Tips on Painting Spindles

By Cheryl Torrie ; Updated September 15, 2017
Vibrant colored stair spindles add character to a dull staircase.

Painting spindles may seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. Painting your furniture spindles, hand rail spindles or deck railing spindles a vibrant contrasting color can brighten the entire room, hall or deck. With a few tips on painting wood or metal, your spindles can become a charming part of your home's color scheme.

Tips on Painting Unfinished Wooden Spindles

Smooth, clean and dry unfinished wood spindles before applying paint. Dampen your unfinished spindles with a damp cloth to expose the grain pattern. Sand any rough spots on the spindles with medium coarse steel wool or No. 1 sandpaper before smoothing them with 00 sandpaper. Sand against the grain first and then with the grain. Remove any sanding dust with a tack cloth and allow the spindles to dry. Screw an eye bolt into the bottom of the spindles and hang them on a clothesline. Apply a coat or two of white shellac with a soft, flat bristle brush to seal the wood and prevent sap from discoloring the paint. Apply a coat of satin, matte or gloss enamel paint just as it comes from the can, without thinning it. Smooth any runs immediately with a dry paintbrush. Allow the enamel to dry for 48 hours before applying a second coat.

Tips on Painting Previously Finished or Painted Wooden Spindles

Smooth, clean and dry wooden spindles before applying paint. Cut paper plates to fit around the base of your spindles. Place the paper plates around the spindle bases. Use a disposable brush to apply a stripper formulated for the paint or stain product on your spindles. Put on chemical safe rubber gloves and remove the stripper after the paint or stain product bubbles. Use a small scraper to remove the stripper from the spindle grooves and swirls. Allow the spindles to dry. Sand any rough spots on the spindles with medium coarse steel wool or No. 1 sandpaper before smoothing them with 00 sandpaper. Sand against the grain first and then with the grain. Remove any sanding dust with a tack cloth. Apply a coat of satin, matte or gloss enamel paint with a soft, flat bristle brush. Immediately smooth any runs with a dry paintbrush. Allow the enamel to dry for 48 hours before applying a second coat.

Tips on Painting Metal Spindles

Innovations in paints and primers make it possible for homeowners to paint metal spindles. They must be free from rust and any other contaminants to accept paint. Protect the areas around the spindles from strippers and paint with a tarp. Cut paper plates to fit around the base of your metal spindles. Place the paper plates around the spindle bases. Clean any rust off the spindles with steel scrapers, wire brushes, and dry scrubbing brushes. Smooth the metal spindles with 100-grit aluminum oxide sandpaper. Clean the spindle surfaces with soap and water. Rinse the spindles with a water dampened cloth. Choose a metal primer and paint from the same paint manufacturer. A filling primer will smooth any surface flaws created by removing rust. Follow the paint manufacturer's application and drying instructions. Apply two or three coats of metal paint to the spindles with a disposable paintbrush.

About the Author

Based in Covington, Tenn., Cheryl Torrie has been writing how-to articles since 2008. Her articles appear on eHow. Torrie received a certificate in travel and tourism from South Eastern Academy and is enrolled in a computer information systems program at Tennessee Technology Center at Covington.