DIY Vintage Fan Makeover

1 Hour

I admit that I enjoy finding things that fit into my style without spending a lot of money. It isn't that I'm cheap....I just like to get a lot for my money. And honestly, isn't that what most of us want?!?! Sometimes the items that I desire are really pricey, and vintage fans are one of them.
I recently found a metal fan at Goodwill. It isn't really old and was in a shade of blue that wasn't really my taste. But knowing what a little paint can do, it had to come home with me. The most important part of finding great deals is being able to see what something can become and not just what it is right now.
This is what the fan looked like before being painted. It was $2 at Goodwill so I'm guessing it wasn't a priceless vintage fan. The blades were also really thin which you wouldn't normally find on a quality piece.
The fan had to be dismantled to be painted easily. I was shocked to see what the inside of the fan looked like! Look at all those wires covered with masking tape. To me, that is a fire hazard waiting to happen!
After taking all the pieces apart, I painted over the entire frame with two coats of black chalk paint. Rather than brushing it on, I used sponge pouncers which gave a nice hammered texture to the paint.
The paint was coated with antiquing wax to protect the finish. Everything got sanded a bit around the edges to make it look a little more worn and used.
I did leave the blue label on the front without paint. It is a nice pop of color and maintains the charm of the old fan.
This project could easily be done to a NEW fan (even plastic) that you have in your home and doesn't really fit into your decor. The only difference would be that you'd leave the electrical cords intact. And if you intended to sand the edges, you'd have to paint those areas silver first.
Even though I removed the plug from the fan so that it could be used for purely decorative purposes, I left the copper wires inside. If someone wanted to use this fan, it could still be rewired and used. (But I don't think I'll be giving it up anytime soon!)
I know that some people will be upset that I painted over an old fan, but for me an item really only has value if I like it. I didn't like it before, but now I LOVE it. It was at a thrift store for an incredibly low price. Anyone could have purchased it, but the fan came home with me. The refurbished fan is a perfect accent to my decorating and I can't wait to use it in different ways.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Tina Pulliam
    on May 2, 2016

    i have a fan like this, it's brown, where can i get it fixed? i want to use it in my bedroom.i live in Eden,N.C. thanks. tina, big fan.

Join the conversation

2 of 13 comments
  • Em
    on Jul 2, 2019

    NOT sorry you altered it. Who cares what the value is when the value to YOU is enjoyment every time you look at it. I personally love it.

  • C50GE
    on Sep 29, 2019

    Make sure that you oil the fan. Just a couple of drops on the bearings. It will love you for that

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