Little painting trick using vaseline

Long ago i posted about using vaseline (petroleum jelly) as a way to get a chippy paint finish.  It just makes it so the paint doesnt stick to whatever you are painting and then when the paint is dry, you wipe away the vaseline.  Easy enough.

Vaseline can also be used to cover up things that you dont want to get painted.  Such as hardware that you dont want to take off or cant get off!  Hinges, key hole locks, glass, etc.

Lets take this dresser i just finished up for example.  The old key hole locks werent easily removable, too much old gunk and paint made them way too difficult to remove.  My client had already painted them black when he brought me the dresser to paint.

Sweet Pickins Vaseline Trick

Because i wasnt able to remove the locks and didnt want to get paint all over them, i used vaseline to cover the locks and keep the new paint from sticking.

Sweet Pickins Vaseline Trick

All i did was use a small paint brush to paint vaseline over the lock, just make sure and lay it on pretty thick and cover the entire surface.

Sweet Pickins Vaseline Trick

Then, just paint as normal.  I sprayed my paint on so i of course just went right over it.  You can still do this if you are using a brush, just go over it very lightly being careful not to spread the vaseline around too much.

Sweet Pickins Vaseline Trick

After your paint is dry, take a paper towel and wipe over the area that you put the vaseline on.  All the paint will just wipe right off.

Sweet Pickins Vaseline Trick

To get into the little details of this lock, i just took one of my paint gun brushes and scrubbed it a little.

Sweet Pickins Vaseline Trick

Thats it, super easy!!  And much easier than messing with hardware and getting mad that you cant (or dont want to) take off!

Sweet Pickins Vaseline Trick

(I didnt use the vaseline for all the hardware on this dresser, but i could have!)

16 replies
  1. Teresa
    Teresa says:

    Great reminder for using Vaseline! I once tried this on a bed that had porcelain knobs on the posts. At first I tried taping them but that was too tedious. The Vaseline trick worked great!

  2. Erin
    Erin says:

    Thank you for all the detail and fun instruction on how you do what you do! I’m not sure how you do this with kiddos at home, but keep it up! I really enjoy and appreciate your posts, style and detail. :0)

  3. Robert Jordan
    Robert Jordan says:

    My wife’s an artist and when she’s doing a watercolour background and wants to leave a bit blank / white, she uses a product called ‘masking’, same as in ‘masking tape’ but it comes in a bottle. That might be even less messy than the Vaseline… although may not be a cheap.
    Enjoying your advices through Pinterest (Curris Snug).

    • chris
      chris says:

      Robert, I’ve tried this. It worked ok, but not great. It’s as accurate as your ability to paint the metal part.

      For anyone who wants to try it, the product is readily available in the artist supply part of a craft store. I put it on with a small paintbrush, but be sure to clean the brush promptly as it hardens (like rubber) on the bristles.

  4. Kathleen Adams
    Kathleen Adams says:

    Kinda figured I wasn’t the first to think about using vaseline! Only my project is rather large and what I am covering is the gold painted bamboo design on a room divider. I have heen wotkimg on this thing for WEEKS but due to having initially used painters tape, which created more work due to the thick lines of paint I have now had to sand smooth, I had the thought to use vaseline, only rather than vaseline, I got tubes of chapstick (protectant barrier tor lips, I figured it could perhaps be faster to just smear it on from the tubes). I tested a small area by spray painting right over it–vaseline may not hold up as well to spray paint. So far my test area worked perfect using the chapstick so that’s my plan for the rest of it once I get all my lines from the painters tape smooth. The divider is black LACQUER & what a JOB it has been! Especially when some of the cans of spray paint I bought ended up spitting paint out making tiny bubbles in a few places (I am waiting for Rust-o-leums response to my complaint on twitter as I type this. Heheh. Twitter sure gets quick responses as they want to direct you to privately DM them rather than tweet for the world to see! I will report back if I finally get this thing done! No, I am determined to make this thing beautiful again as I have someone waiting to purchase it, so I will make it happen! I have already managed to fill in large chunks that chipped off which is something they say never try to do, but I managed to tind a way for those and you cant even see where they were now. Thanks for posting this so I know I am not too nuts!

  5. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I am painting a canvas with intentionally drippy-looking acrylic and there are spots I want to keep white, so I am going to try this!


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