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In this post I take an old patio set and show how to paint metal outdoor furniture. I take a 4 piece outdoor set that needs to be repainted and revamp it into a current look. So easy to accomplish and will cost a lot less then buying a new set. It was a quick transformation and now I am set for the summer with my “new” set!
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Wrought Iron Patio Set
The 4 piece set was left behind from the previous home owner. The original piece was painted in white and by the time we arrived it was more like a white and rust combination. We never got rid of it because it fit our front patio so well that it always worked. Most likely from the 1950’s these timeless sets do not go out of style. They just need to be updated with a new color and cushions! Through the years it has needed a refresh and this year I am giving it an ultimate makeover and paint my metal outdoor furniture.
Check out my video on my process
I recorded my process, so that I can show you my actual labor on these outdoor metal furniture pieces. I seriously spent more time sanding then painting because I will always tell anyone that prep is just as important if not more then the actual painting. Spend the time and really prepare your surface before painting. I used the hammered metal finish because I know that I was going to have a little bit of a rough surface, with years of old paint. The finished result looks great!
Preparation for painting metal furniture
The first thing that happens with these metal outdoor furniture sets is the metal gets worn by the elements. Rust happens and the paint starts to chip. First thing is to sand down all the flaking paint, and smooth the rust areas down. My tool of choice for this is a electric porter-cable drill with a round wire head attachment– they come in an assortment of shapes which is helpful for certain areas. The chairs and table have a lot of surfaces. You don’t think they do until you get started. The most important thing you can do when you paint your metal outdoor furniture is to prepare your surfaces. Paint will not hide this and a better prepared surface will allow for a beautiful painted surface. Make sure that you place a heavy duty tarp underneath your furniture to protect any outdoor surfaces.
Pro tip! prepping your surface is just as important, if not more then painting it!
Supplies for painting metal outdoor furniture
The supplies that I used for my painted metal furniture project are:
- Battery operated drill– I have an additional battery that sits on a charger when the other one runs out. This way I don’t waste time waiting for a battery to recharge.
- Wire brush drill attachment– these fit perfectly into a drill and with different shapes and sizes allows you to get into all the corners and surfaces needed.
- small wire brush– once you have done all your electric sanding these hand held brushes work great in small areas or hard to reach areas to brush off any excess left behind.
- Microfiber rags– Once You have brushed your surfaces off with your wire brush, I used these microfiber rags to wipe down all the surfaces to remove any lingering dust or chips of paint.
- Heavy Duty Tarp– Even though this project is done outside, Spreading a tarp underneath your furniture pieces will protect any outside surfaces. I highly recommend using one. I keep mine stored in my shed and Its always ready for my next paint project.
- Safety glasses– when you are sanding these help protect you from any flying chips of paint.
- Rust-oleum Rust Reformer– I used this primer in areas of heavy rust. Hopefully it will give it a good protective coat and prevent further rusting to come through my paint job.
- Rust- oleum forged hammer spray paint– I decided on this specific finish because of all the uneven surface the old paint will leave even with all my sanding and prepping. The color I decided on was Burnished Amber.
- Plastic gloves– I highly recommend these when using spray paint. I have ruined my share of painted nails with this! Oh and wear shoes that you don’t mind ruining. You don’t realize but as you are spraying your shoes will be in direct contact of the spray paint.
- N-95 mask– yes I know we all know what these are by now- but wear one while spray painting so you don’t inhale any paint mist!
Best spray paint for metal furniture
I have used a few different Rustoleum spray paints for my various painted outdoor metal furniture projects. Depending on your project there are a few things to consider before deciding on what spray paint is right for your outdoor furniture. two keys are, what color and what finish are you going for? You can see my Easy steps to Repurposed Patio Furniture where I used a different color and finish for these.
Rustoleum comes in many colors and finishes and is the best choice for these projects. Take a look on Amazon to get a selection of colors and finishes.
Finishes– Like any paint below are some of the finishes
- flat- dries flat with a matte finish, no sheen.
- satin- dries with a low sheen.
- gloss- dries with a shine.
- hammered- when dry will have a gloss textured finish.
Best spray paint for outdoor use
Because this furniture will sit outside year round, its important to make sure that the paint you use is heavy duty. I like the Primer plus paint series so that after I sand, I am ready to paint.
What to use for rust
In some areas of heavy rust you may want to use a rust inhibitor to stop the erosion in places. This will coat and protect the rust areas from further rusting and give an undercoat for your top coat. I am using Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer for the first time to help stop any further rusting in the joint areas and under some of the decorative metal areas. I like the idea of this product because it’s in spray paint form which will coat the areas the same way my top coat will finish. Being able to spray into tiny corners will help for better coverage.
Alternative to removing paint
Many years ago I used a paint remover to remove old chipped paint from metal outdoor furniture. It was messy and was hard to control. If you decide to go this route you can use a paint stripper like Smart strip. This may be an alternative choice for paint stripping, depending on your project.
How to paint metal furniture
When using spray paint it is so important to first read the directions. Make sure you spend some time shaking the content of the can before you start. Then when applying to remember to keep about 8-12 inches away and spray in a methodical back and forward motion. If you haven’t fully covered your surface, remember that you can re-apply additional coats over your first once dry. If you get too close the paint will concentrate in a surface and you will get drips which is not a good look!
When I start spray painting I start with my furniture piece upside down. This way you can get underneath. Then I will turn it on its side and spray paint that side, then do the other side. Lastly I will have place my outdoor furniture right side up and spray paint that angle. This will create a seamless coat of paint from all sides. I then walk around my painted outdoor metal furniture pieces to make sure I have not missed any surface. You will be surprised that you will find missed spots by walking around and viewing from different angles. Remember to let dry on each side so that you do not ruin the paint finish with smudges or fingerprints.
Let your outdoor furniture sit for a few hours so that the paint can set and dry before moving.
You can also see my process on how to paint wrought iron furniture. I took my wrought iron bed frame and spray painted it black. This was much easier because its indoor furniture and there was no rust or chipped paint to deal with.
Check the weather!
I know this sounds silly, but finding a less windy day will help you spray your paint onto your metal furniture and not loss it into the wind. If there is a slight breeze, try and spray in the direction of the wind for better application.
Metal mesh on outdoor furniture
Because the mesh has many openings this area can be a little bit more challenging. However I use the same steps as I do on the other area of my outdoor metal furniture. It is so important that the paint chips have been removed from the mesh area. Any dust, paint, or dirt that is left behind and painted will become part of the mesh surface. This is not a good look! As with all my pieces the same holds true for this. Turn it upside down and spray the underside of the mesh first. Then put the mesh furniture piece right side up and spray that surface. You may have to go on an angle to make sure that you cover the mesh surface that sits just inside the open mesh pattern. Once this is done, walk around your piece and make sure you haven’t missed any surfaces.
Best practices when spray painting
Always use spray paint outside. Spray paint can get everywhere so be sure not to have anything that you don’t want a mist of paint on close by. Use a Tarp underneath your objects. This helps prevent spray painting your outside surfaces. Wear a mask. Even though you are outside, the paint mist can be easily inhaled. Wear an N-95 mask to prevent this. Gloves to prevent any excess paint from sprayer ending up on your hands, or nails.
Rejuvenating your outdoor furniture
Once you are complete with all your painting, Cushions become the finishing touch! We bought ours at Lowes, but you can find many options. Amazon has a great selection, and fast delivery.
I had an old outdoor wrought iron table and chair set from my mom. I actually reupholstered the old wood sets. check out my post on easy steps to Repurposed Patio Furniture. This is where I show you step by step in reupholstering for outdoor use.
Finished results on my outdoor patio set
Once I have finished painting my outside furniture, it’s time to add cushions. There are so many choices and price points. First thing to do is measure your dimensions so that you make sure you are buying the right size. Then decide on your color scheme. For me I loved the look of the burnished amber color of the wrought iron outdoor furniture with the light grey and navy striped cushions. So many options and combinations.
shop below for some fun cushions for your outdoor furniture, so much to choose from. I added two stripe options below for a similar look to what I used on my own set.
Maintaining your painted metal outdoor furniture
Once you have painted your outdoor furniture, you will have to touch up periodically. I am hoping that the rust Reformer will help out, but I recommend in keeping an extra can of the specific paint that you used on your outdoor furniture. Each season you may find a rust spot come through. It’s easier to spot spray it then redo your furniture pieces over completely.
Let me know if this has been helpful! Please share with me your Painted metal outdoor furniture projects. I always love to see what other people are up to. Don’t forget you can join my mailing list to stay up to date on all my DIY projects!
Please check out all my painted furniture projects here on Double Arrow Designs . I do a range of different furniture. Hope you enjoy!