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Easy porch sconce makeover with spray paint

paint porch sconces: before and after

I was looking for a quick weekend curb appeal project now that spring is upon us, and I came up with the idea to paint porch sconces with spray paint. An afternoon later I completely updated my front porch lighting for less than $10!

Paint porch sconces: a quick makeover

Tackling this porch sconce makeover only required a few hours of my time, a can of spray paint, soap, water, and glass cleaner. It’s definitely turned an eyesore into something that no longer attracts negative attention.

Attempt to not electrocute yourself during this step

Before you can paint porch sconces, you’ll need to cut the breaker so you don’t get electrocuted! This is crucial. Don’t forget, I care about you.

Once the electrical was off (took me 3 tries to find the right breaker… you?), I began disassembling my porch sconces one at a time. These particular sconces were not difficult — there was a single nut holding the bracket against the house. By removing that, I was able to pull the sconce away from the siding.

With the sconce pulled away from the siding, I carefully unwrapped the tape and separated the wiring, being sure to remember which wire connected to what (you might want to label these with colored tape or something so you can reconnect it later without any trouble). Now, as you can see, this light is in desperate need of some TLC.

porch sconce makeover
Porch sconce with wiring disconnected, before I began disassembling it.

Disassemble porch sconce (sorry, Johnny5)

This will be different for everyone, but most of these porch sconces are fairly easy to take apart. If you are having trouble, sometimes a wrench will help you to loosen a rusted part or keep something steady for you. All of my pieces came apart easily by unscrewing the little nubs (see the arrows) and the top and bottom to remove the brackets that hold the glass in place.

paint porch sconces: remove the nubs
I unscrewed all of the nubs (pointed out with teal arrows). Some of them were rusted on, so I used a wrench to loosen them. Others twisted off easily by hand.

Clean up the grime and gunk

The next step of the porch sconce makeover is to give it a good cleaning using soap and water, and shine up the glass.  After you’ve carefully taken the porch sconce apart, get some soapy warm water and just clean up the pieces to get off all the dust and residue. If it’s rusty or chipped, a light sanding to remove debris will give you a better finish.

I took the panes of glass from the sconce and cleaned them with the soapy water as well. After they dried, I hit them with some glass cleaner to shine them up even more.

Finally time to paint porch sconces… or “ode to the spray paint can!”

Once your pieces are clean and dry, lay them out on an old dropcloth or ghetto cardboard (like me). You can see it fully disassembled and ready for paint below.

porch sconce pre-paint
Laying out all of the pieces of the sconce to be spray painted.

Now, on to the fun part of our porch sconce makeover! Get a can of spray paint in whatever color you want, and get ready to paint porch sconces! I used Rust-Oleum Satin Black Enamel Spray Paint, which I had on-hand. They even make cool metallic finishes like hammered copper and brushed nickel, so if you are looking to update an old gold fixture to match other hardware, you can also go this route.

There are a few tricks to consider for getting a good finish when you paint porch sconces:

  • Use primer — this is a great tip, even though I didn’t do it (lazy). You can buy primer in a spray paint can as well, and it will help to give you a nice finish.
  • Use the right type of spray paint  — they make spray paint for metal, glass, plastic, and all sorts of crazy things these days. Use the right kind!
  • Do several light coats and make sure to keep the spray paint can moving. Don’t stop and start spraying while you are covering your sconce, otherwise you will get drips and puddles. We don’t like that.  did about 4-5 coats, for reference.
  • Spray paint handles are cheap and give you better control over the paint– and if you are a messy painter, it will keep you from getting paint all over your hands, arms, legs, hair, nose, etc.

Let it dry completely for a few hours before you put it back together.

Reassemble and Connect Electrical

After you paint porch sconces, slowly and carefully retrace your steps to put the sconce back together. This includes not losing any pieces, reconnecting all of the pieces where they should go, and reattaching the sconce to the electrical panel (make sure the breaker is off, please!!)

And there you have it — a nice afternoon porch sconce makeover to tide you over if you don’t have the budget for new lighting!

porch sconce before
porch sconce – before the makeover
porch sconce after
porch sconce – after the makeover


paint porch sconces: front porch
My front porch! I think the doorbell is next…



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