(This post is written by Kathleen, Mike’s better half and right-hand woman in the shop.)
You need a fan for a room you just renovated, but your budget is tiny. What do you do? Grab 2 cans of spray paint, a few tools, and voila! You just updated an old fan into modern décor for less than $10.
When it came time to outfit our new music room/office with a ceiling fan, I loved the idea of something with a slightly industrial style. Everything I found in that category was way beyond our tiny budget, leaving me with a dilemma. We could’ve saved up for a few months, but patience has never been my strong suit, and I wanted a new fan for the space now.
I got creative and eyed a fan we’d just taken down from another room in the house. Its style was straight-up 1995, which doesn’t exactly mesh with the industrial feel I wanted for the room. But, it had potential, and was worth wasting a few hours and some paint to see if we could give it a new life.
Here are the tools and materials used for the project:
Materials to Update an Old Fan
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Remove and disassemble the fan
If you’re not comfortable disconnecting the fan, please hire a certified electrician to help with this step! After removing the fan, take a look at the metal parts you’re planning to paint and remove as many of them as you can. This includes taking the blades off of their mounts. For parts you cannot disconnect (but don’t wish to paint), tape off the areas you want unpainted.
Reshape the blades
To give the blades a modern feel, I needed to knock off the pointed ends. To do this quickly, I stacked them all on top of each other and ran tape around the bundle tightly. I then traced the new end shape I wanted onto the top board and took them to the bandsaw and cut them all at once along the line I just drew.
To clean up the cut, I took the bundle to the oscillating spindle sander and sanded the ends lightly until I was happy with how it looked.
Update an Old Fan with Paint
For our fan, I chose Rust-Oleum 2X UltraCover Paint+Primer in Flat Black for the metal parts and Satin Stone Gray for the blades.
I laid out each piece I wanted to paint (blades and metal parts) on scrap cardboard, leaving space between each piece. I then sprayed 2 thin coats, following the instructions on the can. For the blades, don’t forget to wait the recommended dry time between flipping them over. And don’t forget the edges of the blades! You’ll see those from the ground and they look kinda awful when they’re halfway painted 🙂 (I propped my blades up on thin scraps of wood to help hit the edges with paint.)
Reassembly and Installation
Once everything is dry from painting, just redo what you took apart to reassemble the fan. Mount the fan to a secure fan box and connect all electrical connections on your own or with the help of an electrician.
Now, stand back and admire your new fan! I think the transformation was totally worth the short amount of time and money we put into this project, especially since no one believes it’s from the 90’s when they see it in our home!
If you update an old fan of your own, make sure to tag Woodshop Mike (#woodshopmike) so we can see how it turned out!
PS- Don’t be like me and forget to remove your jewelry before working with power tools!
Thanks for reading, and as always, let us know if you have any questions!