Touching up the chrome on your car or motorcycle is not hard to do with chrome spray paint. You can complete the project yourself, and the paint is typically not very expensive. As long as you take some sensible precautions and prepare the surface properly, you will get a seamless finish that will last and look great. You can even use the paint for other tasks around the home.
Some paints need several coats, and there is a lot of variation between the actual chrome color that you achieve. The color of the cap is a good indicator and worth looking at carefully because not all chrome paints are the same. They are usually touch dry within a few hours, and spray cans are very easy to use – even for a complete beginner. To help you decide on the best chrome paint for your particular job, here is our comprehensive guide.
Best Chrome Spray Paint
Here’s a multi-purpose and versatile acrylic paint spray that you can use on many surfaces, including interior metal and wood as well as concrete and masonry. It gives a high-quality shiny metallic finish. This paint is resistant to chips and retains its color, so your work carries on looking its best.
Once it is applied, it is touch dry within 60 minutes to give a finish that is tough and looks great. You can use it for accent painting on lamps or planters or for bicycles – it is resistant to fading. It couldn’t be easier to apply thanks to the wide finger pad. This stops your finger getting tired when you are spraying. Thanks to the any-angle spray, you can spray in any direction including upside-down for hard to reach areas.
- Versatile acrylic paint spray
- Touch-dry within 60 minutes
- Resistant to fading
- Any-angle spray
- Brand Rust-Oleum
- Model 7718830
- Weight 14.4 ounces
Gives a very shiny surface
Looks just like metal
Easy to apply
Cannot be used on clear enamel
Takes 24 hours to dry fully
This is a quick-drying enamel paint that is suitable for all sorts of applications, including craft foam. The three ounce can of chrome paint is made in America.
It goes on smoothly to give an elegant finish that has a high-gloss appearance and is very durable. It’s ideal for small automotive and bicycle projects because it is suitable for many metals as well as wood and ceramic.
- Suitable for many metals
- High-gloss appearance
- Durable and fast-drying
- Brand Krylon
- Model KSCS032
- Weight 4.8 ounces
Great for small marks
Dries very quickly
Useful for motorcycle rims
Not enough for larger jobs
May be a problem with color matching
This is a very attractive Rose Chrome paint that is made in the US and fully conforms with the standards of ASTM D4236. It’s a water-based paint that is non-toxic and produces a high-quality glitter finish.
It’s available in several colors and comes as a two-ounce spray bottle. This chrome paint is just right for all types of metal as well as glass and wood. You can even use it on fabric.
- Two-ounce spray bottle for small jobs
- Available in several colors
- Water-based and non-toxic
- Brand Martha Stewart Crafts
- Model MS329M-32995
- Weight 0.8 ounces
Small quantity but covers a lot
Very attractive sheen
Deep color finish
Some customers found the finish was not very metallic
May need several coats
A very high-quality chrome metallic paint that can be used on all types of metal and on other materials such as plastic and wicker. It is very easy to apply and dries to the touch in around 10 minutes. It is dry enough to handle within two hours.
You will get a lustrous finish that is deep enough to look just like actual chrome plate. It has a smooth appearance that is also high-gloss. It comes in an eight-ounce bottle and is an acid-free product.
- Can be used on all types of metal
- Very easy to apply
- Touch dry in 10 minutes
- Brand Krylon
- Model K01010A07
- Weight 10.7 ounces
Finish is very shiny
Doesn’t drip or run
Can be used indoors and outdoors
May need two coats
Sprays the surrounding area so protection will be needed
This is an acrylic enamel paint in chrome that provides excellent coverage and is very durable. It will not just look good, it will also help to prevent corrosion on prepared metallic surfaces.
It is a safe product that is free from lead and does not damage the ozone. It dries very quickly with a high-quality finish. It is weather resistant and hard wearing. You can use this paint on metal surfaces as well as sealed plaster and masonry. You can also use it on wood. A great product for household and automotive projects. It dries to the touch in 30 minutes and it will be completely dry overnight.
- Acrylic enamel paint
- Free from lead
- Weather resistant and hard wearing
- Brand VHT
- Model SP525
- Weight 15.5 ounces
Excellent for tail lights
Quick to use
Useful for many surfaces
Spray tip is hard to press
Preparation is needed
This product is a 12-ounce bottle of chrome metallic paint in a spray can that is made in the US. It dries very fast and can be used on indoor and outdoor projects.
This is a great choice for coating all types of metal but will also work well on wood and plastic. Because it uses 360-degree technology, you can use the spray at all angles and get at surfaces that are hard to reach.
- 12-ounce bottle
- For use on all types of metal
- Sprays in all directions
- Brand General Paint & Manufacturing
- Model 329276GPM
- Weight 1.32 pounds
Dries very quickly
Gives a very smooth finish
Larger can than some other spray paints
Several coats may be needed for some projects
Not as metallic as color on the can
What Is Chrome Paint?
Many of the shiny decorative items on cars are referred to as ‘chrome’ and this is often steel that has had several plating processes applied to it. Not only does it look great, but it helps the metal to withstand the rigors of temperature changes and everything that the weather can throw at it. There are several different ways of applying chrome but triple plating is the most expensive and the most durable. It is quite complicated and involves plating the metal with copper, followed by nickel and finally applying the chromium plating. The process is called electroplating.
When chrome gets damaged, or when you want a chrome effect without the hassle of electroplating, one option is to use a chrome paint. This is basically a liquid with thin metal flakes in it that is designed to imitate the effect of chrome plating without the hassle and the expense. The best way to get a shiny and smooth surface that looks like chrome-plating is to apply the paint with a spray. Spray chrome paints are available in cans of several sizes and can be applied at all angles – often this includes upside down. They can give a very high-quality finish but you do have to carry out thorough preparation work to get the best results.
What to Consider When Buying Chrome Spray Paint?
If you have decided that you are going to get some chrome spray, here are a few things that you should consider.
Don’t assume that all chrome paints will come out the same color. There is actually a huge variation. Just because it says chrome on the label does not mean that it will exactly match the chrome on your car. The cap color is a better indication of what it will look like but even that is not totally accurate.
- Size of the can
Spray chrome paints are not designed for large paint jobs but you still have a choice over the quantity that you buy. You need enough paint to complete the job so look at the coverage. Get a small can if you are just touching up a small area but you will need a bigger can if you are doing a whole bumper. It’s better to have some left over than to run out half way through the job.
- How to apply
There is no such thing as a paint that you just pick up and spray on but some are easier and quicker to apply than others. There are some spray chrome paints that are very time-consuming to apply and you may not have the patience to apply them. You must be prepared to carry out at least one further coat after the initial coat. This will influence the size of can that you buy too!
- Time to dry
The paints that take a long time to dry are more likely to get tainted and get something stuck to them. This is a particular problem if you are spraying outside. A quick drying paint is always the best chrome spray paint.
- Amount of preparation
The amount of preparation required should be indicated on the can. You need to balance this with the amount of time you have and the amount of work you are prepared to put in.
- Surface that needs covering
Not all chrome spray paints will adhere to all surfaces so make sure that yours is compatible with the surface that you need it for.
- Style of finish
If you want the paint to go on smooth, make sure that the description says that it does this! There is also a great variation in the glossiness of the finish so look at the cap and check out the reviews.
Why You Should Use Chrome Spray Paints?
There are a few compelling reasons why you should use a chrome spray paint. Here are a few of the main ones.
- It looks so good. It is hard to beat the glossy appearance of chrome paint that looks like a mirror and makes the chrome surfaces of your car or motorcycle look like new.
- It’s tough. A good paint job completed using chrome spray paint affords protection to metal surfaces that will withstand scratches and chips. It does not break easily and so will withstand weather damage and salt damage.
- You can use it yourself. Chrome-plating is a complicated process that requires special equipment and expertise. Spray paint, however, can be applied by anyone. It is a job that can be tackled by complete beginners and is popular with all DIYers.
- It’s versatile. You don’t just use chrome spray paint on metal, you can also use it on loads of other surfaces including glass, plastic, wood and even foam. Chrome paint for plastic is useful for many automotive applications.
- It’s cheap. This is a much cheaper method of achieving a chrome -effect than chrome plating yet you still get an excellent finish. Buying a chrome spray paint for metal is a lot cheaper than the real chrome-plating process.
- It is kind to the environment. Chromium is harmful and toxic but chrome spray paints are often water-based and contain fewer toxins.
How To Apply Chrome Spray Paint?
Your first task is to choose a suitable location for carrying out the project. It obviously needs to be somewhere that you can fit your car or motorcycle. The job needs to be carried out somewhere that the humidity is less than 50% percent and the temperature is between 70 and 100 degrees F. Check if the exact application conditions are indicated on the can of chrome paint.
Start by removing all the dirt and rust with a warm and moist towel by wiping in circles. Do it carefully to avoid scratches and let the surface air dry. Then wash it with a solution of detergent in hot water. Alternatively, you can wet sand the surface and polish it. You need to get down to the bare metal for the best results.
Once the whole area is clean and dry, you will need to apply the primer. This gives you a smooth surface to which you can apply the paint. A primer can be applied with a spray gun or you could buy a primer in a spray can. Don’t make the layer too thick. Once it has dried, sand it lightly and wipe it again. To get a very bright finish, a black primer is best. Make sure that the base coat is glossy and is solvent resistant.
Now you are ready to start spraying the chrome paint. Always follow the instructions given on the can. Typically, you will be starting at the top of the area and working downwards to get the best effect and to prevent droplets of paint forming.
Spray cans are usually held 10 inches away from the surface that is being sprayed. The best technique is to work back and for in straight lines so that you produce straight and even lines of paint.
Be prepared to have to apply many layers of chrome spray paint to get the effect that you are looking for. Make sure that every part is covered – this may require you to turn the can at many angles and even to turn it upside down. The can will tell you how long you have to wait before you can apply another coat. Often it is around two hours but it may be longer. After every coat, you will need to wipe down the surface before applying another but always do this gently. Don’t apply any pressure and only ever use a completely clean and dry microfiber towel.
If you are in a hurry and you have access to compressed air, this will significantly reduce the drying time. However, you need to be absolutely sure that the air does not have any dust or dirt in it or you will have to start all over again!
As you apply more coats, the background color becomes less visible. It is a personal choice about how glossy you want it to be.
Having gone to all the effort of applying chrome paint, you may want to protect it. To keep the surface flawless, you could add further protection with a layer of clear coat but it needs to be both smooth and thin. Always keep the whole area clean and dry or water spots can form on the chrome finish and ruin the appearance.
Finally, when it comes time to wash your car, try to clean the chrome paint with distilled water. You may find that tap water reacts with the paint and makes it brown. This is because it contains certain reactive minerals.
- Protecting your safety
Whilst using spray chrome paint is a job that most DIYers can tackle, that does not mean that it is without hazards. It is true that the paint is not as volatile as actual chromium but it can be harmful if you don’t take a few basic precautions. All paints give off some type of fumes and these can cause health problems. They can trigger allergies and can irritate the body so they can cause coughs and asthma attacks. Some can even affect the nervous system.
To protect your respiratory system, it is vital that you only apply the paint in a well-ventilated space. This will prevent toxic fumes from building up to levels that could cause health issues. You may also need to wear a respirator mask that is capable of filtering out harmful particles. The best masks cover the whole face and offer the best protection. You will need to regularly replace the filters or the filter cartridges.
Skin protection is also important. The spray will not just land on the surface of the car, it could also land on you. Therefore, a full protective suit with long sleeves is the best option. If the spray paint comes into contact with your skin, it could irritate it and cause long-term health issues. Rubber gloves are needed to protect your hands.
When using any sort of spray paint, it is essential that you protect your eyes because the chemicals can be highly corrosive and can cause serious damage to the delicate eye membranes. The fine particles in chrome spray can be especially dangerous. Goggles with a flexible rubber band are best and will be the most comfortable. It’s always sensible to have a first aid kit available just in case you need it.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick of the best chrome spray paint is a versatile acrylic paint spray for metals and wood as well as concrete and masonry. You’ll get a high-quality shiny metallic finish that is resistant to chips and retains its color.
Once it is applied, it is touch-dry within 60 minutes and is resistant to fading. It’s very easy to apply thanks to the wide finger pad. You can spray it at any-angle including upside-down for hard to reach areas.