Answering: Which Gold Spray Paint Is Best?

The age old question. Am I right? Or am I right, or am I right? Right? Right? Right? This week I did some experimenting with four different gold spray paint brands I had in my possession–so we could educate ourselves and answer this thing once and for all.
Obviously there are more than four different brands of gold spray paint, but these include the three biggest spray painting brands and one bonus brand that carried a gold I had on hand from spray painting the hanger in Greta’s shadowbox.  Update: All of these brands are under $7. Also you should know, I have been geeking out about this project all week.
I started with four faux pears I picked up at the dollar store.

I gave each one a can buddy and the two became inseparable throughout the experiment, or at least until I could mark the pears according to which paint they were bearing. I used Design Master (picked this one up at Micheal’s), Krylon, Rustoleum, and Valspar–that can exploded on me a long time ago.

Here are our pears after each a few thin coats and they fully dried:

Who would you give the first impression rose to? Ha!  I am, personally, a new fan of the Design Master.  It has the least amount of orangey/rosey glow to it.  But, let’s look a little closer at them. To me, these four fall into two categories: brass/gold and bronze/copper. The brassiest gold was definitely the Design Master and Rustoleum as a close second. 

The Krylon and Valspar look entirely too bronze for a “gold” application. Although, I obviously have used them since I have them.  I know better now.  That’s what this is all about.  Also I would note, Krylon went on the worst.  While all of the other finishes seemed smooth and virtually flawless–Krylon was having all sorts of issues.  Could be human error–sure.  But three out of four were near perfect.  Hmm.

Which Gold Spray paint is best?  I am giving Design Master the gold medal, and Rustoleum the silver–although I would definitely still recommend it.  Valspar and Krylon get the bronze–appropriately. Are you surprised or maybe disagree? Do you have a favorite that we didn’t cover here?  Spill.


  • Reply October 31, 2015


    What a great comparison test. Now, has anyone done a Silver one? I do like gold, but I use a lot of Silver in my projects.
    Thanks so much for posting this. I have Pinterested it, to keep it on record for myself.

  • Reply September 28, 2015


    Krylon application generally sucks, but it either varies can to can OR they have improved it in the past few years. A can of gold Krylon I bought a year or so ago went on spotty as anything (evenly spotty, though, so it looked almost like a hammered finish, which luckily worked fine for what I was doing), but I bought it again a few months ago because I wanted that rose gold color (rose gold is obviously very trendy right now, and I love it) and it applied completely normally. Nothing like all the Krylons I have bought before.

  • Reply August 12, 2015

    Joshua Aragon

    Does anyone know of a brass colored spray paint that gives a mirror look? The only reason the paints tested here are mirror is because of the glossyness over a curved surface. I need one that will look mirror like on a flat surface. Thanks.

  • Reply June 10, 2015

    Leah St. Denis

    Thank you for this! I recently purchased the Krylon “gold” spray paint, and I was very disappointed. Thanks to your research and great photos I’ll be heading over to Home Depot today for some Rustoleum gold to re-spray paint my frames for a true gold look. Wish I had read your blog first!

  • […] I particularly love the gold spray paint – something we go through a lot of at our house.  Have you ever wondered which gold spray paint to use for your projects? Julia at ChrisLovesJulia experimented with several different kinds, and writes about her findings here. […]

  • Reply March 9, 2015


    Stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest and have to say, love this post and have had this type of debate in my head before. I own 3 different ‘golds’ and each is so different. Tre helpful! Thanks!

  • Reply March 6, 2015


    I have used spray paint before, but even when I layer it with a sealant it comes off. In your opinion which one of these spray paints stays on the best?

  • […] Here, and Here are my trusty sources- see for […]

  • […] spray paint (this is a great guide for choosing a gold spray […]


  • […] do you take something from not-gold to gold?  Spray paint, of course.  Chris Loves Julia answers the question of which gold paint is […]

  • Reply January 28, 2015

    Hannah S

    Awesome review. I agree….I hate krylon (same price as rustoleum in craft stores). I always go for Rustoleum ($4 at home depot). I haven’t tried the other 2 in years.

  • Reply January 16, 2015


    Hey. Thanks for doing this. I just found this post doing a search on gilding colors. I used Martha Stewart Crafts gold liquid gilding. I am so surprised how there are so many different views on a gold color. For me, the M.S.C. gilding was not gold at all! …. As for your spray paints, I thing Rustoleum represents what ‘gold’ should look like to me. The Design Master looks a little green, like a florentine gold. The looks Krylon like a rose gold or copper gold. The Valspar looks like an antique bronze/deep gold.
    Thanks again!

  • Reply January 10, 2015

    Amanda Peterson

    I love this post and I DO understand how different spray brands are different.. but you are spray painting a pear for goodness sakes!! Which is obviously green to begin with and will not last for more than a week?! I’m sorry, but that does NOT prove any brand of spray is better, IMHO.

    • Reply January 10, 2015


      These are fake, plastic pears! Haha. I still have them years later.

    • Reply May 1, 2015

      Susan Larussi

      Amanda you overlooked that he used an orange colored pear for this experiment. The pears were not green.

  • Reply October 31, 2014


    Thanks so much for this post, I am trying to decide on which paint for a more “chrome” gold look, and this really helped my decision!

  • Reply September 9, 2014

    Reston Sue

    Good blog. I have a quick question. I painted half of a soap dispenser, which was chocolate brown, with Rustoleum gold, to match the chocolate brown and gold theme of my bathroom. Unfortunately, after we have started using the dispenser, i see blotch water marks…it now looks ugly. Any idea why? and how can i rectify. SHould i spray paint again and cover it with something like a finish?


    • Reply September 9, 2014


      Spray paint should hold up to some elements, but if it is prolonged, there can be damage. I think a clear topcoat should protect it and not lead to anymore water marks.

      • September 10, 2014

        Reston Sue

        Thanks Julia. I will try.


  • […] Little Green Notebook says it’s her favorite brass paint period. There’s also a great comparison of brass spray paints (including Design Master) on Personally, I’m hoping it will be a close […]

  • Reply June 29, 2014

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  • Reply March 20, 2014


    I think it depends on whether or not you like traditional bright gold or antique gold. I prefer antique gold myself, so I like the darker ones. I think the Design Master has a slight green tint (or maybe it’s my monitor).

  • Reply March 9, 2014


    Love this. Thank you. Great job. I think it would be super to have rustoleum/ etc sponsor a full line of their golds since their are so many. Design master is an absolute favorite. You find it at art stores bc it it is an art paint. You will find their choc with a hint of red choc with a cooler tint they just really know the way color is used in painting. This is my all time favorite.
    I wish they shared their true shelf life.
    Thanks again

  • What an awesome experiment! Love geeking out about stuff like this too haha =). I’m not sure if it’s just where I live, but the Design Master from Michaels is significantly more expensive. It’s right on the $7-8 mark whereas the others are around $4-5. Of course if you have a coupon you can get it cheaper.
    I had bad luck with the Valspar — it didn’t mix evenly and I had streaks in my finish even though I shook it for as long as recommended.
    I think I’ll go back to Rustoleum which has never let me down! It’s cheap too!

  • Reply February 5, 2014


    Love this! Which Rustoleum colour did you use – its amazing!!

  • Reply January 17, 2014


    I am looking specifically for a metallic rose gold spray paint – do you have any recommendations where that’s concerned? I have been surprised at how hard rose gold spray paint is to find! I think the Krylon gold looks rosiest, but am a little nervous to use it since you mentioned it didn’t go on particularly well. Let me know if you know of a rose gold, and thank you for posting this helpful little experiment!

    • Reply January 17, 2014


      I would say the Krylon is definitely a nice rose gold color. In fact, the “rose gold” spray paints I have seen all look a little too coppery for me. Now, I love the copper look, but when you want rose gold–they Krylon one might be your best bet. They do make a rose gold spray paint as well if you want to check it out.

  • Reply November 24, 2013


    omg, i saw this pinned today on pinterest – a few hours after i insta’d about design master – the BEST! happy to have found your site through this :)

  • Reply October 29, 2013

    Caitlin and Josh

    Hi there! Would you mind sharing which Rust-Oleum gold color this is that you used? I’m having the hardest time deciding on “burnished brass” or “antique brass!” Thanks for this great post!

    • Reply June 23, 2015


      I’d love to know the answer to this also! Can you tell us if you used Rust-Oleum “barnished brass” or “antique brass”??? Thanks!

  • Reply August 30, 2013


    Hi. I’ve tried Krylon but find it rubs off when you touch anything you’ve painted. Were any of the other brands better at not rubbing off? Thanks!

  • Reply July 25, 2013


    Sigh. Every site I have seen says the rustoleum is the best…I guess for a TRUE gold it is, but it was too yellow for me personally. I ADORE the Krylon color….HOWEVER, WARNING,I will never use it ever again! I bought it and it spewed big globs all over the freakin place. I tried two different cans and they both did the same thing. Just as you said it gave you problems so it must be the nozzle they use…shame because the color was perfect! I guess I will revert back to what I did on my coffee table, using rustoleum and then going over it with liquid gold leaf. Alot more time consuming, or maybe I will try the Valspar.

  • Reply July 15, 2013

    Laurie F.

    I am actually doing a brass painting project and this is perfect. I am leaning towards the Rustelom color that you used. Do you know the exact color name and where you got it? I went to Home Depot and the brass they had was very dark. I think the only thing they had was the antique brass color. Thank you!

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  • Reply May 5, 2013


    This is very helpful and was exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for posting.

  • Reply March 12, 2013


    But now, what about SILVER paints? Please try them. I want to paint
    some sea shells for a mirror and want the best silver-I will use
    this post for some gold ones too. Thanks, MEP

  • This is so helpful! I was just trying to figure out which to get for my next project!

  • Reply February 13, 2013

    Jennifer Laura

    Design Master for the win, love this project!

  • Reply February 8, 2013

    Megan Angermeyr

    Thank you for this!!!

  • Reply February 8, 2013

    Dacia @ Lemon Drop Life

    I like the look of the Rustoleum the best…this was a great idea for a post!!

  • thanks so much for sharing this! i have a gold painting project coming up, and i’ve been trying to figure out this very thing. i think i’ll be going with the rustoleum based on your post.

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Sarah @ Babytalk Bungalow

    Awesome post! I never gave much thought to how much variation there might be between the various brands, and it’s really neat to be able to see the comparison — based on the pictures I think I’d agree that the Rustoleum and the Design Master look best. Thanks for sharing this, I’ll have to refer back to it if I ever plan on painting anything gold! :)

  • Reply February 7, 2013


    great post!!!

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Kelly Goldman

    This is awesome! I used all brands in all varieties to paint sbux bottles to use as centerpieces for our wedding. And I agree- I wouldn’t use Krylon again. I’ll stick with Rustoleum from now on…

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Kim @ Yellow Brick Home

    Krylon is the worst. The WORST! It’s not human error – it’s just not that good of paint. We avoid it all costs, but the only problem is that spray paint is banned in the city of Chicago! So, we have to drive to the ‘burbs to get it, and a lot of times their ONLY brand option is Krylon. Whenever possible, we pick up Design Master!

    • Reply February 8, 2013

      Megan Angermeyr

      Thank you for feeling this way!! I hate Krylon too… but everyone else LOVES it. I

  • Reply February 7, 2013


    My vote would be for the Rustoleum. The other two are way too bronze. But I like that the Rustoleum has more warmth to it than the Design Master. I wonder if these pears were spread out around a room or other space if you would still notice the vast difference in their color?

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Chris Loves Julia

      To me, the difference is very apparent in the DM+R versus the V+K–but between the two…I don’t think it is too apparent when they are all by themselves.

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    janet @ ordinary mom

    I like them all for different reasons. I like the Rustoleum for a true gold, the Design Master for the bronze, I like the pink hues in the Krylon (cute for a girly room) and the antique-ness of the Valspar.

    And I REALLY like the grouping with the 4 different tones? Would look cute together in a bowl perhaps? I may have to replicate this experiment myself. :)

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Chris Loves Julia

      All four together is definitely fun and layered. I am gonna find a spot where they can hang out!

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Ashley Travers

    I immediately was loving the Valspar but the more I read and looked at it – definitely bronzey. I think the Rustoleum is the gold metal winner I like the Design Master it just seems flat with a lot of yellow/green. Great job though – thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Meagan@Meagan Tells All

    (You are so funny!)

    Before this post, I thought, gold is gold is gold is gold. Buuuuut

    You’re right! There is a huge difference. I’m with you, I like the design master. Not a huge fan of the coppery gold. Even though I love the color copper. Dream someday to have all my pots and pans with copper bottoms. Who knows the technical reason why copper is better, but it sure looks good!!! (Don’t tell Chris I said that!)

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Chris Loves Julia

      I love copper pans! Swooooon.

      • October 8, 2014


        Copper bottoms = conducts heat faster. Now you can spurge on one for searing purposes Megan. :)

        This post is fab, thanks so much for the comparison. Is the Rustoleum that you used just “gold” or another color? I am considering spraying my cabinet hardware as the modern looking brushed brass ones that I like are about $40/handle! Rustoleum looks like what I may grab.

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Cait @ Hernando House

    It’s so funny how different tastes plays into this decision!

    I agree with Ellis and Abby about the green undertones in the Design Master (at least on my screen). I rarely use gold in my house (I prefer silver/brushed nickel and brass), but I’m liking the way Rustoluem reads on my screen. I also like the Valspar, because like Kelly I like ‘antique’ gold (probably because I’m a sucker for a nice brass).

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Chris Loves Julia

      I would say the Design Master absolutely has green undertones. And I guess I kinda like that. Hahaha. Very true–it’s all about personal preference.

  • Such a personal preference….I am all about the Valspar. We don’t have a Lowes anywhere near us, but whenever I am around one I always grab some gold spray paint because I love the Valspar gold over any other that I have found so far. But that’s just me – I really like that more ‘antique’ gold look.

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Chris Loves Julia

      Cool, Kelly! Definitely “to each their own.” My opinion is in no way the RIGHT one.

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Abby Kozel

    I agree with ellis…although Design Master may read better in person than in the pics?
    Rustoleum gets my vote!

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Chris Loves Julia

      Of course everyone’s screen could read different, but I would say they are reading pretty true. To each their own for sure.

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Cassie A.@The-A-Days

    I like the Rustoleum the best. It looks just warm enough without looking bronzey… I guess I would have never thought there was so much difference in gold spray paint. The Krylon looks pink!

  • Reply February 7, 2013


    I personally prefer the Rustoleum. The Design Master is reading with some green tones, which I’m not a big fan of in gold.

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Chris Loves Julia

      I can see that. Maybe Design Master is a little more brass than gold.

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Adrienne J

    Is Design Master any cheaper than Rustoleum? I haven’t heard of that brand. I AM surprised that they’re all so different! Those other two look super bronze which is a totally different feeling.

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Chris Loves Julia

      Good question, Adrienne! I think I’ll update this post to include these were all under $7. So very comparable in price.

    • Reply November 30, 2015


      Thank you for doing this test; it’s really helpful!

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