Before painting, you must either take the fixture down from its mount or mask the surrounding surfaces. It’s usually easier to paint the fixture if it’s removed, but if you can’t remove it or don’t want to, you just need to make sure you don’t paint the wall to which it’s attached or any adjacent surfaces. Pick a warm, dry day to tackle this project. Avoid painting when surfaces are damp, when the humidity is more than 80 percent, if the temperature is less than 50 degrees or if the object you're painting is directly in the sun.
If you will be taking the fixture down, start by turning off power to the fixture at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Verify that the power is off using a high-voltage neon circuit tester. Only then is it safe to remove the light fixture.
Working with electricity can be dangerous. Follow all safety precautions. If you’re unsure which circuit to deactivate, turn off power to the entire home. Padlock the circuit panel, if possible, to avoid anyone accidentally turning it on while you’re working or notify everyone in the home not to reactivate it until you’re done. Cover the breaker switch with a piece of tape for another reminder.
Make sure the circuit is truly "dead" before touching any wires or terminals. Also, check that your tester is functioning by first trying it in a live receptacle.
Unscrew the fixture’s mounting plate from the wall using a screwdriver and carefully disconnect the fixture from the mounting plate until you can see the wire connections inside. Unscrew the wire connectors that are connecting the fixture wires to the circuit wires and the fixture should now be free.
Remove the glass shades from the fixture’s frame. If you cannot or do not want to remove the shades, you will need to mask them before painting. Clean the shades with an all-purpose cleaner and water, then dry them with a towel and set them aside. Otherwise, use masking paper, cut to fit the shade, along with painter’s tape, or simply use painter’s tape to mask the shades and keep them paint-free. Remember to cover the ground or floor of your workspace with drop cloths or tarps. Choose an open area in which to work to avoid overspray onto surfaces you don’t want painted.
If you want to paint the fixture without removing it from its location, you must mask around the fixture to protect adjacent surfaces from paint spray. If your fixture is attached to the siding or brick wall of your house, cover the area with enough masking paper to protect the surface. Be sure the paper covers all brick or siding around the fixture and use painter’s tape to secure the masking paper to the wall. You will also need to mask the fixture shades as explained above, if they cannot be removed before painting.