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Sleek, shiny, and classic in style, chrome components and accents on a car really stand out on a vehicle. With its brilliant shine, chrome can catch attention and light, adding a little something special to an otherwise average vehicle. Common on classic cars as well as modern motorcycles and even some bicycles, chrome is a detail everyone loves. But there’s one pretty significant drawback to having any chrome on your ride: chrome can look ugly fast. Over time and with wear, once-sparkling chrome can become chipped, scratched, or even peeled. And replacing that chrome can seem like an expensive exterior repair to make.
If you’re looking to add or restore the bright, clean shine of chrome on your vehicle — or even your bicycle — all you need is a can of chrome spray paint. Wondering which brands or products are the best to use? We’ve got a list of the best chrome spray paints right here, along with tips to help you find quality paint that’ll work flawlessly.
Krylon Premium Metallic Original Chrome
This paint produces a smooth, high-quality metallic finish that is both deep and lustrous. It's intended to resemble actual chrome plating, not paint. The paint is acid-free and dries quickly.
- This paint produces a nice, shiny silver finish
- Comes out glossy with a polished metal appearance
- There are no drips or runs, and it provides excellent coverage
- Paint does not produce a mirror-like finish
- Nozzle may splatter or drip
- May not dry as quickly as advertised
- May start peeling off over time
Krylon Short Cuts Aerosol Spray Paint Chrome
This paint is acid-free, dries quickly, and has a high-gloss finish. It's suitable for metal, glass, plastic, and other surfaces. The small can is perfect for smaller projects.
- This paint sprays smoothly and evenly
- Has a good spray pattern and provides nice coverage
- Easy to use and dries fast
- Looks good and is quite shiny
- Color is more bright silver than a true chrome
- Can is small,
- Paint may have a strong odor
- May flake off over time
VHT Quick Coat Silver Chrome Acrylic Enamel Can
This quick coat enamel paint prevents rust and corrosion. It provides extra hide and durability, is lead-free and ozone safe, and creates a weather-resistant gloss finish.
- This paint can be used on fiberglass, plastic, and metal
- Easy to apply and dries fast
- Product goes on smoothly and doesn't leave drip marks behind
- Paint is not as glossy as you’d expect, and the color may not be as advertised
- Spray tip may be hard to press or may fail completely
Benefits of Chrome Spray Paint
- It's a great look. If you want to upgrade the style of your car or motorcycle, chrome finish spray paint is one way to do so. It's glossy and creates a bright silver finish.
- It protects your ride. The best chrome spray paint protects metal surfaces against issues such as scratches and chips. It also helps if you drive your vehicle in inclement weather and drive on salty roads.
- It's a quick, inexpensive fix. Shiny chrome spray paint mimics the look of chrome plating at a fraction of the cost. Electroplating involves a much more complicated process than spray paint, and it’s not cheap.
- It's easy to use. Even if you're a beginner when it comes to working on your motorcycle or vehicle, chrome spray paint is not very hard to use.
- It has fewer toxins. Chrome plating involves electroplating a layer of chromium onto a metal object. Hexavalent chromium is toxic and a carcinogen. Most spray paints are water-based and are considerably less toxic.
- It’s multipurpose. Shiny chrome paint can be used on items besides just your vehicle or motorcycle. You can apply the paint to objects you have around the home that you want to have a chrome finish.
Types of Chrome Spray Paint
Mirror Finish Chrome Spray Paint
Mirror finish chrome spray paint is the most realistic paint you can pick. With an impressively shiny and metallic gloss finish, a layer or two of this paint can mimic the same look as real chrome. These spray paints create a great “wow” factor, and they tend to be reflective like an actual mirror. It’s the right paint to choose if you want an authentic chrome result. Some even come in chip-resistant or highly durable formulas, so your new layers of chrome paint will survive wear and tear on the road, even over many miles or days outdoors.
Metallic Finish Chrome Spray Paint
Metallic finish chrome spray paint — or high-gloss spray paint, as it’s often known — is a less shiny alternative. Metallic finish paint is balanced and isn’t as shiny as chrome finish, but it’s brighter and makes for a better match than matte finish paint. You’ll get a nice, sleek high-gloss finish, but you won’t be able to achieve the mirror shine of traditional chrome. It’s a good option if you need a quick and easy fix but plan to fully replace your chrome components later down the line.
Matte Finish Chrome Spray Paint
An aerosol can of matte finish chrome spray paint is the least common option. This variety doesn't have any shine; instead, it looks more like basic steel than the carefully polished and finished shine chrome offers. They're less eye-catching, but they apply easily, quickly, and dry with minimal downtime. It's also often easier to find and very affordable. Matte finish spray paint is a good option you can use to cover up damaged or worn chrome on a tight budget.
Philadelphia businessman Howard E. Kester began manufacturing Krylon products in 1947. The company was the first and is continues to be the largest supplier of aerosol paints in the world. Two popular products are the Krylon Premium Metallic Original Chrome and Krylon SUPERMAXX All-In-One Spray Paint, Silver Metallic.
Rust-Oleum, based in Vernon Hills, Ill., was founded in 1921 by sea captain Robert Fergusson, who wanted to keep his ship intact. He spent several years creating the world’s first rust-preventative paint. One recommended product is the Rust-Oleum Bright Coat Metallic.
VHT & PlastiKote
VHT (Very High Temperature) is a division of Dupli-Color, the Sherwin-Williams brand. PlastiKote is part of the Valspar Corp., which is also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sherwin-Williams. Sherwin-Williams, based in Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1866 and has been a leader in paints and coatings for 150 years. Top products include the VHT Quick Coat Silver Chrome Acrylic Enamel Can and PlastiKote General Purpose Metallic Silver Premium Enamel.
Chrome Spray Paint Pricing
- Under $5: If you’re on a budget, you can find a chrome spray paint that’ll cost $5 or less—some are even as low as $3. You’ll get a smaller can of paint or lower-quality paint, but you can still achieve a great-looking result without spending much.
- $5 to $10: You’ll find an array of different kinds of chrome spray paint priced at just $5 to $10. Both metallic, high-gloss finishes and mirror finishes are available at these affordable prices; the quality of the paint will vary, though.
- $15 and up: If you’re searching for the most realistic-looking chrome spray paint, you’ll want to shop within this price range. The highest-quality mirror finish spray paints are more expensive, but they look incredible when applied.
Bright chrome paint varies by brand and may necessitate several coats to achieve the look you desire. There are many paint variations and a little experimentation is recommended. Each brand of chrome metallic spray paint is different. To achieve the look you want, pay close attention to the color on the cap of the spray can.
Type of Surface
Polished chrome spray paint won't necessarily work on all types of surfaces. For example, the best chrome spray paint for metal may not adhere as well as the best chrome spray paint for plastic. The paint product needs to be compatible with the object you're painting, or you won't get a polished finished look that lasts.
Paint that looks like chrome comes in different finishes to produce different looks. Some brands offer a nice, smooth finish that goes on easily. Some have a high-gloss finish that makes whatever you're painting look really shiny. Again, be sure to reference the paint cap to get the look you desire.
Spray paint can be a quick, temporary fix or a long-lasting solution to unattractive, dulling, or damaged chrome. But it all depends on how durable the paint you use is. So, you’ll want to look for a chrome spray paint that offers increased hardness and durability. Features like chip resistance, UV resistance, and mildew resistance can all make your spray paint last longer and look flawless over many miles. Paints that include a primer or an extra layer of protection so you can apply multiple layers in every coat can also offer better durability.
- Ease of Use. Some chrome color spray paint is easier to apply than others. You may need a bit of patience with some brands, which take a lot of time to properly apply. Typically it takes more than one coat of paint to get the job done right, so read the directions carefully in advance.
- Drying Time. Some products take longer to dry than others, which leaves them more vulnerable to being tainted during the process. Drying time is less troublesome if you are painting inside a closed space such as a garage. But if you're outside, you want a quicker drying time so particles are less likely to make blemishes on the surface.
- Can Size. A single can of silver chrome spray paint is not intended for a very large paint job. If you are painting an entire bumper, you may require several cans of paint. If you're simply touching up a smaller area, you won't need a very large can. However, it's better to have too much than not enough.
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- When applying chrome spray paint, make sure it's not too humid and the temperature is between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations to get the best result.
- Before applying the paint, prepare the surface area by cleaning it off with a moist rag. After it dries, wash it with soap and hot water. If possible, wet sand the surface area and polish it.
- Make sure to work in a well-ventilated space to dissipate the fumes. We recommend wearing a mask or respirator to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. Long sleeves and gloves will also protect your skin and prevent possible irritation.
- It's essential that you wear eye protection when applying either interior or exterior chrome spray paint. Goggles are the best option for guarding against the corrosive elements of aerosol paint.
- Apply a primer before using shiny chrome spray paint. Primer comes in a can or you can use a spray gun. Apply a thin layer, and sand it lightly. Black primer tends to produce a brighter finish.
- When applying the paint, hold the can about 10 inches away from the surface area. Start from the top and work down, using a back and forth sweeping motion in straight lines.
- Check the instructions to determine how long you need to wait between coats. It's generally two or more hours. Gently wipe down the surface between coats with a clean and dry microfiber towel.
- For added protection, apply a clear coat over the chrome paint. Make sure to apply a smooth and thin layer. This added step will greatly improve the durability of your chrome paint.
- If possible, clean the areas covered with chrome paint using distilled water. Regular tap water may turn the paint brown because the paint can have an adverse reaction to certain minerals in the water.
Q: Does chrome spray paint work?
Most chrome spray paints don't deliver a true chrome finish with a mirror-like reflection. They typically produce a bright and shiny silver color.
Q: Can I use chrome spray paint on my exhaust?
If you plan on painting something such as your exhaust, you will need special paint intended for high temperatures. Otherwise, general chrome paint may just melt off.
Q: How many coats of chrome spray paint do I need to use?
It may take several coats of chrome spray paint to cover a surface evenly. Plus, as we noted previously, you need to prep the surface area with a primer and may need a clear coat as well.
Q: How long does chrome spray paint last?
The lifespan of any chrome spray paint depends on a few factors. The kind of paint you choose matters—some offer better resistance to chipping, cracking, UV rays, and mildew, while others may not. Additionally, if your car is left outdoors uncovered, you may see a shorter lifespan. You can estimate that you’ll get about a year of flawless coverage from spray paint; it’ll then develop signs of wear.
Q: How do you seal chrome spray paint?
After you apply one or two coats of chrome spray paint, you’ll want to top it off with a layer of protective clear coat. This will enhance the shiny result and offer the protection you need to keep the paint well-maintained for miles of driving or days of outdoor exposure.
Our pick for the best chrome spray paint is the Krylon Premium Metallic Original Chrome. It dries quickly, goes on smoothly, and produces a shiny and glossy silver finish. It doesn't drip or run, and it provides excellent coverage. For a less expensive option, consider the Krylon Short Cuts Aerosol Spray Paint Chrome.
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