DIY: Upgrade Your Cheap Metal Jewelry

DIY: Upgrade Your Cheap Metal Jewelry

I’m a fan of jewelry. I especially love the ones from stores like J.Crew, Madewell and Free People, but sadly I do not have the budget to buy all the ones I want. So I turn to Forever 21 or H&M for similar items. Sometimes I think it’s better to buy the cheap jewelry because I don’t have to worry if I accidentally lose it or break it. It was just a few bucks and didn’t make a big dent in my budget.

However the downfall of the cheap jewelry is how easily they tarnish and can leave my fingers or wrists or whatever body part it comes in contact to green. And the design may look nice, but the metal usually has a cheap sheen.

I’ve seen people recommend using clear nail polish to paint the rings to prevent tarnishing and the unfortunate green skin, but I have necklaces and other jewelry that I want to protect as well and it would take far too long to paint them with a little nail polish brush. I also don’t have the time to sit painting each and every piece of cheap jewelry I own.

I like to pretend that my jewelry is of nicer quality than that so I’ve come up with an easy way to upgrade them quickly and easily.


Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Gloss Spray Paint – To keep your jewelry from tarnishing and leaving you green

Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Matte Spray Paint – To upgrade your too shiny jewelry to a luxe-looking one


Clear spray paint

DIY: Upgrade Your Cheap Metal Jewelry

Do this outside because the odor can be very strong.

Clean then lay out your jewelry that you want to coat with the paint. Shake the can and give the jewelry a good spray.

I’ve done this on necklaces and rings only so far and found that the chains and any moving parts will get a little stiff from the paint, but if you bend and work the chains it will quickly go back to normal.

Allow it to dry then flip the items over to spray the other side.

Matte spray paint

Clean and wipe down your jewelry. Make sure there aren’t any finger prints or oils on the jewelry because the matte paint will  not adhere correctly. When you spray the jewelry is it important you make even passes back and forth. Do not concentrate in one area longer than the other, the matte paint will focus there and be made obvious once it dries.

This necklace was the first piece I tested the matte spray on and I made all the mistakes I warned you of earlier.

DIY: Upgrade Your Cheap Metal Jewelry

Here’s close up. On the left I accidentally sprayed too much paint in one area and on the right you should be able to make out my finger print.

DIY: Upgrade Your Cheap Metal Jewelry

This is before and after of a necklace once I got the hang of spraying the paint correctly. I had forgotten to take a “before” picture of the front of the necklace so this a shot of the back of the necklace, it was the same type of shiny sheen as the front.


DIY: Upgrade Your Cheap Metal Jewelry


DIY: Upgrade Your Cheap Metal Jewelry

For both sprays make sure to not do this directly under the sun and do not let it dry in the direct sun. The heat will make the acrylic paint crinkle and crackle while it is drying. Also, make sure to give the jewelry ample time to dry and air out. The smell from the paints will last long after the pieces dry, so be patient and let them air out before you wear them.

Have you done this before? Did I miss any tips or tricks that will make this even easier? Let me know in the comments below.


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    • Hi Brian, I’m spraying the entire jewelry. I haven’t tried only spraying sections of jewelry yet, but I suggest using masking or painters’ tape to cover the sections you don’t want painted. I hope this helps and please let me know how it works out!

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  3. Lord knows I needed this! I love me some costume jewellery lol.
    How long does the jewellery piece last without tarnishing after using krylon?

    • Hi Bea! It usually depends on what type of jewelry and how much wear and tear they go through. The protective coating lasted anywhere from half a year to a year for rings and bracelets I wore frequently. While necklaces I did back in 2014 haven’t needed a refresh of the coating at all. Hope this helps!