I'm trying to paint an old gray photo frame to be black, for a new photograph.

Do I need to sand it before painting? The previous paint is in good condition and isn't peeling. Can I just paint over?

1 Answer 1


You should give the old paint a light sand to provide a “key” so the new paint will cover well. a fine grade sandpaper is all that is needed.

A light sand is just enough to see gentle scratch marks in the surface and not heavy enough to go through into the layer beneath.

If you don’t then when you put the new paint on it may not cover easily or when it dries it can chip or peel off.

  • 1
    If the frame is textured and/or has decorative "carving" in it (most likely molded in, not actually carved out), some fine steel wool (0 grade should be sufficient) will help rough up around all the little details where sand paper won't reach. You can use the steel wool on the whole thing in that case. You could even use your kitchen sink steel wool pad, though if it's a brand with some built in soap (or has soap scum/grease/other food waste in it - I'm not judging) you'll end up leaving some on your frame - use a fresh one.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 22, 2020 at 14:31

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