steel weight plates

How to Paint Weight Plates

If you’re like most of us, when you purchase weight plates and dumbbells you are probably not too concerned with how they look. The weights serve a specific purpose, and that is to get you lifting some serious iron. However, over time they can begin to look pretty grungy and downright ugly. If you want to keep your weights looking fresh and new, then check out these easy steps on how to paint your weights. You’ll be glad you did!

With all the businesses closed or restricting use, many people are unable to use their gym memberships to the fullest. That’s why having your own weights and weight bench is such an advantage.

If you have old weight plates, and they are rusty, paint them. It’s cheap, it takes a little time, but it makes them look like new, and it will keep them from rusting more. Rustoleum 2X gloss black spray paint is a good color and is available at any hardware store.

2-inch Barbell Weight Plates


You don’t want to get any paint on the inside edge of the plate where it fits over the barbell; if you do you’ll end up with some extra friction that will make it harder to take weights off of and put weights on your barbells later. So you have to turn the plates over very carefully when you do the second coat and make sure that none of the paint gets inside where the plate fits over the barbell shaft.

What You Will need:

  • Wire scrub brush
  • White vinegar
  • Rustoleum Enamel Spray Paint
  • 5 gallon bucket or garden hose


Step 1: Choose the Right Paint

Choose a paint that is made for metal surfaces and has a built-in primer, if possible. When you use a paint with built-in primer, you’re cutting down on the number of steps you need to get the job done. This type of paint will also provide better coverage and will adhere better to metal surfaces. You should also choose a weatherproof exterior paint in order to protect your plates from rusting due to moisture or other environmental hazards. Using exterior paint on metal surfaces will also help ensure that the paint lasts longer. Rustoleum is a good brand that resists rusting.

weight plates set

Step 2. Clean the Weights

Get a plastic or rubber pan large enough to hold all of the weights. Pour one cup of white vinegar for every gallon of water into the pan and cover the plates. Soak them for five minutes to loosen the rust.

Use a wire brush and scrub the plates, removing as much rust as you can. If you have an aluminum plate, do not use steel wool to remove rust. Aluminum is damaged by steel wool.

Step 3. Rinse the plates with water and dry them with a towel.

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar. Spray all of the plates, then wipe off as much rust as you can with a rag or paper towels.

Pour one-quarter cup of dish soap into a container of warm water and mix well until bubbles appear on the surface of the water. Dip an old toothbrush into the soapy water and scrub any remaining rust off the plates. Rinse away any soapy residue with clean water and dry with a towel or air-dry overnight if necessary.

Step 4. Find a Well Ventilated Area.

Make sure to plan this project for a day that will be sunny and warm so the paint dries quickly. An overcast or rainy day will cause the plates to dry slower. You will also need a well-ventilated area to work in – like your backyard – along with a mask and some protective gloves.

You need to prime the weight plates before spraying them with color. This provides a good base for the paint. Spray the weight plates with gray primer spray paint and let that dry completely according to the directions on the can of spray paint you bought.

2.5 lb weight plates

Step 5. Spray paint each weight plate from all angles with even thick coatings of paint.

Once they are dry, spray them with Krylon Fusion (color of your choice). After each coat dries, apply another coat until desired coverage is achieved. According to Krylon, you may need up to two or three coats depending on what colors you use.

Step 6. Allow the plates to dry for 24 hours before moving them or using them in any way.

Whether you’re a serious bodybuilder or just looking to get in shape, weight training is an excellent way to build muscle and tone your body. A great set of refurbished weights will help you achieve your goals.

Using spray paint and a bit of elbow grease, you can transform your old rusty weight plates into something that looks new. The process is fairly simple, and the time you spend on it will vary, based on how many weights you’re painting and how much detail you want to add.

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