Updating a curtain hardware: from cheap aluminum to custom-finished antique gold.

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Refinishing a curtain hardware with Rub n Buff

My curtain hardware came from IKEA, and mostly it works pretty well. When I was planning the curtains, I didn’t worry too much about how the hardware would look because I designed the curtains to go above the curtain rod and hide it. Except, reality check, when the curtain’s open, the curtain rod and some of the hardware shows. Not a lot, but enough to bug me. I had these lovely curtains that I spent a lot of time making, and all I could see was the cheap aluminum of the curtain rod. Plus, our mid-century family room is warm colors, and the silver tone just didn’t go.


Last Halloween, we went steampunk (yes, this does relate, stay with me). The costume were so much fun to make. In researching how to make metallic parts, we learned about Rub n Buff. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to use. It’s a wax-based paint that you rub on with a rag, then you rub some more with the same rag, and it gets all shiny and beautiful. It’s great for showing texture because it tends to stay out of the cracks. One of the videos we watched about using Rub n Buff showed refinishing a metal lamp with it, so I’ve been on the lookout for a place to use it beyond our steampunk accessories. The curtain rods were perfect.

Here’s the before picture. Okay, but a little cheap looking.




Here’s after. A nice, shiny gold that goes with our other room decor.


I used antique gold, but there are lots of colors. The Rub n Buff smells pretty strongly, so it’s important to work somewhere well ventilated. It also does not wash off very well with soap and water. Since I’m pretty messy, I usually have smudges of it on my hands for a day or so after using it. I guess I could clean it off with mineral spirits like the instructions say.


I took down all the curtain hardware that shows and started rubbing it on with a rag.


I used a heavy hand in applying a lot of Rub n Buff to the textured parts. Normally, Rub n Buff is great because it doesn’t get it all the nooks and crannies, so the texture really stands out. But, I didn’t want any aluminum showing through so I made sure to get it deep into the texture.


Here’s the curtain rod and hardware up before I put the curtain on. I didn’t refinish anything that was plastic. I’ve read that it’s best to spray paint plastic before using Rub’n Buff on it. I didn’t want to bother since none of the plastic pieces (the ends and sliders) show at all after the curtain is up, even when the curtain is open.curtain-rod-painted-bare

Here’s the family room with a new-looking antique gold curtain rod.

room view

Update: I just posted a video showing how I hemmed the curtains hanging on my refinished curtain rod.