Do you have a local powder coating professional saved in your contacts? Painter and design aficionado Angela Chrusciaki Blehm does, and her psychedelic home in Gainesville, Georgia, makes a solid case for why everyone should follow suit. Her golden-yellow chandelier, cobalt-blue dining chairs, and cherry-red bed frame are major scene-stealers in their respective rooms, but they didn’t always look so snazzy. Powder coating for the win. “I love the uniform thick coating—it feels professional, I don’t have to worry about nicks and scratches, and I love how easy it is to keep clean. And the intense, shiny color is just so beautiful to me,” says Angela. Here, she shares everything you need to know about the process so you can learn how to powder coat yourself.
You may be curious about colors and outcomes, but it’s all just gibberish if you don’t know what powder coating is. So, let’s start at the beginning. What is powder coating?
Powder coating is a dry finishing process generally used to coat or finish metals. The keyword here is “dry,” and in laymen’s terms, the process could be explained as a non-wet alternative to spray paint. There’s a lot of science behind the powder-coating process, but essentially, dry powder, similar to baking flour, is electrostatically applied to a metal surface, then cured under ultraviolet light or heat.
The application process requires a spray gun that applies an electrostatic charge to the powder, which is then attracted to the metal object that’s being coated. The powder itself is usually based on a polymer resin system—which basically means it hardens through curing—and is combined with leveling agents, pigments, flow modifiers, and other additives.
Though powder coating could be applied, in theory, to any metal, it’s particularly common in the automotive industry, often for car wheels, in household appliances, bicycles, and other hardware.
Powder coating may sound a little complicated, so it begs the question, why should you do it? The simple answer is that powder coating finishes often look better than other alternatives. Only powder coating can give you that high quality, super shiny, uniform wash of color.
Powder coating also means a much more durable finish, something that won’t chip or wear off over time. “The coating is heat-cured, resulting in a final product that is smooth and thick—spray painting doesn’t even compare,” Angela explains. “Powder coating is especially important for metal items used outside because of its durability.”
Even if you’re not a fan of color, let us introduce you to clear coat powder coating. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and you can get a clear powder coating done to add durability and protection to your appliances without vibrancy, if that’s your vibe.
And don’t worry, spray painting isn’t totally out of the picture. “I would still use spray paint for small, non-metal, interior projects,” Angela says. For anything big, that may get a lot of use, powder coating is usually the way to go.
As Angela already said, stick with metal pieces. Other than that, pretty much anything is fair game. “I love to use powder coating to customize new and vintage items alike,” she notes. “Some of my favorite projects are our vintage guest room bed in red, our new aluminum kitchen chairs in blue, a yellow metal chandelier, and sink and shower faucets in neon pink.”
We like to think that with the right preparation and tools, anything is DIY-able. However, be aware that the upfront cost for powder-coating supplies can be high and might not be worth the expense if you’re only looking to finish a few things. Powder coating guns can start at a couple of hundreds of dollars and that doesn’t often cover the cost of other supplies like air compressors, the heat source, or the powder itself.