How To: Refresh Your Patio Chairs with Spray Paint

Late fall here in Texas is my favorite time to take my refresh and repaint projects outside or in the garage with the door open. The weather is neither too hot nor too cold, and perfect for letting paint set properly. The weather tends to be more dependable than in the spring, when we’re getting a lot of rain and humidity, and the pollen and dust generally isn’t as bad.

If you are like me, you are loath to replace something with life in it just because it’s looking a little tatty, tired, or worn.   And if, like me, you’ve replaced your ancient wicker patio furniture with pretty chairs and your old plastic chairs look even worse next to them, but you can’t bear the thought of looking for replacements because you’re just spent (energy- and wallet-wise), giving what you own a refresh is worth a shot, right?

My  husband was pretty dubious. These chairs really have served their life – I know he had them on his back patio when we met, and we’ve been married 14 years.

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These are awful – the color is badly faded in spots and stained in others. Still – if a few coats of spray paint could postpone the replacement for a year or two, why not try, right?

It is easier than you think to refresh your old patio furniture!

  • Use some ammonia-based cleaner in warm water and wipe it down. If it’s a bit grungy like mine from years of exposure to the weather, get a sponge with a scrubby back or a scrubbing-brush and give it a really good scrub. Set it out in the sun to dry.
  • If there is any part of the chair that you don’t want to paint, cover it with painter’s tape.
  • Set up your paint area in a well-ventilated area and spread a drop cloth to protect your floor. (I’m actually using some old curtain blackout fabric.) IF you opt to paint outside like I did, pick a spot out of the wind and make sure the wind is still. Trust me on this one.
  • Shake the can well, per the instructions on the side.

 

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Now, I’m lazy efficient, so I like to use a spray paint with primer built right in, and I made sure I bought one appropriate for plastic. Krylon has my favorite brand in terms of ease of application, but they didn’t have the deep blue color I was looking for. I was surprised to find this Valspar paint at Target, and it covered well without needing to prime, which I appreciate.

One can of paint will cover approximately 24 square feet, depending on how you apply it to your project. Two chairs needed three cans of paint (and I had some left over.)

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  • Apply the paint in long even sweeps. Keep your arm moving while you paint and apply a light coat to avoid drips.
  • Let the paint dry for 5-10 minutes between coats. I sprayed as much as was visible with the chair in this position, and gave it three good coats.
  • Let the chair dry for at least 60 minutes, then flip it over and paint the underside with the same long, light sweeps. Pay close attention to the chair legs – if the backs of the legs aren’t as evenly painted as the front, you WILL see it.
    (The can says that you can apply the next coat after 5 minutes, but I didn’t want to mar the finish where the freshly painted edges touched the drop cloth after flipping it over. You can probably gauge when you are comfortable with flipping it – I took time to toss the ball to the dog.)
  • Let the bottom dry for 60 minutes and flip it back on its feet.  Take a careful look at it to make sure the color is even everywhere, and touch up any spots where you might see the color still uneven. Be careful to use long strokes touching up these areas, too, to avoid drips.

It’s a messy job. Make sure you are wearing old shoes! If your nails are neatly manicured, a pair of rubber gloves is helpful. I have a box of sterile gloves that I (usually) wear when I’m painting and don’t want to mess up my hands.

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Oops. I was so excited I forgot to grab gloves.

Three good coats later (and a touch-up spray) and my chair was done! I let it sit 60 minutes to dry completely, and then I moved it to the garage and let it sit overnight.

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This chair was going to see a lot of wear poolside and I wanted to make sure the paint was fully dried before putting it out there.

And look at the difference! The blue color really pops!

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My husband, quite frankly, was shocked by the transformation. Aside from the chew marks on the bottom of the feet, they looked brand new, and were perfect for flopping in with wet swimsuits.

Two new chairs would have run me about $200. Instead, I spent less than $15 and an afternoon in the sunshine giving these old boys a new lease on life!

 

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With the generally mild weather we have in North Texas, these sit out year round.  I’m happy to give them a new lease on life.

They’ve given me many a good afternoon and evening on the patio, drink in my hand. The least I could do is make them pretty again!

What would you refresh around your house?

 

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Comments

  1. Chairs look wonderful, Jenn! Your husband is lucky to be related to Jim McCarrens, and to his offspring who share his genes!!

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