DIY Painted Hairpin Legs

Pinpointing exactly when I discovered hairpin legs is difficult. Sometime last year I became very invested in the idea of getting a custom desk done; I measured dimensions and even drew sketches. I liked the idea of having four posted legs instead of a layer of closed-off wood since my original IKEA desk had legs and table support which blocked off many of my electrical outlets.

The opportunity came to finally make this desk happen recently. Being the extra person that I am, sometimes often times, I became enamored with the idea of having white table legs instead of the raw metal look. The company I bought my hairpin legs from (DIY Hairpin Legs Co. not sponsored, but I wish...) does offer powder coated colored legs; it cost around $60 more to have it pre-colored. I was on a budget and an extra $60 seemed too pricey. Granted I am sure the quality of their paint job is eons better than what I could do and it would have saved a lot of waiting time.

lavlilacs DIY painted raw steel hairpin legs

Before I made the decision to DIY the painting, I tried to find as many tips as I could on blogs and forums. It was surprisingly difficult to find detailed How-Tos. Most posts I found just shared the photo of their beautifully painted hairpin/metal legs and just briefly mentions it was painted in so-and-so color. What prep is necessary? Sand or not sand? Prime or not prime? Paint with a brush or spray paint? I had too many questions!

Luckily, I was able to live chat with someone at the company I bought the hairpin legs from. He suggested that I first clean their raw steel legs with a degreaser because the raw steel variety comes with a light rust-resistant coating straight from the shop. Paint will not stick if not removed. He also said to scuff the cleaned metal with the included green side of the Scotchbrite pad. A non-smooth surface allows the paint to stick better as well. Apparently, past customers of theirs had great experiences with Rustoleum brand primers and paints. I was nervous about not using the right materials to prevent rust since the legs are raw steel.

lavlilacs DIY painted raw steel hairpin legs materials

Necessary Materials

Hairpin legs. Vinegar. Paper towels. Scrotchbrite pad. Maybe sandpaper. Spray primer. Spray paint in the desired color and finish. Spray clear coat in the desired finish. Respirator mask (not pictured but a must).

Recommended Materials

Googles or a not-important pair of old glasses for eyeglass wearers like myself.
Hat/hoodie to cover hair, gloves for hands, and long sleeves for excess skin (spray paint gets everywhere).

lavlilacs DIY painted raw steel hairpin legs cleaned

Since I am a very occasional DIYer, I was hesitant to buy a whole bottle of degreaser. My uncle, who is far more knowledgeable in construction-related things, told me regular vinegar should work just as well to remove the rust-resistant layer.

It took a lot of paper towels and manual polishing but vinegar got the job done: oily residue be gone. However! Despite going over the hairpin legs multiple times with fresh napkins, the paper towels always seemed to pick up a tiny bit more grease. At some point, I felt the rods with my bare hands and self-declared it clean enough.

lavlilacs DIY painted raw steel hairpin legs scuffed

The hairpin legs I used were raw steel, untreated in any sort of way and therefore could possibly rust. DIY Hairpin Legs Co. sends a kit with a bit of wax to coat the legs for the industrial metallic look. Painting the legs would theoretically also seal the legs in a sense that the raw metal isn't directly exposed to the elements.

If the legs are new and raw like mine was, only scuffing (lightly marking) is necessary after the cleaning process.

If the legs have been treated before with any kind of clear coating or paint, sanding with heavy grit sandpaper is a must prior to a wipe down of the dust.

lavlilacs DIY painted raw steel hairpin legs in progress 1

Rust is possible if any part of the raw steel is exposed. This meant that I had to paint every nook and cranny of the hairpin legs. Making sure every part of each rod was evenly covered in spray paint was a struggle—the rods are obviously rounded but they also have a small surface area and many tight spots.

Tip 1// Painting under direct sunlight helped shine a light on bald spots where any silver might be peeking through.

Tip 2// Paint in sections. I preferred to start with the top side of the L plate first (with paint and clear coat then let it fully dry for a few hours). Reason being? That is the side which will face the table top and be unnoticeable after it is secured screwed in. Therefore that face requires fewer coats of primer/paint/clear coat and equals less total drying time. After that side fully dried, I stood the legs up and painted and clear-coated all the rods.

Tip 3// Start your day early and reserve a good 2 to 3 nice-weather days to tackle this painting job. Spraying light layers of anything requires at least 30 minutes in between coats. I gave my legs a minimum of 3-4 coats of white paint and 3-4 coats of clear coating: 4 hours of just "in-between layers" waiting time just for the rod portion. It takes another 24+ hours after the final coat so everything can fully dry through (meaning accidentally scratches with your nail won't leave any marks in the paint). The spray paint is dry to the touch within 20-30 minutes after a layer but not resistant to nicks. Leaving extra waiting time for the paint to cure doesn't hurt.

**If touch-ups are needed, the total project time would be at least 5+ days. The spray cans I used suggests waiting a full 72 hours before reapplying once the shorter 30-90 minutes window has elapsed. Forums seem to say this is because the paint has a curing/drying period that chemicals inside will clash with. It is possible for new paint sprayed after 90 minutes but before the 72 hours passes to cause cracks and/or bubbles of the previous paint. If this makes any sense...

lavlilacs DIY painted raw steel hairpin legs in progress - importance of waiting

The above photo is the prime example of what happens when I didn't let the paint and clear coat fully dry through. I mistakenly assumed the paint was dried because I could run my fingers over it without smudging the paint or getting my hands dirty. I left that tester leg horizontally overnight and found it stuck to the kraft paper I laid it down on. By the time I removed the two, some of the paper was stuck on the leg and some of the paint ripped off as well.

Little nicks might not seem like much but it isn't just about aesthetics. I could have easily used this in a corner that faced a wall and never had to think about it twice. However! The thought of any exposed metal being prone to possible rusting had me worried. In the end, I chose to touch-up the bare spots with a little paint and clear coat.

lavlilacs DIY painted raw steel hairpin legs in progress 2

Painting the hairpin legs is just a small part of the mission. Sure it is difficult to get a hang of the spray cans and it overworks obscure muscles. The fumes from the spraying are also overwhelming. But the biggest challenge is the huge chunk of the time needed towards the waiting game. Once that part is over, I get some darn great looking table legs in return and $60 more in my wallet.

Here's to hoping I protected them well enough! No surface rust on my nice white hairpin legs pretty please.

23 Years Old Black Paint Rubar

lavlilacs 23 Years Old Black Paint Rubar review

Finding a product that helps with black- and whiteheads while being gentle sounds counterintuitive. Everything that targets those issues on the market is meant to either physically rip the clogged pores clear or chemically melt the oilies—no matter how effective both could be, they can still be harsh in their own ways.

23 Years Old's Black Paint Rubar claims to be just that with what is essentially their charcoal cleansing stick. The product promises to help with many common skin concerns but I have come to like it for reasons almost unrelated.

lavlilacs 23 Years Old Black Paint Rubar seal

WishTrend & 23Year Old's Description:

Made with an innovative, eco-friendly charcoal formula, the Black Paint Rubar is designed to eliminate blackheads and whiteheads by clearing dirt, oil, & impurities from the pores in just 30 seconds!

The Black Paint Rubar is a multi-stick designed with an eco-friendly gentle formula, effective in deep cleansing with a pore treatment to top it all off. Safe and gentle enough to use every day for a daily exfoliation and deep cleanse in just 30 seconds.

Good for
Blackhead & whitehead removal, dead skin removal, sebum control, & improving skin texture and bumpiness

1. Open the lid and twist the bottom to the right.
2. Apply the Black Paint Rubar directly onto wet skin and gently massage in a rolling motion.
*Tip: Massage with the cleansing stick. Leave on for 30 seconds.
3. Rinse well with lukewarm water.
4. After using, rinse off the excess serum on the stick with running water.


*Some English infographics by 23 Years Old says the product has 2% charcoal content.

23pack (Brand's Korean e-commerce): ₩19,500
Wishtrend: USD $19.90
StyleKorean: USD $14.57
Sasa: USD $13.50-16.50 (price varies)
RoseRoseShop: USD $17.57

lavlilacs 23 Years Old Black Paint Rubar opened


There isn't much to it. The charcoal stick comes in a twist-up plastic tube, which is housed in a (not very securely stuck on) sticker-sealed cardboard box.

Solid type cleansers (i.e. bars) have gained a little popularity recently but their lack of packaging often is the reason that keeps me from trying them. Thought 1: I need to free up a separate soap dish to hold and dry it. Thought 2: I have to remember to keep it well protected since it will most likely sit in the bathroom.

With stick type soaps though, the product is already protected in its own tube so the whole soap isn't wet until revealed. The included cap keeps the bad bacteria and germs that fly around the bathroom away from the exposed areas. It is also good for traveling since it isn't liquidy.

Color, Texture, & Scent

For those used to charcoal products, the Black Paint Rubar is no different in the sense that it swatches and lathers very gray and dark. Messy face washers may have to be more careful or else black soapy marks will be very often all over the sink, counter, floor, and light-colored clothing.

Even though 23 Years Old describes it as an exfoliator of sorts, there are no abrasive particles in the stick. It is a smooth solid soap. The smell of the product took some time to adjust to; it smells very much like a bathroom cleaner/dishwashing liquid because of the lemony scent.

lavlilacs 23 Years Old Black Paint Rubar closeup

lavlilacs 23 Years Old Black Paint Rubar lather

How I Apply

Wet face with water. Swipe the Black Paint Rubar all over my face. (Sometimes leave it on for 30 seconds as recommended.) Lather and massage with hands to cleanse. Rinse with water.

Thoughts & Recommendations

To be honest, I was confused when I first discovered this product. The infographics describe it as an exfoliator/mask—apply, leave on, and rinse off to rid blackheads, whiteheads, sebum, and dead skin. Yet it looks so similar in packaging to cleansing sticks that are on the market (i.e. su:m37 and Neogen). It is even applied the same way—wet skin is necessary to spread the product around, plus it lathers.

Even the ingredients list suggests it is very much a bar soap with some charcoal mixed in. The list is short: just 9 ingredients; but 7 of the 9 are all bases found in typical soaps. CosDNA doesn't flag any of the product's components but I still prefer not use the Black Paint Rubar as a "mask" very often since soapy products tend to veer toward the drying side.

With that a cleanser, I cannot believe how gentle and non-drying it is. I love to use this in the mornings particularly because my skin feels clean without being overly tight afterward. As an exfoliator (in the sense that it is supposed to be deep cleaning), I can't say if this is the item alone that gave me clearer skin. I have seen an improved skin texture and less black- and whiteheads, but I have also started using my Clarisonic regularly again. The cleanser doesn't physically feel as deep cleansing because of how gentle it is. I don't prefer to use this at night (especially if I wore makeup that day) because it doesn't remove cleansing oil residue and stray makeup too well.

pH levels in cleansers are a huge thing at the moment. I haven't found any info for this product nor do I have litmus paper to test it myself. Just from my own observations, I will just assume the Black Paint Rubar has a low pH since it isn't drying and I have never gotten the squeaky clean feeling from using this product.

Finding a cleanser that doesn't leave my skin parched but is still foamy is difficult. Now that I have found one, I am tempted to say I can't live without it. But knowing me it just makes me more curious to try other cleansing sticks. The gentleness of the cleanser would probably work even better as my skin adapts to the cooler and drier weather in New York. All skin types could benefit from a non-drying cleanser, but normal, oily, and combo skin types may like this more. Drier skin folks might need something with more hydrating ingredients (this has none). Then again cleanser is only on the face for a few minutes so that doesn't really matter too much. If the Black Paint Rubar did really help with my skin imperfections, wonderful and hallelujah!...It is just that my fondness for it right now isn't directly correlated to it.

August Haul

lavlilacs August 2017 haul - DIY Hairpin Legs

Here's something unusual for a haul post coming from me; it is not beauty related! Instead of the typical skincare and makeup items, I saved my money this month to purchase these pricey hairpin legs instead. I read a few blogs and compared a bunch of prices but ultimately decided to go with DIY Hairpin Legs purely for their customer service, speedy delivery record, and available promotional code.

Putting together a simple DIY desk has been on my wishlist for over a year, and still counting. It looks more promising now that I have the table legs on hand. I am a home DIY newbie and my dad isn't a great with wood, so the desk needs to be simple and easy to put together. What could be easier than attaching pre-made ready to use table legs to some plywood?

Once I really sat down to think about how I would use this desk and where it would sit in my room, I had a long list of questions that needed answering: leg strength, table top strength, table top warping, raw steel or painted, 2-rod or 3-rod legs, 3/8" or 1/2", etc. This is where DIY Hairpin Legs' customer service came in. I love e-commerce sites with Live Chat functions. When the representative was available, I received responses immediately. My concerns were all addressed and I received a lot of advice in return. Plus, they didn't try to upsell me at all. They do sell pricier, powder coated (pre-painted) hairpin legs yet I was consulting them on the best practice for DIY painting via spray can.

Finding out that past customers received their orders quickly and discovering a 10% off blog referral code were just icing on the cake with a cherry on top for the quality service. Sure, I may have been able to get cheaper legs off eBay or Amazon but I wouldn't have anyone to consult my possible project with. Once my questions were well answered, I felt a slight obligation/commitment to buy from them.

After a few days of thinking, I finalized on the 3-Rod hairpin legs at 28" tall and 1/2" rod width 4 piece set in the raw steel (un)finish. It was the cheapest choice for the sturdiest option since I plan to use it for a slightly larger than an average desk. It cost me $89.95 + shipping + 10% discount for the set of 4 legs.

lavlilacs August 2017 haul - DIY Hairpin Legs box tear

lavlilacs August 2017 haul - DIY Hairpin Legs box

True to the reviews, the box of hairpin legs arrived before the week was over. It was only in transit for about 2 business days where it traveled from Florida to New York. I am not sure where it went wrong but my box came completely battered and corners ripped. The legs burst their way through the tape like it was non-existent after I placed the box down inside. The steel rods must have been too heavy for the flimsy cardboard to handle. Luckily the small box of screws, wax, and Scotch-Brite pad wasn't lost and it wasn't raining much on the East coast the days the package traveled. Otherwise, premature rust could have been a real issue.

I haven't gotten to building the desk yet, as of today. I got verbal confirmation from my uncle (the actual handyman in my family) saying he would help me or do most of the work when his schedule frees up. Hopefully, that is sometime soon. I will try to photograph as much of the process as possible but it might not be very interesting since I only plan to place the legs on a piece of plywood.