Our old house had rust in the bathroom sinks where the porcelain had worn away over time. It always bugged me but at the time, we didn’t have the funds to replace them. I decided one day that I was going to paint the sinks with pretty scenery to hide the rust and unfinished areas. It would take some work and I learned a lot in the process that I would do differently in the future so I thought I’d share my idea with you and some tips on how to do it even better if you want to try it out.
First, I got out my acrylic paints. Even though they are water soluble in their wet state, they dry like a plastic-ey layer once fully dried. I also picked up some Kilz primer to seal the rust from spreading through the paint. I already had a five gallon jug of clear floor sealer that I would use as the sealer. I wanted to do a simple painting since it would be difficult painting an unusually shaped surface (compared to a canvas). I chose a sunset with palm trees and little birds flying through the sky. I wanted it to have a jeweled look to it like the sink might have been glazed that color and then a custom painting went in on top of the glaze.
Next, I sanded the sink to get off as much rust as possible and to make the areas smoothed out where the porcelain was gone. I wanted to give myself as smooth of a surface as possible to work with.
**What I would do differently next time: I would have added some waterproof filler in the spots where the porcelain was gone and then sanded that all down to a smooth, even surface. Although the sanding smoothed out the rough edges, I could still see the uneven texture of the sink after all of the painting was done.
I sprayed the sink thoroughly with the Kilz primer in a thin and even coat. I left it to dry for several hours and then went back in and applied a second coat. I waited overnight after the second coat to start the painting.
The next day I went in and started painting. I put on very thin coats for the background, almost a wash of color each time. I started with yellow and then gradually added in some orange, and some reds. After each coat of paint, I would take the blending brush and softly use a dusting motion around the sink to give the background a fine, smoothed appearance. I wanted the sunset colors to bleed into each other naturally like they do in the sky.
I spent several days on the background colors, getting them fine tuned just how I wanted them and leaving a few hours to dry between each coat. I would drip a tiny bit of water on it to make sure it just beaded off to make sure it was dry.
Next, I drew up a plan for the trees and birds, just a quick sketch so I had an idea of what would go where. I chose silhouettes because I love the graphic contrast that a silhouette creates. I wanted it to be bold and also simple. I painted on the trees and birds and left it overnight again to dry completely.
Last, I added the clear floor sealer to seal it. It worked so-so. In hindsight, I would have purchased a waterproof sealer meant for the bathroom. Even though the floor sealer was meant to get wet, it wasn’t meant for continuous wetness like a sink is exposed to.
Overall, I really love how the painting itself came out. It lasted a few months before it started flaking off at the edges. Another thing I think would help is to uninstall the sink to paint it. That would have given me a better opportunity to make the painting just right – being able to turn it around, etc. I think I could have sealed it much better too if I had sealed the edges and over on to the outside a bit since the edges are what started to go first. I did remember to take out the chrome drain as you can see in the photos. That was placed back in after it was completed.
The process was really fun and I loved when guests would come over and get the nice surprise of artwork as they washed their hands. I would definitely do it again in the future with the changes I mentioned.
How about you? Do you have an ugly sink that needs some sprucing up? Would you try this? Leave me a comment!