Ornate sconces - after

Ornate sconces - before

I admit these thrift-store plastic sconces look pretty good in the before photo. But trust me, they looked dated and icky on the wall. Plus they’re broken. Luckily the pieces were broken off symmetrically, so you can’t tell after a fresh coat of paint is applied. I’m tickled that the mirror and sconces look like they were MFEO. I love serendipitous finds like that.

How to paint old plastic

Supplies and tools

  • Plastic sconces (or any ornate plastic item that you’d like to paint)
  • newspaper
  • spray paint for plastic (I used Rust-Oleum direct-to-plastic paint in black)
  • old toothbrush
  • vacuum
  • paper towel

1. I started by scrubbing them with a dry toothbrush to loosen caked-on dust. Then I used my vacuum attachment to remove all the loose dust. Finally, I wiped them with a damp paper towel to pick up the remnants.

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2. No need to prime when spraying plastic. Just follow the instructions on the can and start spraying. If you’re painting something as ornate as this, you’ll have to spray from every conceivable angle. Then, just when you think you got every spot, you’ll find another you missed. It took me a few coats to make sure I covered the entire surface.

3. Let dry for at least an hour before moving them and at least overnight before using them.