Kettlebells are designed to see heavy use, but they can become rusted and worn over time. This can make them pretty unappealing to look at, and you might be hiding them in a dark corner of your garage gym.

Applying a fresh coat of paint can give gym equipment a new lease on life, and in this guide, we’ll explain how to paint kettlebells.

  • Safety Equipment  
    You should be in a well-ventilated area and wear eye coverings. It would help if you had a thick pair of gloves to stop your skin from coming into contact with the paint stripper and paint and some protective overalls, so you don't ruin your clothes.  
  • Paint Stripper  
    Paint will land more evenly on metal than other surfaces, so it’s a good idea to remove the previous layer of paint.  
  • Paint  
    Kettlebells can be painted with traditional brush paint or spray paint. We like to use spray paint because it's quick, but for detail, you'll have to use a paintbrush.  
  • Primer 
    A primer will give your topcoat of paint an even surface to adhere to.  
  • Sander 
    A Dremel tool will help you sand through any rust on the outer layer of the metal. This will give you a clean and smooth surface for your paint to land on. 
  • Cleaning Solution 
    Use white vinegar (1 part) and warm water (3 parts) to create an acidic cleaning solution. This will help dissolve some dirt and grime and give you a clean kettlebell ready to be painted.  

Preparation Required For Kettlebell Painting 

Paint Outside

Move your kettlebells to a well-ventilated area away from other equipment. This will help keep you safe and stop you from accidentally getting paint all over your home gym. 

Strip The Paint

Kettlebells are usually already painted, so you'll need to strip this off to start again. Apply an aerosol paint stripper to the kettlebell and leave it to work for 15-30 minutes. This will let you paint the metal directly, which your new paint will stick to more evenly.

Clean And Sand The Kettlebell 

Use your cleaning solution to remove any dirt from the kettlebell. This will give you an even surface for the paint to land and stop it from being patchy.  

Use your Dremel sanding tool to remove any built-up rust on the outer edge of the kettlebell. The sander will make the outer surface of the kettlebell much easier to paint and give you a fuller coat.

Prime The Kettlebell

Apply a coat of white spray paint or primer across the kettlebell. This will give an even surface for your top layer of paint to adhere to and help prevent you from getting thin or patchy areas of paint. 

How To Paint Kettlebells (DIY Spray Painting Guide)

How To Paint A Kettlebell DIY (+Cool Design Ideas)

Kettlebells are versatile pieces of equipment that can be used in strength or cardio training. They're typically made from cast iron or steel and are usually already painted when you first buy them.

They can come in a range of shapes and sizes, with some unique designs. For example, Onnit has designed a range of kettlebells to look like Marvel superheroes and some primal Bigfoot kettlebells. These unique kettlebells look incredible, and painting them can take them to the next level.

You can use traditional brush paint for your kettlebells, but we would recommend using spray paint. It will adhere to the surface more evenly and give you a much fuller coat of paint. It’s also quicker and easier, though you should make sure you’re using tough acrylic or enamel paint that will stand up to heavy use.  

There are 3 main steps to painting a kettlebell: Stripping, Sanding, and Painting. Make sure you’ve taken the kettlebell to a well-ventilated location before you start painting.  

1. Stripping  

Most kettlebells come painted already, so you’ll need to strip that off before you can apply a fresh coat. Start by using a white vinegar solution and a cloth to clean the kettlebell. This will help to remove any dirt which has built up and give you an even surface for the paint.

Next, take your aerosol paint stripper and apply it to the existing paint. Make sure you have your gloves on at this point because the paint stripper can hurt your skin. Keep going until all the old paint is stripped away.

2. Sanding 

You'll need to use a sanding tool or sanding paper to smooth down the metal on the kettlebell and prepare it for the paint.

Focus on the rusty areas first to try and get them as close to the level surface as possible. Be gentle with the handle, but make sure you've sanded the whole kettlebell.  

3. Painting  

Start by applying a primer to the kettlebell. This can be tinned or spray paint, but we find spray paint much more effective. Cover the entire kettlebell in primer and leave for 30 minutes to dry.  

Next, you'll need to spray paint your kettlebell. Rust-oleum has some tough and durable spray paints, which will work well on metal. Try to select a spray paint or primer suitable for cast iron or steel, and hold the can 8-10 inches away from the kettlebell. Spray the paint onto the kettlebell slowly and evenly. 

We usually want the handle a different color, so we wrap some rags around the handle while we paint the rest. You can then unwrap it and paint it separately with a contrasting color. 

Apply 1 or 2 coats to the kettlebell and leave to dry. The best way to do this is to hang it up and leave for 2-3 hours. If you’re looking to do some creative designs, you’ll probably have to leave it to dry a few times as you apply various layers of paint. 

More DIY Tips - How To Paint Olympic Barbells For Home Gym

painting kettlebells

4. Additional Kettlebell Painting Tips

Choose Your Design

Once your first coat of paint is dry, you can start to fill in some detail or put your own twist on it. If you have a specially designed kettlebell, like Boba Fett or Iron Man, you want to select a paint design that will bring them to life.

You'll have to buy several paints and some painting tape to cover each area separately. For intricate detail, you should use brush paint but always remember to select a paint that will work on the metal.  

Even if you just have a regular kettlebell, you can still get creative. You’ll need to use your paint tape and build up each layer of the design one by one. This can take a bit of practice, but you can always use the paint stripper if you want to start again. 

You should leave the first coat of paint to dry for at least 30 minutes until you add more detail. Disney characters, marvel heroes, and even national flags all work well on kettlebells, so you're only limited by your imagination.

Painting Rusty Kettlebells

Kettlebells will rust over time, and while it won't impact the functionality of the equipment, it can ruin the look. You can paint over rust, but you need to file it down first, or the paint won't apply evenly.

Use your sander to get rid of the larger bits of rust on the outside of your kettlebell before you apply any primer or paint. 

best way to spray paint kettlebells

Why Paint Your Kettlebells? (Benefits Explained) 

  • Stand Out Kettlebells 
    You don’t always get an opportunity to be creative in the gym, but painting your kettlebells is your opportunity to express yourself. You can choose cool patterns, unique designs, your favorite movie characters, or even just use bold colors to make your kettlebells unique to you. 
  • Hides Rust  
    Kettlebells are made of metal, so they will probably rust at some point. Unfortunately, you can't undo the oxidization process which leads to rust, but you can sand it down and paint over it so it can't be seen. A solid coat of paint can also prevent rusting from occurring in the future and help to protect your equipment.  
  • Color Coding  
    When you're in the middle of a session, you want to know exactly which weight you’re reaching for next. Painting your kettlebells so they are color-coded makes it much easier to know what you're lifting and can help make your workout more efficient.   
  • Protection Value  
    We all know that gym equipment is expensive, and we aren't going to use it forever. Reselling old gym equipment can help you reclaim some of the money you spent, but only if it's in good enough condition for somebody to buy it. Applying a fresh coat of paint can help you drastically improve how your kettlebells look and make it much more likely you can resell them.  

Frequently Asked Painting Kettlebell Questions 

How to prevent paint from chipping off kettlebells?  

Kettlebells see some heavy use, and you'll find the paint does chip off, especially on the handles. If you use a tough paint, like acrylic or enamel, then the paint will last longer, and you can also invest in some cover paint that offers an invisible layer of protection.  

Can you refinish kettlebells? 

Yes, if you thoroughly remove the outer layer of paint and finish, you can apply any paint or finish that you want.  

How long does paint last on kettlebells?   

It depends on how much you’re using your kettlebells, but you should expect the paint to last 1-2 years before you need to consider repainting.  

How many coats of paint are needed for a kettlebell?  

You'll typically need to apply 2 coats of paint on a kettlebell, as well as the primer underneath. Using a sealant will help protect the paint from damage so you don’t have to repaint it as frequently.  


You can get really creative with your kettlebells and use a variety of designs that make them stand out. The key thing is to prepare, sand, and prime your kettlebells, and get a full and even topcoat of paint. Once you've done that, you can move onto the fun bit and use smaller brushes for the detail.

Hopefully this guide has helped explain how to paint your kettlebells and you’ve now got an exciting DIY project ahead of you.  

Last Updated on April 16, 2024

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Andrew White

Andrew White is the co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. As an expert fitness professional (gym building nerd) with over 10 years of industry experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern fitness & the newest market innovations for garage gyms. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually out surfing or playing basketball.