Our fireplace is kind of a butterface. As in everything looks really good… but her face. (On a side note, I have never once before this post referred to our fireplace as a she. But now I feel like I have to run with it.) We love that she’s a floating fireplace. We love that her bricks go allll the way up to our ceiling. We love that she’s a sizable hefty focal point for the room. But we never really loved her face.
I guess old school brass with intricate cutouts is just not our biggest turn on.
We weren’t sure we wanted to deal with (or spend money on) replacing the brass cover, and to be honest I wasn’t even sure if we could find the right size out there. But I had seen a few tutorials online that suggested painting the face for a quick and easy update. I was intrigued!
I came across several different methods reading through the tutorials. Some people took the whole brass face off first and painted it outside. Some people built a big bubble/tent out of plastic sheeting to keep the spray paint in. Some people just brushed the paint on by hand. We didn’t really feel like doing any of the hard parts (building a bubble, taking the face off, or painting by hand) so we decided to leave it in place, mask off the edges, go to town on it with some spray paint, and hope we didn’t inhale too many fumes.
First we masked off the glass with frog tape and printer paper.
Then I remembered oh yeah, maybe I should sand this a bit. For the record, I’m not sure if sanding made too much difference. I sanded the outside lightly with 220 grit, but I forgot to sand the inside of the doors and I can’t really tell a difference.
Then we protected the brick with more tape, more paper, and some plastic. (Our fireplace stayed this way for a few weeks because we were traveling and got super busy and took a while to finally paint it. It was super not attactive).
We picked up some Rustoleum high-heat matte black spray paint meant for painting the inside of your grill. Gotta play it safe if you plan on actually using your fireplace. If you never light it up, I guess you could paint with whatever you wanted though.
We went with matte black instead of gloss back in the hopes that it would make the intricate cut outs less noticeable by reflecting less light. You can see in the photo below that the cut outs almost disappear when painted.
When we were done with the outside, it was already looking way better. Mochi approved because it was black and had fuzzy edges just like her.
At this point we got super excited because it was looking way better, and we thought we were done. Then we realize dang… it looks great with the doors closed, but as soon as we open them, more brass reveals itself!
We still needed to spray the hinges and top and bottom sliding track as you can see in the photo above- but we also still had to paint the inside of the door frames. Which meant trying to tape off the glass from the inside. It was kind of a pain and required getting our arms tangled at some weird angles but we got her done!
Again, after this point a couple weeks went by. Looking back, this project took way longer than expected because it just kept getting put on the back burner. Eventually the plastic around the fireplace came untaped, but we didn’t bother putting it back up since we were done painting the outside.
Painting the inside required some even more awkward angles than taping did. It helps to have a husband who is willing to stick his head into a fireplace to reach those tricky spots. As Evan spray painted, I held a couple sheets of paper on the outside of the door to block over-spray.
Almost time for the big reveal…
Taking off those last pieces of tape and paper was so satisfying!
Ta-da! No more brassy scrolls! No more scrolly brass! No more brassy brassy scrolly scroll brass! We love it!
We like that it no longer automatically dates the room like it used to. It kinda balances out some of the other black objects in the room. Can’t wait to see how it looks with a fire going this winter!