The Great Outdoor Fan Renovation

I recently mentioned that one of the projects in our budget-friendly backyard patio upgrade is refurbishing our tired-looking ceiling fan/light fixture.

Patio-plansLast week I asked the hubs to take the fixture down for me. (I’m not totally comfortable working with electrical wiring … yet. ;))


After it was down, it was really obvious it needed some TLC.


I removed the fan blades and dusted and scrubbed the fixture.


I used sandpaper and steel wool to remove any visible rust spots.


Then I primed the whole thing using Rust-OleumPainter’s® Touch Ultra Cover 2x Primer in flat black. This product is currently my favorite spray primer because it gives great coverage, goes on evenly, and doesn’t spit or sputter.


After priming, I gave the whole fixture two coats of Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint & Primer in One in oil-rubbed bronze.


Next came the tricky part. I was originally planning on reusing the same fan blades and just painting them using my faux wood grain technique. But that plan went out the window when one of the blades broke in half as I was removing it.

Fortunately I had an old fan in the basement that was taken out of our dining room when I added the chandelier. The fan blade color was perfect, but there was a problem. The holes in these “new” blades didn’t match the holes in the fan I was planning to attach them to. So I had to first plug a few of the old holes and then stain the filled holes to match the blades.

I started by flipping the blades over to the side that wouldn’t be seen and taping the holes that needed filled with putty.


Then I flipped the blades over to the “good” side, filled the holes with stain-able wood filler, and brushed on a coat of stain to match the blade color. (Only two out of the three holes in each blade needed filled.)


My objective was to make the old holes as inconspicuous as possible. One word of caution here: If I had to do it over again, I would have only used stain on the holes and scratches, not on the whole blade, as it didn’t adhere well and left me with a sticky mess as I was attaching the blades to the fan.

Speaking of attaching the “new” blades, I had to drill two new holes in each of them so they would line up with the holes in the fixture. Before screwing the blades tight to the fan, I added washers to each of the holes for added reinforcement. (The last thing I want to do is decapitate one of our picnic guests with a flying fan blade.)


The washers were added to the top of the fan (aka the part you don’t see). Also, in case you’re wondering, these fan blades are finished in a light oak color on one side and a mahogany color on the other.

Here’s the final result:






I love the new look, although I am disappointed because the fan wobbles a bit, which I believe is due to one of two factors affecting its balance:

  1. I bent the metal that holds the fan blades in order to shimmy my screwdriver in to remove the screws before I painted the fixture. (With the right tool, this would not have been necessary.)
  2. I switched out the fan blades (because I broke one of the old ones, remember?) to larger ones and this may also be slightly contributing to the imbalance.

So if you can avoid these two pitfalls, you should have a like-new, wobbly-free fan. 🙂

Let’s take a look again at the before:


And the after:


It looks like a new fixture!

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing me with the primer and paint I needed to complete this project. 

I’m linking this up to My Repurposed LifeHome Stories A to ZFluster BusterWe Call It Junkin’ and Knick of Time.

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31 Responses

  1. teresa says:

    That looks fabulous…better than new! You should be able to re-balance the fan and probably should.It’s a pain, but doable. I had one that did that and on high speed I was afraid it will go flying sometime; now it purrs like a kitten.

  2. Kim says:

    That looks great, it is amazing what a little paint does. This past weekend I painted the shutters on the house, it looks like a new house.

  3. Donna Gibson says:

    I love the new look. Here is a suggestion…on the open space at the point of the roof, mount a black Eagle with the wings spread out. We did this to the top point of our roof on the front of the house where we have a similar open space and it looks great as we mounted our on the siding. We see a lot of these in the south, and you really have to look hard to find them at antique stores, yard sales, etc, but with all your yard sale experience, you’ll find one eventually. I’m sure, you will end of priming and painting your find too! Happy hunting!

  4. Mark says:

    Looks great. I have 2 brass fans which I will now redo. Thanks for the inspiration. Also, you can get the wobble out. Do a web search for removing paddle fan wobble. It is easy and uses simple weights or just common coins. If you do another fan, you can remove the blades by first taking the blade retainer off of the fan motor (2 screws). Then take the retainer off the blade. You can also paint them before putting the retainers back on. No special tools needed.

    Nice work.

    • Susan says:

      Thanks for the tip, Mark. I suspected I could have deconstructed the fan a bit more to get to the screws, but my impatience got the best of me … again. 😉 Thanks for stopping by and best of luck with your fan projects.

  5. penny says:

    Fantastic redo! You’ve inspired me to fix up a couple I have that I’ve been hating. One suggestion. When you do your photos, if you could include one with the before & after combined, it makes for a much more “pinnable” image and will bring more people over from pinterest to see what else you can do. 🙂

  6. That. is. amazing!!! I really need to do this to my seriously ugly fan in my living room. Love if you’d share at my History & Home link party, you’d be most welcome. Take care – Dawn @ We Call It

  7. Robin says:

    I did a fan makeover a few years ago, it didn’t look as good as yours, but it completely changed the look. Gotta love Rustoleum!!! Thanks for sharing at Fluster’s #creativemuster.

  8. gail says:

    The fan looks amazing!!! I’ve painted several myself…. such an easy update!


  9. I have painted interior and exterior light fixtures the same way. Pretty easy. You might try taping pennies on top of the fan baldes by the edge/outside to balance it. That may help….

  10. Kim R says:

    Amazing transformation! Great tips and inspirational. I love that Rustoleum paint. I have used it on so many things, including repainting all the interior door knobs on the house we just sold. The ORB was a big improvement over the shiny brass.

  11. Linda says:

    My question as I have never attemped this and would love to do several fans in my house. When painting the part that covers the motor do you spray of paint by hand? Wondering how you keep that paint out of the motor. Thanks

    • Susan says:

      I sprayed it lightly out of a can, keeping a bit of distance and just lightly misting it. No probs with the motor so far. 🙂

  12. Joanne says:

    Exactly the look I’d want! Couple questions though…if there is a linen-look mesh inside protecting the motor, does it need to be removed/changed? Also, if my original blades are a yellowed white plastic/vinyl , can they be painted to look like wood?

    • Susan says:

      Well, Joanne, I didn’t do anything to protect the mesh part … I just tried not to spray paint too close to it, lol. 😉 Still worked fine afterward. If your blades are yellowed white plastic/vinyl, you can certainly paint those. Prime them first, and be careful when handling, as I broke one while working with it. They can get brittle with age. Best of luck with your project. 🙂

  13. Kristine says:

    Is this a special fan for outdoor use or can you use any ordinary ceiling fan on a covered porch/patio? Thanks!

    • Susan says:

      This is a fan rated for outdoor use. I’d recommend using one rated for outdoor use, as they’ll be able to better handle weather condition fluctuations and moisture changes.

  14. Alena says:

    could you name the colours you used for the blades and maybe tools and technique? i have exact same fan that i’m trying to renew, and i really love the ending results.

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