First you need to remove all of the gunk and crud that has built up over time. The easiest way to do this is to soak everything in the kitchen sink in warm water with TSP. (TSP is trisodium phosphate and is a great degreaser. I bought my carton at Lowe's in the paint section.) Now go watch a movie while the TSP does all of the hard work.
After the movie, take the hardware out of the sink and quickly scrub it to make sure that it is sparkling clean. Then you want to sand everything. I used 220 grit paper and sanded and sanded and sanded. Make sure that you sand the entire surface.
Janet wanted a custom color....something like oil rubbed bronze, but not as dark, with a little tan. The best solution was mixing two different colors of spray paint. To get the color, first spray a light coat of oil rubbed bronze. Then a light coat of saddle tan. Do this 5 times. The end result is a great color.
But before painting, first it is primer time. Spray the hardware with gray primer. Use a piece of styrofoam to stick the screws in so you can paint the heads easier. Also be sure to paint the back-side of the hardware first. This way the visible front side will have the smoothest finish.
After the primer is dry, start spray painting. You can do a single color or a mix of colors...but the key is to spray multiple light coats. These knobs have 5 coats of paint. I'm not going to go in to detail about spray painting. Just keep the coats light, keep your arm moving, and keep the can about 10 inches from what you are painting.
Final step is the clear coat. Pick what ever finish of clear coat that suits your fancy. I used satin on this project. Evenly spray the top coat over the entire surface. Then let the knobs dry and fully cure before installing them.
Here is the sample card and the finished knobs. I'd say that the color is fairly close.
That sums it up. Painting hardware is easy and cheap...and it will stand up to normal wear and tear if you prep the pieces correctly. Have y'all painted any hardware? Any tips that I might have forgotten?
Psst - I will be out most of this week at a work conference. And since I'm the executive chair of the conference and running around fighting fires all day, I don't have time to do projects or write posts.