Paint Removal From Glasses Frames?

I have a pair of frames that I just love, but that are starting to have serious loss of paint from chipping. I’ve noticed that underneath the paint seems to be a smooth light colored metal. It looks shiny like aluminum, but I’m not sure what metal they are made out of.

I can’t really afford to get new frames (and anyway, I like these ones), but they’re starting to look kind of tacky. I mentioned the other day to someone that I was thinking of stripping the paint off of them, and she said that she thought the metal frames would look good. Opinions?

Also, assuming I go along with this, what do I do to get the paint off, and how hard is it to take apart glasses and put them back together? I assume I’d have to remove the lenses to get at the inside of the frame. Are they easy to put back togeter?

Paint thinner of some sort, or maybe acetone (nail polish remover) will probably take off the paint, although you might need to use some elbow grease to get everything off. If the paint doesn’t respond to solvents, then you’ll need to grind it off with sandpaper or steel wool or something.

As for removing the lenses, this is usually pretty easy. At the outside edge of the frame you should see a teeny tiny screw holding the lens inside the frame. Use a teeny tiny screwdriver to take out the screw (don’t lose it!) and the lens will pop right out. Just reverse the process to put everything back together.

If you do happen to break something or lose the screws, then it’s time to either A) get your frames repaired by a professional or break down and buy new ones, or B) get creative with a sottering iron, wire, and electrical tape.

rather than go through all the hassle of stripping off the paint, maybe you could just touch up the flaked-off spots instead. i’ve found nail polish to be an excellent “touch up” paint for things as varied as chips on china to metal hair clips, and if you look at some of the cheaper brands (in drugstores and such), you’ll often find it comes in a wide variety of colors. even if there isn’t one bottle that exactly matches what you need, the judicious use of layering different colors will often give you whatever shade you want.

To add to Maneb’s comments: If you are unfortunate enough to lose the screw, or have troubles putting the lens back in afterwards, most glasses shops will happily put a lens back in or replace a screw for next to nothing. Last time this happened to my son’s glasses, we stopped by a Wal-Mart optometrist (which wasn’t even where we bought the glasses, but it was on our way at the time) and they charged us a whopping 95 cents.

My experience has been that once you remove any of those little screws they will not stay in anymore.

It is possible that the frames have a baked on coating, nothing will take it off and your glasses will only look worse if you try.

Like lachesis suggests, try touching them up if you gotta do something.

The paint will certainly come off. I just took off a chip with my fingernail.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I’m worried about having the lenses be loose after taking the screws out, but I think I’ll try that anyway. I’ve been looking for a creative way to use my soldering iron anyway.

It really depends on the frame if you are going to be able to get the paint off easily. On many older frames the paint is just, well, Painted on. This kind of coating will come off rather easily. The best way to do this is to clean the frames with regualr dish soap and water , dry them well, and flake off the paint with your fingernail and a wood tooth pick for the tiny parts. Now, if the frame coating is baked on, like many of the newer frames these days, it will be very difficult to get off without some harsh solvents. Unforunately, unless these were higher quality frames, any solvents you use will pit and scratch the metal.

In either case, if you end up removing the paint, the metal on the frames is not sealed. and will eventually corrode and turn green due to the chemicals in your sweat. This is probally what caused your paint to chip in the first place. If you have a lot og greenish buildup around the nose pads, or inbetween the lenses and the frame, your skin is reacting to the metals in the frame and causing oxidisation. Get titanium frames next time if you can swing it, or even “plastic” frames, as they are now in style.

To do any of this you will need to remove the lenses, which, as other people have said are held in the frame with some weeney little screws usually. If you have a teeny screwdriver you can probally loosen those yourself and take the lenses out. But the best bet is to wander over to your local eyeware shop and ask one of them to do it for you. Then you won’t risk stripping the barrels.

The lenses should fit in tight after you take out the paint, if they don’t the eyeshop would install some liner for you so they do.

My advice, take themy to an eyeshop with some baggies to put your parts into, have them take them apart, take them home do your magic, and then take them back for them to put back together again. That way they can line up your Rx back the way it was. If you take them out, if the lenses have any play in them wahtsoever in the frame, and you have a correction for astigmatism, you won’t be able to see well through them.

Hope it works out for you.
Any ? feel free to email me…

~Aqua A.B.O, N.C.L.E
Friendly neighborhood Optician

Ha ha. I was just peering at them and I noticed that some writing on one of the earpieces says “Titani…” which I will take to mean that tese are titanium frames. I seem to recall that they were decently expensive, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

So… AquaPura, if they are Titanium, then will they be able to withstand sweat and other such things without corrosion or discoloration?

So… AquaPura, if they are Titanium, then will they be able to withstand sweat and other such things without corrosion or discoloration? **

So it seems like the chemicals in your sweat attacked the paint/coating on your frames. To answer your question, yes, they should hold up unless you are alergic to the metal (highly unlikely), or your skin is REALLY putting out some toxic ooze. All the same, you might consider sealing them after you’ve taken the paint off with some general metal type sealer, like the auto kind or the kind used on outdoor metal furniture.

Best of Luck!


iamthewalrus(:3= - Have you thought about a product called Goof Off? This stuff works really good on old paint. Most hardware stores should have it.

Just to wrap this up. I ended up just scraping the paint off. I started with just my fingernail and wood, but then moved up to a small metal screwdriver that worked well. There were a few scratches, but only on parts where I slipped and the corner sliced across the metal. Even then, they’re only visible if you look very closely. Thanks for everyone’s suggestions.