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DIY: How to Paint a Vintage Wrought Iron Chair

Updated on October 4, 2016
Repainted wrought iron chair on my deck
Repainted wrought iron chair on my deck

My favorite deck chairs needed new paint:

My four wrought iron chairs used to be an ivory white when I got them for Mother's Day sometime in the last century. I wish I could put a date on them, but I cannot--it was that long ago. All I can remember is that my girls were still in grade school and they are now in their young thirties. If they could be sold on Etsy, they would definitely be classified as "vintage". The chair you see to the right is just one of the four chairs. The other three look just as good; in fact, they look almost young again!

About ten years ago, I gave my oldest daughter the chairs when she and her husband moved into their first home. Of course she did not like the ivory color (white really shows environmental dirt and mildew!) so she spray painted them black. Not knowing any better, she did not rough up the original paint before she applied the new. You can guess what happened--the black paint flaked off! After repainting the wrought iron chairs many times over many years with various shades of black and gray spray paint, she gave them back to me. She was tired of having to repaint them year after year.

Luckily, there was not much rust and what was there, could be sanded off with ease. These were well made chairs!

With good weather right around the corner, I decided to paint my chairs the right way!

A perfect DIY Project!

All images belong to me, Mickie_G - all rights reserved. Get permission to use.

Here is how I refurbished my 4 vintage wrought iron chairs:

Time required: Several days

Difficulty: easy

Cost: $20-$25


  • 4 wrought iron chairs
  • 1 quart Rust-o-leum oil based flat black paint
  • 2 cans Rust-o-leum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover spray paint


  • Sanding block or sandpaper
  • Hand held sander (optional)
  • Wire brush
  • Paint scraper
  • Drop cloth if painting in doors
  • Paint roller 3 inches wide
  • Refills for roller
  • Paint roller pan and a liner


1. Prepare the chair for new paint. Use a paint scraper or wire brush to remove paint that is loose. Also, scrape or sand off any rust that you can see.

I found that I could quickly get the loose old paint off the chairs by using a pressure washer. If you do not have one, get out the hose and adjust the nozzle to the thin "jet" spray. Turn your water tap on full blast. Allow the chairs to dry throughly.

2. Use sander, sandpaper or sanding block (see mine on the seat of the chair) to rough up the surface of any original paint that can not be removed.

NOTE: you do not have to get every bit of paint off of the chairs. Just make sure you get all the paint off that is flaking. The a paint scraper worked nicely for getting those loose bits off.


3. Put down a drop cloth and begin painting the wrought iron chair with the canned oil based, rust preventative paint. (I used a flat black paint by Rust-oleum) Spray paint is too expensive to use on the mesh of the chairs. I also think that most of the spray paint just goes into the air and not on the wrought iron. Give a hoot and don't pollute!

I used a roller with a cheap refill that I could just throw away. The 3 inch sized roller worked best for me. I also found that a thick nap on the rollers was great at getting in the nooks and crannies. I started to use a one inch brush to get the parts that the roller could not cover, but that did not work well. I easily painted the 4 chairs in one day. Oil paint takes a while to dry (8 hours between coats for me). I probably gave each chair 2 coats of the canned paint. I kept seeing the old paint colors peeking through and attacked each spot with more paint.

4. The next day, finish up by using spray paint. It is not possible to get all the nooks and crannies with a paint roller and it takes too long using a small brush. The Painter's Touch Ultra Cover Flat Black Spray Paint by Rust-oleum works very well and dries fast. That product is a primer plus paint.

Highly Recommended Spray Paint for your outdoor wrought iron:

Rust-Oleum 269451 American Accents Ultra Cover, Ultra Flat Black
Rust-Oleum 269451 American Accents Ultra Cover, Ultra Flat Black

This Ultra Cover Rust-oleum paint has proven to be a winner! It covers very well and survived the harsh summer sun and a wet, cold winter.

I highly recommend it.


© 2014 Mickie Goad

Guestbook--feel free to share your thoughts on painting patio furniture:

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very helpful. I had wondered the best way to do this.

    • profile image

      Jill Wallace 2 years ago

      Great job! I need to paint a table I have, glad to know the "right way" to do it!

    • kittyhappykitty profile image

      kittyhappykitty 3 years ago

      I love collecting metal things just for painting and decoration. You have given me some terrific inspiration to get started on a few pieces that I did not know what to do with! Thank you so very much! You've made me very happy!

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Loved your project, I have some old wooden lawn furniture from my parents house. Years ago my mother was going to throw them away. I wouldn't hear of it so I took them home, and still have them today. They are due for a new paint job, so I just may have to make a lens out of the project. Thanks and nice job!!!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @julieannbrady: I must admit, I use cushions. The weave pattern is hard on this ol' body!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 3 years ago

      Great project! I like how those chairs let the air in so that you can sit directly on them or add cushions. You did a great job renovating them! Nicole Curtis would be proud.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @TreasuresBrenda: Bonnie was so generous to share this page on Twitter. Hopefully, the weather around the country will be getting better so people will be able to use their patio furniture.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      We have a rusty old patio set to save. Timely to come across your page via Bonnie's tweet on Twitter.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @ColettaTeske: Thank you for commenting on the appearance of my chairs. I think they look nice, too.

    • profile image

      ColettaTeske 3 years ago

      Thank you for the painting tips. I just bought a new home, a fixer upper, and I've got a lot of rusted metal to paint. This will help me immensely. Great job! Your chairs look beautiful!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: I agree! That is why I brought them home and repaired these wonderful outdoor chairs.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      @Mickie Gee: Most comfortable deck chairs I ever owned.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: These wrought iron chairs are so very comfortable AND they "rock". That is why they are a favorite and why I decided to refurbish them.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I remember those chairs. I had some just like them. And yes, I did repaint them at least once. Your chairs look great! Nicely done.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Looks great, thanks for sharing how you do it, sound quite easy.