt were too dark I just worked the damp cloth a little more.

The picture above shows the difference in steps.  Starting on the right you can see the plate with spray paint, the middle is what it looked like when I covered with glaze, and the left is the end result after the glaze was wiped off.

I allowed the glaze to dry overnight before I sealed everything with a few spray coats of polyacrylic.  I used a satin finish, but I did find that it dulled the finish down to more of a matte finish.  I would definitely consider using a gloss polyacrylic spray for the next time to encourage a bit more luster.

The end result makes a stunning contrast with the white paint of the dresser. You can see another example of where I used this technique below.

It really is amazing how much of a transformation you can make with a little paint, a little imagination, and a little effort. Magic!

If you have any tips for hardware transformations please leave a comment or a link!


  1. It looks fabulous! Great job!

  2. Those are gorgeous dressers - wow - just beautiful!
    I do something very similar with handles - love using the original ones ( in most cases )
    Visiting from MMS -
    Hugs from Montreal

  3. I used almost the same paint technique on a chest. I painted with aluminum paint and then put a black glaze on it. I get so many compliments on it.

  4. Hi Rae. Thanks for the tut on this one. I'm for sure gonna try it on some handles. Makes a nice difference. Dontcha just love polishing hardware??!! I'd rather have root canal.
    That white dresser is stunning. Did you sell that locally, online??? (Psst, email me the price!)

  5. Wow, I've always passed over those really ornate pieces, but I love it in the white and silver. Now I'm gonna have to find one!
    I would love you to share some of your ideas at my link party. My very first one is Friday, Jan 31st at I hope to see you there!

  6. You did such a wonderful job on the hardware, love the pewter look opposed to bright shiny silver, think it gives much more attractive accent to a piece. Great tutorial also, thanks for sharing all those steps. Seeing your old dresser snazzied up takes me back, time of the 50's thru 70's furniture. Think my parents had piece like that but they would never have considered painting it, just wasn't done in those days. My son in law still hollers at me for painting wood furniture. Happy weekend

  7. Stopping by from MMS. Great transformation...Love what you did with the hardware. You have a lovely site...So glad to have found it! :)

  8. I have a dresser to refinish right now, and I’m probably going to spray paint the hardware…so thanks for the post.

  9. Excellent craftsmanship i see.Using Paint Sprayer can ease your job a lot.Anyway Nice work.