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Can I Spray Paint A Lightbulb – Dangerous Or Not?

can I spray paint a lightbulb? Yes, you can under the right conditions to add some drama and color to any room as added decor. Many homeowners decide that they want to use neutral colors in a room and then add a pop of bright color on some items to liven up the space. Painting a light bulb is a very inexpensive way to add character to your living spaces and it doesn’t take long to do either.

What Kind Of Spray Paints Can You Use On Lightbulbs?

spray painted lightbulb

Since your light bulb will likely be turned on in a lamp, a ceiling fixture, or any other type of lighting device, you will need to secure the correct type of paint for it because light bulbs do warm up when they are turned on.

You will need to get heat-resistant spray paint for this project.

There is actually a specific high-temperature paint that’s designed especially for lightbulbs which you can find at your local craft stores.

You can use metallic spray paint if you wish, as long as it is water-based and resistant to high temperatures.

Use acrylic paint if it is a non-working lightbulb.

Acrylic paint is not advised for a lightbulb because it releases fumes when the light is turned on in a standard incandescent bulb and it can be a fire hazard and also ruin your light fixture.

If you want to use acrylic paint, it’s best to use an LED light instead, so you can avoid a safety hazard.

Also, note that a clear light bulb will work the best and produce the most vibrant colors, but a white light bulb will produce a softer and mellow color.

Are There Bulbs That You Should Not Spray Paint?

Bulbs that are not recommended for spray painting

If you want to spray paint an incandescent light bulb, make sure that the wattage of the bulb is 60W or less. When the bulb is turned on, the filament inside of a standard light bulb lights up and emits warmth.

With the several layers of paint that you must apply in order to get bright colors, the paint layers act as insulation. Insulation on a light bulb increases the temperature inside the bulb and it will most likely blow up right after you turn the light on to see your handy work.

A blown painted light bulb can short out your lighting fixture and when it explodes the shards of glass from the bulb can embed themselves in your skin or your eyes.

Incandescent lightbulbs made of glass can have a surface temperature of 150 to 250 degrees F, meaning they are too hot to paint on. An LED lightbulb will only heat up from 50 to 85 degrees, so it is much safer to use.

Best Practices When Spray Painting Light Bulbs

Just as all DIY projects dictate, you should have safety precautions in place before you begin. You will need some personal protection gear like safety glasses and gloves for your hands.

These protect you from glass shards if you accidentally break the bulb while attempting to paint it.

You should have a flat surface outside to paint your light bulb, such as an outdoor table. Cover your surface with layers of newspaper or brown kraft paper so that the paint can’t soak through it and stain your table.

Choose a day that is sunny and warm without high winds to paint your project so that the paint doesn’t drift and color other nearby items.

Step By Step Instructions On How To Paint Your Bulbs

  • First and foremost, gather all your materials, including a clear light bulb as mentioned earlier, your can of spray paint, an egg carton, some isopropyl alcohol, paper towels, painter’s tape, scissors and put on your personal protective safety gear.
  • Pour some isopropyl alcohol on a paper towel and wipe the entire glass surface of your bulb with it. This will clean any unseen debris from the bulb and allow your paint to stick to it much better. Let the alcohol evaporate for a few minutes until the surface is totally dry.
  • Wrap about four layers of painter’s tape on the metallic part of the light bulb to protect as well as the end. You are wrapping all areas of the bulb that are not glass to protect them.
  • Tear the lid off an egg carton and turn the bottom of it upside down on your outdoor table. Cut four of the extended areas of the carton with scissors and fold them down. Place your lightbulb lying down on one side in the center of the folded down parts to hold it still while you paint it.
  • Shake the can of paint very well. Start by painting the exposed side of the bulb on the egg carton from about 24 inches away in a sweeping motion. Let the paint dry completely and then turn it over and paint the other side. Apply a second coat to each side of the bulb in the same way.
  • Let your bulb dry completely for 24 hours before you take off the painter’s tape and screw it into your light fixture. If you want brighter results in your bulb, add more layers of spray paint to your project.

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About Lisa Bohrer

Lisa is a native Texan who says she wears many hats. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, animal lover, fisherwoman, gardener, and college student. Lisa is a sophomore at Liberty University where she is taking classes to earn her Associates Degree in Creative Writing. She and her husband of 35 years fill their days with life on the farm raising goats and chickens, and then most evenings she can be found at the computer writing, or researching a topic that has piqued her interest.

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