How to Clean and Paint Black Iron Pipe
If you have been on Pinterest at all looking at DIY projects, you have probably seen shelving made out of black iron pipe. When I cam across the idea, I knew I had to try it for my bedroom-to-dressing room makeover. The project looks so easy, but let me tell you… it seems daunting to get all of the parts together and then realize that you still need to figure out how to clean and paint black iron pipe. My first attempt at cleaning black iron pipe was frustrating and discouraging. I had read online that I could just scrub them down with dish soap, so I hauled a few pieces into my guest bathroom tub and scrubbed away. It hurt my knees and my soul. I scrubbed and scrubbed, but they still were not that clean. Talk about discouraging! Not surprising that the project lost steam and was set aside for a few months. After talking with my dad (and REALLY wanting to get the project done), I decided that I needed to use acetone to clean the pipe and get them ready to spray paint. The process that I used to clean and spray paint iron pipe is below and it wasn’t that bad! I completed the process in two stages (mostly dodging the rain and work schedule), the cleaning stage and the painting stage.
– Cardboard (for cleaning and spraying)
– 1 or 2 Old White T-Shirts (a stole a few from my husband that he didn’t want anymore). Old tees work well because they are mostly lint free.
– LOTS of gloves (or solvent resistant gloves)
– Box Knife
– Sand paper (optional before spray painting… to be honest, I got lazy and skipped this step)
– Spray Paint (I used about 6 cans)
1. Lay out all of the materials and put on your gloves. I just used the nitrile gloves from Costco that I clean with, so I put on three layers. If I would have put on less layers I would have had to watch for the acetone eating through the gloves more than I did.
2. Put a bit of acetone on the t-shirt and wipe down the pipe. The Acetone dries quickly. Move to a clean part of the tee and get more acetone as needed.
3. If there are stickers, I first wiped the pipe down with acetone and then I used a box knife to scrap off the sticker. I used the knife to scrap in a downward motion while rotating the pipe slowly to take the sticker off in little strips.
4. Once the sticker is gone, I wiped down the “sticky” area with Acetone.
Handy Tip! You can tell that all of the sticker is gone when the darker sticky spots are gone. If there are still some dark spots, scrap them again and use the acetone on that area.
4. Keep an eye on your gloves and change out the tope layer as needed.
When you are done, you have clean, beautiful Iron Pipe that is ready to spray paint. You could use sand paper here to smooth out any rough spots, but I was lazy and skipped this part.
1. Use the cardboard to build a little painting box (I used an old box, so I just cut down one side and left the others intact.
2. Lay out the pipe on the cardboard with enough room in between each pipe so that you can get it from all angles.
3. Make sure to follow the directions on the back of the spray paint! Most importantly, shake that can!
4. Even though it is tempting to really coat the pipe with the spray paint, start with a light coat that covers all exposed angles. This way, you won’t have drips or streaks.
5. I only needed two coats to cover the pipe. I would let it sit for about an hour in between the first and second coat. When I flipped for the other sides, I was able to make sure that all parts of the pipe were painted.
This process was made SO much easier with the use of the acetone. The spray painting was a breeze (once it stopped raining long enough to spray outside!). I thought that this was going to be the most difficult part of the project, but once I got into a groove it went really quickly.
For this particular project I wanted the pipe to look a bit industrial, but also chic so I used a Satin Nickel Paint to dress it up a bit (and to match the other metal accents in the room). It went really well with the white shelving that I did on the Shoe Rack and Dressing Room Shelves.
Do you need to clean and paint black iron pipe for a project? Tell me about it!