A claw-foot tub looks luxurious no matter what, but painting it a bright color gives your bathroom a playful, modern feel
The green, white, and terra-cotta color palette and vintage elements like the claw-foot tub and wardrobe for towels make this
room feel like it’s at a country inn.
Rust-bonding primer (only if there’s rust)
Latex enamel, 1 quart
Rubber gloves, bucket, and sponge-type scrub pad
Household cleaner, or deglosser if existing paint has a gloss finish
Painter’s masking tape, 1 inch or wider
Synthetic-bristle brush, 1½ inch
Wash. You’ll be painting only the exterior of the tub. Check that any existing exterior paint is intact and not flaking off. (If
it is flaking, you’ll need to have the tub stripped or sandblasted first so the new paint won’t peel.) Position the drop cloths.
Wearing gloves, wash the exterior of the tub with water and the cleaner. Clean as much of the outside of the tub as you have
access to. Let dry.
Apply the tape. Apply the painter’s masking tape to the top edge of the tub feet or to the floor around the feet, depending on whether you
are leaving the feet with their existing finish or are painting them. Also apply tape along the top rim of the tub, to keep
the interior paint-free.
Treat the rust. Inspect the tub exterior, and the feet if you plan to paint them. If you find rust, use the brush to apply the rust-bonding
primer over those areas (this chemically converts the rust so the paint will bond to the surface).
Prep and prime the surface. Don’t sand, as you normally might before priming, because the existing paint is likely to contain lead. Pour the shellac-based
primer into the paint tray, and use the roller to paint the main areas of the tub. Then use the brush to smooth out the finish
and fill in where the roller won’t reach, such as the underside of the tub rim. Prime the feet, too, if you plan to paint
Paint the exterior and feet. Apply the latex enamel in the same way you applied the primer in step 4. (Skip the feet if you’ll paint them a contrasting
color—see Style Note.) When the first coat dries, apply a second coat if needed. Let dry.