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Spraypainting Outdoor Furniture Illustrated Guide

Updated on August 28, 2012


For those of you who know me, you know that I'm frugal to the core. If there's something that I can save or fix, I'll do it every time rather than buy new. The same goes with my outdoor furniture.

We have a patio set that we bought at Costco some years back for a very good price. However, sitting out in the blistering Central Oregon sun hasn't helped it retain its original black glossy color. All of the chairs and the table had faded by this summer to a nice gray finish.

Deciding I'd spraypaint the set took only a little bit of thought. However, we live in an area where wind is a significant factor -- so how to do it safely without causing over-spray onto everything in my yard and the neighbors' yards became my challenge.

Thinking it through, I figured out how to be able to safely spraypaint my patio furniture. It turned out to be a great way to rejuvenate our wrought-iron lawn furniture. However, there are a few noteworthy additions I'll make in the future.




  • Rustoleum spray paint or other appropriate paint type for what you are painting--the number of cans will depend on how much you're repainting--I used about a half can per chair
  • Garage or other suitable shell for constructing a paint chamber
  • Paint brush, duster or swiffer
  • Visqueen plastic or paint dropcloths or combination of both
  • Duct tape or clothespins
  • Rag for wiping hands or drips and spills
  • Furniture you want to repaint
  • Mineral spirits or other paint remover


Make a paint chamber - It should be 3-sided plus cover the floor
Make a paint chamber - It should be 3-sided plus cover the floor
Pick furniture to spraypaint
Pick furniture to spraypaint
Clean off furniture before painting
Clean off furniture before painting
Place furniture in the paint chamber
Place furniture in the paint chamber
Do any undersides first
Do any undersides first
Spraypaint the top surface
Spraypaint the top surface
Like new
Like new
3 chairs down, 3 to go
3 chairs down, 3 to go


  1. Make a painting chamber. I used our garage door to make a chamber for painting. This turned out to be an excellent way to paint without risking over-spray. I made the chamber using a combination of Visqueen plastic and paint dropcloths. I secured the drop cloth to the garage door bracket and then secured the other parts of the chamber to the Visqueen and drop cloths with duct tape. You could also use clothespins to keep the sides closed and overlapped. The final painting chamber was 3-sided and had a dropcloth floor. It was open in the front to allow for air circulation and also aided in the final drying stages.
  2. Brush off or clean off furniture you want to repaint. Use a clean paint brush, a dry cloth, a swiffer or a duster. You want the surface to be free of hair, leaves and dirt before repainting. If there is visible rust, take a firm wire brush to the surface and scrub vigorously to remove any rust. Make sure that the piece of furniture is in the best condition before starting to paint. That might require wire brushing, sanding and priming depending upon the state of the piece you plan to paint.
  3. Position the piece of furniture you want to paint in the chamber. Turn it upside down. Begin painting. Remember to shake the spray can of paint from time to time to ensure mixing the paint in the spray can. Remember that most effective spray painting is done with a light hand. This means don't overcoat the furniture as you spray as it may not adhere as well to the metal and it may also look uneven. Use smooth, steady and even strokes. To illustrate, on the spires of the chair backs, I used an up and down motion rather than a side to side motion to spraypaint. I also circled the chair from many angles to get the best coverage of all surfaces.
  4. After painting the undersurface, grab the piece in a spot where there isn't paint and turn it right side up. Continue spraying as before, making sure to approach the piece from different angles and checking frequently to see if the piece is being covered adequately. Look for any drips and dab up with a rag.
  5. Let the piece dry completely before applying any touch-up sprays. If you've done the piece smoothly and evenly, usually the touch-up will take only a few minutes. After touch-ups, let the piece dry completely again.
  6. If you're painting more than 1 piece, position them inside the paint chamber so that you will be able to move around each piece easily and spray from all sides. Also check the over-spray possibilities according to where you place your other pieces. In most cases, it won't hurt because the over-spray will just add a bit more paint to the other item but make sure a piece or part of a piece won't end up being sprayed over and over as you spraypaint other pieces.
  7. Some people use a primer before adding the top coat. I found that just 1 coat of Rustoleum worked just fine with a touch-up after several hours. I also used a satin finish to get the look I wanted which wasn't a shiny look but still gave a nice finish to the furniture.



Spraypainting is a wonderful way to make things new again. However, the fumes associated with spraypainting can be quite toxic. I did think I had this covered with my open-ended painting chamber. In fact, the chamber did work 100% in that regard because the wind was behind me and was blowing the fumes away from me.

However, the one thing that I did not take into consideration was that no matter where you spraypaint, you will have over-spray. You can't have something under that much pressure coming out of a can that doesn't go somewhere.

That somewhere happened to be all over my arms, my legs, my face and hair, and most notably inside my nose. While this was quite humorous afterward to my family and yes, even to myself when I looked in the mirror, it didn't escape me that this could have been a dangerous thing. Especially the paint inside my nose.

In the future I would therefore recommend these safety precautions:

  • Wear a face mask to protect your mouth and nose
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt
  • Wear long pants or overalls
  • Wear shoes and socks (my first chair I was barefoot and ended up with black feet)
  • Check periodically in a mirror to see if you are accumulating paint and adjust your paint chamber or method accordingly

Again, spraypainting is a fabulous way to restore outdoor furniture to a like-new state. However, spraypainting can be dangerous if you don't go about it properly. It can also result in a huge mess due to the over-spray. What you can't see while you're spraying becomes quickly evident when you start to clean up.

Rustoleum or other rust-proof spray paints are great for restoring a BBQ, for painting tables and chairs or benches. You can redo light fixtures and all kinds of things and the nice thing is, you can do it in about any color you can imagine.

Take the time to read up on preparing your piece appropriately and then map out your strategy for spraypainting as that is the most important part. Knowing where you can safely spraypaint without causing over-spray will definitely make the job one you'll feel good about rather than creating a new disaster to clean up.





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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Lizz94 - That is hilarious but not really. I feel your pain! I think it could be a dangerous thing to be honest but mine did fade away pretty quickly.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I found this post when I searched Google for "remove spray paint from nose hairs." Shockingly, there doesn't appear to be much for advice on the subject! I painted a stove hood and noticed my nostrils are now a bit tacky. :-) At least I know I'm not the only person who has had this problem! Just wanted to share that. :-)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Danfresnourban - It's all a learning process~ Glad you liked!

    • danfresnourban profile image


      9 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks for sharing this step by step how-to article. It seems simple, but I have to admit that I did not think of the plastic to protect from over spray the last time I sprayed my wicker furniture. It killed my grass. I could have saved my grass if I had read this hub before I attempted that project. Thanks again.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Sharyn~ I think Rustoleum is a miracle product but I would NOT recommend it for the inside of your nose. If I had a tin nose, maybe so - but unfortunately for me, it really stuck! Wow! Thanks so much and glad you enjoyed~ Will have to come visit your hub later today~

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      9 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hello AK,

      I can't help but think of my newer hub "A Chat With My Unique Friend Glider" when I see your hub here. Rustoleum is a miracle product, isn't it. Your hubs are always entertaining and informative. Thanks,


    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Peggy - They seem to be better (nose hairs) but I did use a Q-tip with some paint remover. My husband almost killed me! Then had to flush it out of course - oy vey - and I'm not even Jewish! I seem to bring an I Love Lucy quality to everything I do! Now if I could get the wind to cooperate, that might have been a plus~ Thanks for dropping by!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      The last time I spray painted our patio furniture, I just picked a non-windy day and spread a plastic dropcloth on the lawn. Worked well. Of course finding those non-windy days is the secret! Your solution if it is windy all the time is ingenious. Voted up and useful...especially the part about wearing a face mask. Do you still have black nose hairs? Haha!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Peg Cole - I'm not so sure about the smart part since I spray painted the inside of my nose -but I won't NEXT time so I guess that counts~? Thanks so much for the read!!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      You are so smart and practical. Those and being frugal are some of my favorite attributes! Paint on.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Well, dang - if you were going to do that, why didn't you run up here and paint mine for me? You'd probably do it easily and without spray painting yourself~

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      9 years ago

      Sounds easy and fun. Too bad I don't have any patio furniture to paint. Maybe I'll sneak into the neighbors' backyard and paint their stuff instead! Shhhh.....don't tell them. =D

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      BJ - Too cute~ And thankfully only on me, not on them~!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      I'm going to put all your great painting tips, Audrey, in a kind of log,

      Because you describe how to paint furniture without getting paint on the dog.

      Rated useful, m'dear.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Simone~ Share and Share Alike, right???

      Mimi721 - Thanks - I wish I'd figured out about the wearing the mask though BEFORE I invented my little paint chamber....everyone is still laughing about my black feet, the black nose and the black arms and legs....good heavens I'm lucky I have any skin left - but the furniture look AWESOME!

    • Mimi721wis profile image


      9 years ago

      Up and useful. The last object I've painted was an old bike. It turned out okay.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Nice! I know a bunch of folks that could really use this guide. I'll have to share your Hub with them!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      I done painted myself too in the process, Hanna~ Thanks for the read!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Great aricle with very detailed information. You really done a good job there.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks RC - I had some fun turning myself into a little black woman~

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      9 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great tutorial! I love all of the photos.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Winsome - Now THAT is hilarious~! I'll have to suggest that to my husband although he might be worried we'd get run out of the neighborhood~

    • Winsome profile image


      9 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Very practical advice Audrey. If you don't want to ruin your clothes you can go au naturale and rub yourself with Vaseline before you start. The overspray won't adhere and your skin is moisturized--plus you have the added bonus of entertaining the neighbors. =:)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Deborah-Diane - ah yes, the key to any good project....not to make a mess of things~ It turned out well and I'll have more knowledge the next time around!

      Pamela - Thanks - it wasn't that bad! I actually "polished them off" in just a few hours max. I ended up doing 2 tables and 8 chairs~

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great idea and it doesn't look that difficult. Very useful hub.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image


      9 years ago from Orange County, California

      Very helpful article. I have spray painted my outdoor furniture before ... and I wish I had read your article first. It should help a lot of people avoid making a big mess of things!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Ah yes, that ending up with less paint on oneself~ I did learn a lot from this little escapade and I do speak with the voice of "wisdom" - your help is much appreciated there~ Thanks for stopping in, Jaye to Audrey's project workshop...always a work in progress.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      9 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This is an excellent article, Audrey, and perhaps it will inspire me (once the heat wave passes) to spray paint my outdoor furniture. Great tips, especially for how not to end up with more paint on the painter than on the chairs!



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