DIY help?

I have these bookends and I want to paint them to match my decor. I have never tried this, so I am wondering if this will even work out the way I'm thinking. I was thinking about painting them this green color and then an off white over that. Then, using some sand paper to distress the white to let a little bit of the green show through. Would this work? Or would the sand paper also remove the green as well? Any suggestions on how I can make this work? The bookends are currently glossy, so I don't know if that makes a difference.