How to Paint Zippers, Buttons, Hardware, and Accessories
Get ready to learn how easy it is to paint zippers!
I want it how I want it
If you know me AT ALL, you know I want it how I want it, and I will go to great lengths to change things so they are the way I want. This is me at a restaurant. Or anywhere I go:
Sometimes I find things that are almost perfect, and if the detail I don't like is something I can change, I will buy it. One of my number one peeves? Gold hardware on clothes and jewelry. Gold is great for a lot of people; it's not great for me. I only like silver. The shinier the better.
A couple of years ago I learned how to paint zippers and hardware on my clothes, small pieces of jewelry, and sometimes accents on shoes. I made a video to show you exactly how I did it, and below I put together a Q&A about it.
Q&A - HOw to paint zippers, buttons, snaps, hardware, and more
What do you use to paint zippers, etc.?
I use Essie No Place Like Chrome nail polish. I've tried lots of other brands, but haven't found one I like better that gives such a good effect.
What else do I need?
Painter's tape, acetone (to thin out the polish if it gets thick), and the nail polish.
How long does it take?
It depends on the item. A small shoulder zipper takes 5-10 minutes. I did a jacket that had a zipper, and tons of buttons and snaps that took 3 hours. #worthit I turned on a movie to entertain me while I painted.
What have you painted?
Zippers, buttons (I hate sewing on buttons, I'd rather paint the old ones), snaps, earrings. I did a necklace that turned out well, but it's really hard to do the chain, and where the polish portions touched the back of my neck made me really itchy when I wore it. Painting the front of a pair of stud earrings takes 30 seconds, and it doesn't touch my skin.
What won't you paint?
Buckles or anything that gets a lot of friction. I rarely zip my jackets, so those don't get any action, really. I also won't paint anything super expensive, unless I already own it, really love it, and don't want to sell it. But I won't buy something really expensive with the intention of painting hardware. I don't paint hardware on a handbag. Those zippers get a lot of use. The rest of the hardware on a handbag tends to be rounded, tucked under leather, and would be really hard to get to the whole thing. If the bag has a lot of gold hardware, I keep looking. If it has a little that isn't noticeable, I can ignore it. Also, bags tend to be something I spend more on, so no for that reason as well.
Have you ruined anything?
How do you get it perfect?
I don't. But you can't see the imperfections without really inspecting it very up close. No one is getting that up close and personal with my zippers. The overall effect is just a shiny silver zipper.
What are your best tips?
- Use thin, light layers.
- Make sure the polish is thin and not gooey or goopy. If it is, thin it out with acetone.
- Start on something you are ready to get rid of and do a practice run before you work on something you love.
- Accept that it won't be perfect, and no one else will know it but you.
Does the polish come off in the wash?
I haven't had that problem.
Why do you keep buying things with gold zippers if you don't like gold?
Because otherwise the item is exactly what I want. The color, the cut, the fit, the style all might be just right, but the gold zippers keep it from being a ten out of ten. If all I have to do is paint a zipper or some buttons, I'm willing to do that.
Can we see some other things you've painted?
Here's a before and after. This jacket is one I did recently. Doesn't it look so much better with silver hardware? The color of the jacket is more accurate in the first picture. It's a true Kelly green, and that dull brass hardware looks so wrong with it. The silver hardware looks perfect with this hue, and now it won't clash with my jewelry.
Swiping on a layer of nail polish took about 30 seconds, and these earrings went from dull and brassy to shiny silver.
Do you have any additional questions I didn't answer about how to paint zippers? Leave them in the comments section down below!
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