Brushed nickel spray paint on brass
I started with a lamp that had been in the garage for awhile & the base was severely discolored, and some rust even.
I used steel wool on it & removed most of the finish & rough spots, then taped just the electic thingy at the top & the cord. It took about 4 coats to cover the discolorations, but then had a gritty feel to it from so many coats.
I thought "what the heck" and used steel wool on it again & most if not all the rough feel came off. In fact, then it looked just like my brushed nickel hardware. The can said that applying clear coat would dull the finish, and they were serious. I put about 6 coats of polyurethane spray on it, and it now has a mat finish, but to me definitely looks painted.
Then I decided to try one of my bathroom pieces, the toilet paper holder since it is out of sight for the most part, and if it doesn't turn out, it's the piece I would most want replaced. TP hangs on it's curved part.
It had just a few discolored speckles but wasn't too bad. After I got it taped off (the worst part) I took it out to the garage to paint, forgetting that I had used steel wool on the lamp & not these pieces. It only took 2 coats to cover the discolored spots.
After those 2 coats, it's surface was smooth. I put about 3 coats of poly on them, and they also have a mat finish, but look better than the lamp. I don't know if the difference was because the lamp had more coats or if the steel wool made the difference. Then I took the tape off the chrome. I had put the tape as close to the brass part as I could and pushed it down in the crevice with my fingernail. When I took the tape off, I saw that the crevice wasn't painted and the brass showed, so I taped off just the round button part & sprayed another coat.
After untaping, I thought they still had a brassy look, but put them next to my brushed nickel and they are exactly the same color, but not as smooth to the touch as the manufactured stuff. Retaping & repainting made a line on it that needs to be smoothed out with another coat, and I can tell the bottom doesn't have as much paint as the top part, so I'll retape & spray one more coat tomorrow. Then untape & put a coat or two on the whole thing so the chrome will get a little more protection too.
And I also painted the middle roller, not only because it was the brass color (it's plastic) but because one of my little darlings spent some time scratching the paint off & scratching their initials in it.
I don't have a pic of it finished but it looks like the other stuff. I don't think the paint on it will stick long because of the spring movement in it, but maybe the edges will look better than before.
So, after doing this, I don't think it is great for big pieces, but for the little bits of brass trim like I have on my hardware, I think it looks ok. And for the most part, it won't have anything touching it, so hopefully will hold up for awhile. I'll let you know if it doesn't.