I have heard that it is possible to paint over a brass ceiling fan? Has anyone done this and if so, what steps need to be done so it will look good and stick? Does it need to be "roughed" up, primed before painting etc? What are the best ways to cover the areas that you don't want to paint? Thanks!
Yes, you will need to "scuff sand" the parts you want to paint. Some medium-grit sandpaper should do fine. On top of that, use an oil-based bonding primer. (Your paint store should be able to help you with that when you tell them what you are trying to do.)
To block off what you do not want to paint: Tape the edges, and mummify everything else in plastic bags. (Grocery bags work fine.)