Quick Fix: Silver Paint Pen for Hardware Touch-ups

For YEARS, I wore no gold. Carried no handbags with goldtone hardwear. Bought no shoes with brass accents. I was religious about wearing silvertone, and silvertone alone. Why? Who the hell knows. I’m a double Capricorn with Taurus rising, so let’s blame it on that.

ANYWAYS. Sometimes I would buy vintage stuff off Etsy that looked silver, but turned out to be faded gold. Sometimes the perfect piece of costume jewelry had one little brass bit that made me twitch with dismay. And eventually I found a solution:

Krylon Silver Leafing Pen
(Also comes in gold, copper, pale gold,
and something called “red shimmer” for all your shimmery red … stuff.)
$3 – $10

A couple of years ago, Lucky recommended these for touching up worn hardware on handbags. The silver paint was a bit bright for most of my hardware, which has aged and grown a bit gray. But it worked perfectly for another project.

Here are a pair brown wedges that I nabbed from eBay. Notice the crappy, slightly rusted brasstone rivets:

Now check out the paint-penned rivets:

SO much better, don’t you think?

This is basically just like the paint pens I played with as a wee lass: You shake them, you press to release the paint into the tip, and you draw. They’re permanent, they’re messy, and if you goof up there’s no going back. So do not retouch your hardware after four glasses of wine, friends. I’ve got a few smudges on these wedges that are never gonna come out, and I hadn’t had so much as a Diet Coke.

I’ve tried using silver nail polish for these purposes and it just becomes a gooey mess. I’m delighted to have found a way to quickly and easily turn gold to silver. Although I’m sure that sounds ass-backwards to many of you …

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

Originally posted 2010-02-14 07:41:00.

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35 Responses to “Quick Fix: Silver Paint Pen for Hardware Touch-ups”

  1. Anonymous


    I'm a silver gal too and I've never heard of this. I'm definitely going to try it. Thanks for the tip.

  2. K.Line

    Wow Sal, you are hardcore! Down to the buttons on the shoes 🙂 Double capricorn with taurus rising. Um, I would not want to get into a fight with you. The silent treatment could last 3 years! 🙂 I'm a triple gemini with taurus rising. That means, essentially, I'm a complete nut. My love of movement and caprice is completely at odds with my love of stability and sensuous delights. I don't know whether I'm coming or going 🙂 I'd forget we were having that fight! (Ha)

  3. Ru

    Sally, I LOVE this. Actually bought one of these for doing the opposite, turning an item into "brass" for a steampunk outfit…but as I also have preferred silver for decades, I will be using this tip where necessary! The shoes look great.

    (I confess that I do a smidge of gold/brass just to mix things up on very rare occasions…and actually just bought a set of crystal jewelry in bronze.)

  4. Rosie Unknown

    I would definitely try this! I will have to pick one up at some point.

  5. Laikabear

    Just found your blog and am enjoying going through the archives…

    I'm with you on the silver vs. gold thing. I think the shoes look fabulous! Good job!

  6. Im Estee

    What an amazing facelift on a great pair of wedges. Fab find may I say.

  7. grace

    I think it's a great idea! I'm also anti-gold and pro-silver, though not quite so strongly as you seem to be. I wonder how it would work on costume jewelry?

  8. Alison

    Awesome find and to fix a pair of shoes for your love of silvertone, is so awesome. I would so give these a try if I had a need for them.

  9. Sal

    K.Line: The question is moot, as we'd never fight anyway. 😉

    grace: You could totally try it … but since you need deadly accuracy, I think it would work better for touch-ups to jewelry. Like a bit of hardware here and there instead of turning an entire necklace silver. But if you have better manual dexterity than me, you could totally make it work!

  10. Bea

    Oh wow! Thanks for the tip! I am going to have to use that for my silver stuff. I am also a silver gal I wear NO GOLD.

  11. Anonymous

    These pens are fantastic, and using them is about as DIY as I could ever be.

    I'm the opposite, of almost everyone it seems. I have a strong presence of gold and own only a few silver pieces, which I rarely wear.

    My husband got me a diamond anniversary band in platinum; it wouldn't show the stones as nicely in gold. I don't think I'd experiment with these pens anyway, on that ring. 😉


  12. Jen

    I've been looking for some way to turn my really shiny bright a.k.a. cheap looking silver jewelry into a slightly darker looking silver. You said these pens were bright silver though, so it doesn't sound like they would work. I wish they had a darker silver one.

  13. Charlotte

    Wow, Sal–a double Capricorn. Good thing you've got that wild & crazy Taurus going for you in your rising sign. 😉 It does explain why you're so thrifty and have such a great eye for clothes.

  14. Ms. B @ Millie Deel

    Wow that a great tip!!! They really do look so much better after that little lift!!

    Happy Valentine's Day darling!!

  15. All Women Stalker

    I do this, too! Haha. Permanent markers on heels with scratches work as well 🙂

  16. The Closet of Kim (ShopKim)

    Holy cow, those shoes are killer! Love them. Cool find on those pens though. It may be hard to use them but it looks like when it's done right, it's a great solution!

  17. lisa

    Great tip! I did something similar myself recently but not with a pen as fancy-sounding as these leafing pens. I picked up a Pilot fine point gold pen to touch up some F21 rings that were beginning to tarnish. After touching up the gold, I put clear nail polish on them. They're a bit brassy compared to the clear shiny gold tone they used to be, but I kind of like that effect–the rings look antique-y now.

  18. Pranita

    Hehehe Sal, i've done this too!! i prefer silver. I've also used a marker (permanent) to colour embroidery that i do not want standing out (like on back pockets of jeans) instead of ripping out threads.

    On the same subject…I have a brown bag with brass hardware. I would like to colour this silver, but was wondering if it would clash with the earthy brown. What do you think?

  19. Anastasia and Duck

    This isn't really about metallics but it is about home trickery… I have found using OPI nail strengthener (cheap from most chemists etc) instead of normal varnish works a treat at filling in chips, pulls, holes etc on patent shoes. Works every time, although it needs to be touched up after about 6 months.


  20. Sal

    Pranita: Hmmm, it's all down to taste, kitten. I love the look of silver – even bright silver – against browns. But brass and brown together do create an earthy harmony. You could try using the paint pen on a paperclip or something else small and metal, hold it up to the bag, and see if it offends your eye …

  21. The Cheap Chick

    You. Are. GENIUS! Thank you so much for this tip – I love thrifted jewelry, but I'm always sad when it quickly fades into a silver/gold mish-mash. Now I can keep my silver silver, and my gold gold and life is just better. Thank you again!

    And since everyone is busting out their signs, I'm an Aquarius.

  22. Anonymous

    well, i have always been a strictly silver-wearing gal, but lately i discovered that gold does indeed suit my super pale skin very well, and i also feel like gold fits my slightly retro-inspired and quirky style much better. i have even reached a point where i need to force myself to wear my once beloved silver treasures at least once in a while.
    so maybe you should give gold a chance, but be careful – there might be a point of no return for you, too :o)

  23. janice

    if you need a wider selection of colors – i use car touch-up paint on hardware. it smells awful, but wider range of colors available, like pewter instead of bright silver. and it holds up very well.

  24. Eyeliah

    such a great idea, maybe report back in a few months with how the held up? 🙂

  25. Elissa

    Dude. Those shoes are awesome and I can't believe it worked out so well!! Excellent DIY!

  26. Peldyn

    Sal, you made me laugh so hard! I have had these pens for awhile. I use them making my pendants and touching up tons of things. BTW, I mix metals. I love to wear gold and silver and will even wear both together. I am a Pisces with Mars ascending. What that has to do with anything I have no idea!

  27. Audi

    Wow, Sal, I knew you preferred silver but I had no idea you were so anti-gold. It would look so pretty with your dark hair, too. Ah well, to each her own. I love the pens though, particularly as a way to touch up marred metals on older items. Great idea!

  28. marci

    I also have this issue. Dislike gold however i do try to mix sometimes gold and silver together but the while time i do my left eye twitches. Came across ur site bc i feel in love with a purse with gold hardware i know i know i cheated but i need it to have silver hardware. Have u tried anything else. I cant mess it up. It is kind of expensive. Impulse buy. Whhops

  29. Rebecca

    I have the same issue. All my really nice jewelry is platinum or silver and I feel like I don’t match or I am betraying my jewelry when I pair it with gold!!!! the main problem I run into is purses. All the nice, good quality leather purses seem to have GOLD hardware……..IT SUCKS. I have been wanting to try to paint the hardware on a few dooney’s and Brahmin brand purses but I don’t want to ruin them. Soooo if anyone else has already tried this and succeeded or tried and failed, please let me know.