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How to Paint a Metal Bed Frame Black (7 Step Guide)

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  • This article was written by Joshua Lewis – an academic writer and keen DIY enthusiast – to ensure maximum factual accuracy and unique content.

Painting your metal bed frame black is an excellent way to make it look sleek and stylish – which is ideal for many types of decors, such as the minimalist bedroom look.

But how do you paint your metal bed frame black to achieve a professional look without spending a lot of money?

To paint your metal bed frame black: choose liquid black enamel paint (avoid spray paint), sand down the frame with smooth sand paper, apply a primer to seal the paint, apply 2-3 layers of the enamel paint, and finish by using a sealer to create a resistant layer.

The rest of this article walks you though the exact details of painting your metal bed frame black in 7 steps.

Related: learn how to design a minimalist bedroom on a budget here.

How to Paint a Metal Bed Frame Black in 7 Steps

My DIY Metal Bed Frame Painting Process

Follow the 7 steps below in order to stylishly paint your metal bed frame black – the bullet points summarize the main action steps, whilst the subheadings provide a more detailed explanation if you require it:

1: Prepare Your Painting Area and Materials

Before you do any actual painting, you need to prepare the project area along with your paint and painting materials by following the steps below:

  • The project area needs to be clean, in an open space, and well ventilated (outside is best), as well as being away from any nearby furniture.
  • The paint – picked especially for metal use – needs to be laid out and organized into trays.
  • Primer and sealer are necessary for achieving a fine, long-lasting finish, and should be poured into separate trays.
  • A drop cloth or newspaper should be placed down to prevent flooring damage and staining.

1.1: Protect Your Furniture and Flooring With Covers

No matter how big the room is, any furniture painting taking place will likely result in some splashed paint.

Make sure that before you paint, the project area is not surrounded by any furniture, clothing, or other items.

Cover the flooring area with newspaper or a drop cloth, or anything big enough to cover the floor that you don’t need.

Make sure to open any windows or doors to allow air to get in, as paint fumes aren’t good for your health (see why sleeping in a freshly painted room is a bad idea here).

If you can, move the bed frame outdoors for better air circulation.

1.2: Avoid Spray Paint – Choose Liquid Enamel Paint Instead

Spray paint does not last for extended periods of time and does not give the best finish, so buy liquid black paint suitable for metal – enamel paint is a popular choice used for metal furniture.

Pour the paint into a paint rolling tray, or if you don’t have this, a spare baking tray will do.

Make sure to get a large and small paintbrush.

Place the trays on a few sheets of newspaper away from any furniture.

Repeat this with your primer (but it’s also worth noting that spray paint primer will work just fine and is easier).

To get an extra safe finish, buy some sealer and repeat this step.

Use a separate tray for each.

2: Prepare the Frame For Painting

Get the bed frame ready for painting by taking it apart into components, before cleaning and sanding.

To do this:

  • Unfasten the frame and take it apart into large pieces – not unscrewing everything – this should leave the frame in a few components.
  • Take a bucket full of hot water and a splash of cleaning fluid, drench your sponge and wipe down each section of the frame.
  • Dry the frame with a dry towel or cloth.
  • Sand down each piece with smooth sandpaper.
  • Remove excess dust with a hoover and/or a dry and then wet cloth.

2.1: Take the Bed Frame Apart in 4 Sections

Unfasten the screws/bolts holding the frame together and take it apart into smaller sections.

Don’t unscrew everything – just enough to take the frame apart into a few components.

Take the frame apart into four sections (the front, back and two sides).

This allows you to reach both sides of each component with ease.

Put the bolts/screws to one side in a container so that you don’t lose them.

2.2: Clean the Frame Ready For Sanding

Mix a tub of hot water with a drop of cleaning fluid.

Drench a sponge with the fluid and squeeze excess water back into the tub.

Wipe down the surface of the frame pieces back and forth to remove excess dust – one piece of the frame at a time.

Soak the sponge regularly to ensure it’s cleaned properly.

Once done, proceed to dry the frame with a dry cloth or towel and leave components to dry.

2.3: Carefully Sand Down the Surface Using Smooth Sandpaper

Once clean, take some smooth sandpaper (above 100 grit) and gently sand down the surface of each frame component.

Do not press too hard.

Sand over any previous paint with slightly more pressure to ensure more paint comes off.

To ensure extra floor protection, place down extra newspaper.

Coarse sandpaper will likely result in scratches – as will rough sanding – so treat sanding delicately.

2.4: Hoover Up the Excess Dust

Once sanded, remove dust from the floor with a hoover and use a hoover attachment to remove dust from the frame.

If you don’t have a hoover attachment, take a dry rag and wipe dust off the frame surface.

Take a wet cloth and wipe down the surface of each component again to remove excess dust.

Leave the pieces to dry once again, or dry with a cloth or towel.

Once done, your frame pieces are ready to be treated.

3: Apply the Primer to Seal the Paint

Using a primer on your frame is necessary to seal the paint onto the surface, meaning it will stay for the long run and will result in a better finish.

To apply the primer:

  • Buy a full-bodied primer that is available as a liquid and that is compatible with the paint being used (in this case, enamel paint) which will most likely be an oil-based primer.
  • Pour the primer into a tray or tub.
  • Take a large brush and place it in the primer, shaking off excess liquid.
  • Evenly apply the primer to one side of a frame component, leave to dry, and repeat for the other side.
  • Repeat this method with a second coat and then with the other frame components.

3.1: Choose a Primer Compatible With Enamel Paint

Primers are mostly oil-based, but pick a primer suitable for dark paint (black in this case) which is compatible with enamel paint.

If you choose a different type of paint, ensure the primer is compatible.

This information will be available on the tin of the primer.

3.2: Prepare the Primer By Pouring it Into a Tray

Pour the primer into a tray.

Take a large brush and gradually dip it into the tray, ensuring you coat it in primer.

Remove excess by shaking the brush or using the tray to remove it from the brush.

If the brush feels rough or stiff, either press it hard into the primer or replace the brush.

A rough brush will result in an uneven coating.

3.3: Apply the Primer Evenly Using a Brush

Apply the brush to the surface of one side of the frame component you are treating.

With gentle strokes, apply the primer evenly across the surface.

Don’t leave any gaps or spaces and ensure the primer is applied all over.

Leave the component to dry for the amount of time that the primer states (this information will be available on the tin).

Once dry, flip over and repeat with the other side of the component.

Wait for this to dry and then add a second coating using the same method, as a second coating ensures enough primer is applied to seal the paint properly.

Repeat this with the other components of the frame which you took apart.

Use a small brush to get the corners or surfaces of a component that a larger brush does not fully coat.

To ensure the primer will definitely work, leave the frame components an extra 15-20 minutes to make sure they have dried.

4: Paint the Bed Frame Using 2 or 3 Layers

Now the primer is applied, the paint can be applied too.

To get the best results, a certain method has to be followed.

To apply the paint to the metal properly:

  • Take a large paintbrush and dip it into the tray of paint, removing the excess by shaking or using the side of the tray to remove it from the brush.
  • Begin with one component by gently applying the brush to the surface.
  • Apply a thin layer lengthways across the frame component – go back and forth to ensure no gaps or spaces are present.
  • Allow the paint to dry and repeat for the other side of the frame component.
  • Once dry, apply another layer.
  • For best results, leave to dry once more and repeat the process again to get a third layer.

4.1: Apply the First Layer Lightly

Take your large brush and dip it into the paint, taking the same approach as with the primer.

A thin layer is needed, so ensure that the brush is not heavy with paint.

Do not put thick layers of paint on, as this could show up as spots on the surface and make it look uneven.

Gently apply the paint evenly across the surface, ensuring that you apply consistent pressure.

Proceed to brush back and forth to ensure no spots or spaces appear.

Depending on the time stated on the tin, allow the first layer to dry.

Make sure to wait slightly longer than the stated drying time, as even a slightly wet first layer will prevent the second and third layers from applying properly and prevent a fine finish.

4.2: Apply a Thin Layer to the Other Side of the Frame

Using the same technique, apply another thin layer to the other side of the treated frame.

Allow the same amount of time to dry.

If spots look wet, leave longer until they look dry.

Make sure the direction of the paint is the same as the previous side because if not, the finish will look unprofessional.

4.3: Apply the Second Layer

Repeat the technique described in 4.1 to apply the second layer, ensuring a thin layer is applied on top of the dried first layer.

Ensuring consistent pressure is maintained on the brush and the direction of the paint is the same as the first layer, as this will look messy if not.

Leave to dry for the recommended amount of time as stated on the tin of the paint, and then repeat for the other side of the frame component, as described in 4.2.

4.4: Apply a Thin Final Layer

The same technique as described in 4.1 can be used to apply the final layer, however, ensure that this layer is not as heavy as the two previous layers.

Whilst they were thin to start with, an additional layer could make for a heavy finish, so delicately apply the third layer evenly.

Leave to dry for the recommended amount of time.

Now the three layers have been applied to one frame component, repeat this with the other components.

The result should be an even, non-patchy finish.

5: Apply Sealer to Create a Resistant Layer

Apply sealer to the dried, painted metal using the same brushing techniques as described for paint layers 1-3.

To apply the sealer:

  • Ensure the paint is dry before use with no wet spots present.
  • Take a small amount of sealer and pour it into a tub or tray, dipping the brush in gently.
  • Remove excess sealer from the brush.
  • Apply the sealer at an even pressure across the length of the frame component surface.
  • Leave to dry for the recommended amount of time.
  • Repeat at least once more.

5.1: Prepare the Sealer By Pouring it Into a Tub

As with the primer and paint, pour sealer into a tub.

Spray paint sealer is available, but it does not provide the same level of protection as liquid sealer does.

To pick your sealer, ensure it is compatible with the type of paint being used (enamel) which should be shown on the tin, but Google it if not (otherwise it could be a waste of money).

5.2: Apply the Sealer Gently

To apply the sealer, treat the process as if you were applying varnish or stain to wood – in other words gently.

Too much sealer will result in a messy finish, so go easy on the amount used.

Take your brush and dip it into the sealer, removing the excess once again.

Apply the sealer in the same direction as the three paint layers.

Do this with one side of the frame component and leave it to dry before repeating with the other side.

Proceed to repeat this technique with the other frame components, and leave all of them to dry.

Apply a second coating if you have plenty left/want additional protection, but for indoor use, one coating should be enough.

6: Put the Frame Back Together When Dry

Now that your frames are primed, painted, and sealed – it’s time to put them back together as follows:

  • Check that the frame components are completely dry.
  • Double check each component for any missed or uneven spots.
  • Re-do spots that are uneven or look badly done.
  • Once everything is dry, reassemble the metal frame.
  • If you can, use a clamp to hold the frame components together.
  • Proceed to screw your frame (in accordance with the instructions for your particular frame) back together and secure it.

6.1: Ensure the Components Are Dry and Evenly Painted

Before putting anything back together, double-check that all your frame components are dry, even, and look good.

If they don’t, take the frame component that looks questionable and re-do the processes discussed above to try and ensure you get a smooth finish.

If you redo some parts, make sure the layers applied are even thinner than previously to avoid heavy layering.

Once done, or if some pieces do not appear dry, either leave for over 2 hours or overnight if you can.

6.2: Put the Bed Frame Back Together Carefully

Now you’re ready to put the bed frame back together.

Take your frame components and arrange them into how it was previously, referring to your instructions.

If you have a clamp, use this to secure the pieces together to make assembly easier.

Take the screws/bolts you put to one side and reassemble the bed frame.

7: Clean the Bedroom Ready For Sleeping

Now you’ve painted your bed frame and put it back together, you need to clean your bedroom ready for sleeping in.

Here’s a quick way of doing so:

  • Remove the drop cloth and/or newspaper from the room, ensuring you don’t spill any of the excess dust/paint onto the floor – place it outside and put it into a bag.
  • Take a hoover and clean the floor, in case any dust has fallen.
  • Before putting the frame back down, hoover under where the frame will be placed.
  • Take the trays of painting material outside and pour any excess back into their respective tins/containers.
  • Bring a large bucket and place the trays into hot water – wash the brushes with a hosepipe or leave them to soak in hot water for an hour.
  • Fill a small container with methylated spirits and place brushes into the container.

7.1: Clean Your Room Thoroughly

Once the sealer is completely dry and the frame has been left for at least 2 hours, remove all the floor covering (newspaper and/or drop cloth) and place them outside.

Take your painting trays and place them outdoors, holding newspaper underneath.

Either lift the bed frame up – or do not place it in position just yet – and first hoover the space that the frame will cover.

Proceed to hoover the rest of the room.

Leave the paper to dry if any spilt paint is still wet, then place it in a plastic bag.

7.2: Clean Your Painting Equipment

Empty any excess paint/sealer/primer back into their respective tins by gently pouring through a funnel (or on its own if the container is wide enough).

If the tin isn’t available, pour the liquid into an airtight container.

Take the empty trays and place them stacked into a container full of hot water.

Leave them overnight.

Take the brushes and either wash them under a tap/hosepipe or leave in hot water for at least an hour.

Proceed to place the brushes into a container with methylated spirits to remove the paint from the brush bristles.

If using enamel or oil-based paint, wash the brushes in either paint thinner or solvent that is applicable to your chosen paint prior to this.

Leave brushes for at least an hour.

Take brushes out, place them on spare newspaper and allow them to dry.

Conclusion: Pay Attention to the Details

Fundamentally, paining a metal bed frame black is very simple: all you are doing is sanding down the old paint and applying the liquid enamel paint over the top – with the application of a primer and a sealant to get the best finish.

However, to get the most professional look, you should pay attention to the details, such as: using a careful sanding technique with smooth sandpaper, applying the primer evenly, and using several light coats of paint.

Let me know how your project goes in the comments section below!


Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Decorative Metal Bed Frame Idea’ by Katarzyna Bialasiewicz (Getty Images) used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.

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