Crusty and rusty {How to paint patio furniture}

In typical over sharing fashion, earlier this week, I shared a ridiculous amount of deets from our summer. I mentioned the b-day BBQ, but I failed to mention the b-day BBQ prep. Get ready for it, folks. I’m about to spill my guts about how to paint patio furniture and my dislike for Wal- Mart paint. This was some dramatic DIY.

How to paint patio furniture

We got the patio furniture free with the new house. So, that was super nice, but it looked like this:

How to paint patio furniture


I can’t complain because we got 9 chairs and 2 benches fo’ free, fellas. 2 of the chairs are rocking chairs and live on the front porch, 4 chairs are bouncy, one is cute and retro (see him in the back), and one is just a regular ol’ chair. But, check out their condition. Crusty and rusty.

Patio before 3

Here’s a real nice close up of my rusty beaut. Don’t mind that window mesh I was spray painting for this organization project.

How to paint patio furniture

We knew we wanted to get these suckers painted, but how? Well, I did what I always do, and went and bought some good ol’ spray paint. I bought 10 cans thinking that would cover at least the 5 chairs in the back.  I even went and bought a fancy $4 spray can nozzle, you know, so you don’t have to hurt your thumb so bad? I washed and dried my chairs and set them up for a spray-extravaganza:

How to paint patio furniture


And I sprayed and waited for it to dry, like a good kid. And I sprayed and waited for it to dry. And I sprayed and waited for it to dry. Catching my drift? It took forever, and these 2 chairs ate the 10 cans of spray paint for breakfast. And they still wanted more. (Note: Those 2 gallons of paint below were bought to save our living room walls. In short, the grey was way too dark, so we dumped white paint in to lighten it up.  More on that drama here.)

How to paint patio furniture

OK, so my 2 chairs were eating spray paint, and still looking pathetic. I was annoyed. They needed at least 2 more bottles of spray paint. Each. This method was going to be a lot of work. And at $1 per can of Wal Mart spray paint (maybe, that is where I went wrong), each chair was going to cost $7 minimum. Who knows how many cans a bench would take. The point is, I was over it. I wanted a paint sprayer. Oh and my thumbs hurt too. The dumb sprayer I bought did not work very well.

How to paint patio furniture


You can see the 2 ghetto-ly spray painted chairs here:

How to spray paint patio furniture

Super Andy to the rescue. He got on yelp, and found us some one who would spray our 11 pieces of furniture for $120. That’s $10.90 a chair. Yes, please come and save my thumbs and our crusty furniture. Ironically, 2 kids showed up with a paint sprayer and I discovered they were also from College Station, TX and even went to high school with my little brother. They set up shop, and sprayed. Oh wait, let me back up. I had to buy paint now. I quickly ran to Wal Mart and grabbed 2 gallons of exterior Color Space paint. Oh and I decided that 360 needed a quick spray makeover too, that’s why she’s out there too.

How to paint patio furniture

So, the guys set up the sprayer and went to work. 2 gallons of paint later, the paint had barley covered anything. Oh and it was peeling off, kind of like glue. Sticky, glue all over our patio furniture. Joy. The sprayer dudes said they have never seen anything like it. Here’s the culprit. And I even spent the extra $5 a gallon, and bought exterior! Grr. Note to self: Never buy Wal Mart paint again.

Wal Mart paint is badHere’s what happened, see how it’s clumpy and sticky looking? Yea, it was all over the furniture.  Andy sprinted to Home Depot, and grabbed one gallon of white exterior paint. We probably should have sanded the mess off, but we didn’t. Oops. They were free and are living outside. I was over it.
Painting patio furniture


The one gallon of paint finished all of the furniture! It was amazing what a difference the paint made. It covered about 10x better than the Wal Mart paint. Oh and meet the little paint sprayer:

Patio 2


Here is the paint sprayer in action. As you can see, it was getting dark and the furniture was not dry enough to turn over to paint the back side. So, the nice guys left us their machine and we finished up the job in the morning! Can you believe it? So nice. They came and picked up their machine the next evening.
Patio 3

And in case you want to see how the professionals use the paint sprayer, I took a little video for ya:

One last thing, if you turn the furniture over before it is completely dry, this is what happens. Yea, not fun. I had to painstakingly pick the paint out of the holes. Grr. Double grrr.

Patio 4

So, that’s patio furniture painting saga. Fun, huh? Here’s a little recap of what not to do:

  • Don’t think you are going to spray paint 11 pieces of patio furniture by hand.
  • Do rent or pay someone to use paint sprayer.
  • Don’t use outdoor Wal Mart paint in the paint sprayer.
  • Don’t  turn the pieces over until they are 100% dry. This will take 24 hours at a minimum.

But, the end result is oh so much better! Check it out:

patio 2

Now once more for a little before and after excitement:

Patio collage



Oh pretty bench, I like you.

Paint patio furniture


Have you ever used a paint sprayer? Have you ever spray painted patio furniture? Have you ever had issues with Wal Mart paint? Have you ever found a spray paint helper thing that actually works? Spill the beans…


  1. I just got free patio furniture just like yours! It wasn’t rusted, but it was a super ugly brown color. I went through 14 cans of Krylon (so it’s not just the Walmart brand) spray paint and they still need, like you said, about 2 more cans each. That isn’t happening at over $4 a can!! So, I may do exactly what you did and have someone come out with a paint sprayer. I’ve seen someone advertising that they can do any painting jobs. They looks so splotchy and ugly and my son’s first birthday party is in a few short weeks! It’s an outside party too, so these need painted. STAT! Glad to see it’s the paint and not just my ineptitude causing the problem! lol

    • Jamie Dorobek says:

      If you have more than a couple of pieces, I would 100% get a paint sprayer! As for the Wal Mart paint thing, the spray paint was OK, it’s the Wal Mart paint that I used in the paint sprayer that was bad news.

  2. It looks fantastic! I started spray painting my patio furniture this summer but I wasn’t loving it so I called it quits.

  3. Good job, although not sure I want to invest in a sprayer nor hire someone to do the job. I inherited my parents set which needs to be painted this year. My plan is to use cans of paint designed for metal, a ‘hot-dog’ roller and disposable brush.


  1. […] Here’s our little spruced up front porch now… For the record, those pillows are from Target and the cute little table is from World Market! The patio furnuture came free with the house and we gave it a little spray paint makeover! […]

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