It could be dirty, it could be rusty, or it could be a hideous color. Even if the cast-iron bed frame you’ve found at a garage sale or flea market suffers from all three afflictions, you’re going to be mightily surprised by how a few coats of spray paint will transform the bed frame into a thing of renewed beauty. As with most painting projects, the devil lies in the details of the important prep work that must be done to ensure a good and lasting paint finish.
Set up the cast-iron bed on a large drop cloth, preferably spread on the grass. Wait for a sunny day with little to no wind. You probably will have to circle the bed frame with the paint and therefore will want to reduce overspray.
Remove any rust from the bed with a wire brush. Use an old toothbrush for tiny, narrow or awkward spaces.
Sand the cast-iron bed with low-grit sandpaper. If the process proves difficult, move up to a medium-grit sandpaper. Tackle tight spots by wrapping a piece of sandpaper around an old toothbrush and securing it at the base with a rubber band.
Wash the bed frame with warm, sudsy water and a soft sponge. Let it dry in the sun or wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
Put on a pair of plastic gloves. Apply one thin coat of primer to the bed. Work from top to bottom and left to right at a spray distance of about 8 to 10 inches. The primer will serve as a bonding agent between the cast iron and the paint to follow, so don’t skip this important step. Let the primer dry.
Apply the first coat of spray paint to the bed. Keep your hand moving slowly and steadily rather than stopping to “force” paint onto one area of the frame. Remember that it’s better to apply two light coats of spray paint than one heavy coat; plus, the second coat tends to go on cleanly and easily. Stop spray painting occasionally — such as at key junctures — to shake the can of spray paint to keep the paint flowing.
Allow the paint to dry completely and then apply a second coat. Apply a coat of protective spray varnish, if you like.
Things You Will Need
- Drop cloth
- Wire brush
- Old toothbrush
- Low-grit sandpaper
- Mild detergent
- Soft sponge
- Clean cloth
- Plastic gloves
- Spray primer (formulated for iron)
- Spray paint (formulated for iron)
- Consider a matte, or flat, finish spray paint for your cast-iron bed; even a slight sheen may make it look unnatural.