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How to Spray Paint Plastic Chairs

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Don’t throw away that UGLY outdoor furniture! This easy DIY ANYONE can do shows how to spray paint plastic chairs without spending a lot of money or time!

I like free stuff. Free is good, but sometimes you need to spruce up the free stuff. Know what I mean?

Today’s project is a short little tutorial on how to spray paint plastic chairs. I’m thinking you probably have a couple of ugly chairs in your backyard that need a makeover, too! Or maybe a little kid’s table or side table made of plastic.

This chair was in dire need of transformation and since I love pops of color I knew the backyard was the perfect place for them. 

Materials

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Step 1. Find a chair or piece of furniture.

A bird sitting on a chair

In our neighborhood, people are always throwing out chairs but you can also be on the lookout at yard sales and thrift stores.

Seriously, if everyone knew what a quick transformation a coat of spray paint provided those chairs would be snatched up!

Step 2. If necessary, sand to obtain a smooth surface.

Update: I repainted this chair 4 years later and sanded areas that needed it.

Step 3. Clean chair.

using simple green to clean plastic chair

Plastic chairs tend to absorb all sorts of debris and stains from living outdoors in all types of weather.

All I did was scrub with a good cleaner (you can even get one specifically designed for plastic) but more than likely you won’t get the chair perfectly clean. That’s alright! Paint covers a multitude of sins!

Step 4. Let the chair dry.

I made sure I saved plenty of time for the plastic to dry out so the paint would adhere well. No sense skipping this step and messing up the final product!

Step 5. What kind of paint do you use on plastic chairs?

The spray paint market is filled with all kinds of spray paint. Too many to choose from! I would choose a product that’s formulated especially for a plastic surface such as this spray paint for plastic.

If you’re not aware, prices of all supplies have gone sky high and often there are shortages. Just check big box stores, home and gardening stores, Amazon and google!

Step 6. Apply the first coat to the bottom of the chair and any areas that will be seen.

spray painting chair outside

Nothing fancy about spray painting. No priming is needed but you can add a coat of outdoor spray paint and then top with the plastic type.

Make sure and layer on a decent first coat and let it dry for about 45 minutes. Since I’m a messy painter I used plastic underneath to protect the yard. You might want to put on old shoes, too. ~eye roll~

Step 6. Turn your piece over and paint the remaining areas.

plastic chair spray painted red

You don’t have to waste paint on the underside of the seat but check for nooks and crannies that will be visible. Let dry for another few minutes.

Step 7. Repeat for a second coat on all areas.

painted red plastic chair

I found two coats to be sufficient, which ended up using about 1 1/2 cans of paint per chair. I’m probably a little more liberal but for just a few bucks you’ve got brand new chairs!

Step 8. Add a protective topcoat.

I actually chose a matte color and wanted a top coat that was also a gloss. But I recommend that you seal your chairs with a protective top coat, especially if they will be seeing any kind of weather. 

spray painted chair outside

Step 9. How long will the painted chairs or furniture survive outside in the weather?

Chair update: these chairs lasted 2-3 years out in the elements in our backyard. I live in NC where the temperature is probably considered moderate. We get down in the teens in winter and 90’s in the summer.

If you’re not going to use them during the winter and you have room for them in storage I’d take them indoors. They’ll last longer!

When I wanted to update them I simply sprayed them again with a gloss and love how it looks!

It doesn’t have to be perfect especially if there is no protection from the weather.

A statue of a picnic table

I think learning how to spray paint plastic chairs qualifies as one of the easiest DIY projects anyone can do!

What do you think? Do you have some old chairs or furniture you want to paint now?

red spray painted chair

More painting tips:

7 Chalk Painting Tips for Beginners
How to Use Chalk Paint Wax + Distressing
How to Paint Over Dark Walls
How to Stain Your Wood Deck

How to Spray Paint Plastic Chairs

Don’t throw away that UGLY outdoor furniture! This easy DIY demonstrates how anyone can spray paint plastic chairs without spending a lot of money or time!

Materials
  

  • 1 spray cleaner
  • 1 sheet sandpaper
  • 1 can spray paint for plastic
  • 1 can protective gloss top coating

Instructions
 

  • Find a chair or other piece of furniture.
  • If necessary, sand to obtain a smooth surface.
  • Clean chair.
  • Let the chair dry.
  • What kind of paint do you use on plastic chairs?
  • Apply the first coat to the bottom of the chair and any areas that will be seen.
  • Turn your piece over and paint the remaining areas.
  • Repeat for a second coat on all areas.
  • Add a protective topcoat.
  • How long will the painted chairs or furniture survive outside in the weather/
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33 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this article. I Live in a high rise senior apartment building. My friend gave me two white plastic chairs and I have been wanting to clean them and spray paint them. I love the color of your chairs and you set them up so beautifully!Mr Carson looks like a wonderful addition to your backyard and I’m sure he is a treasured member of your family. I’m looking forward to two much prettier patio chairs thanks to you. God bless!

    1. Hi, Connie. Thanks so much for sharing about your apartment and patio. I think it’s wonderful that you’re creating beauty wherever you can find it and I know you’ll enjoy those FREE plastic chairs even more now! And yes, Mr. Carson is a spoiled member of our household!

  2. When I was a kid, my mom , also expert at making things nice on a budget, she bought us kids a white plastic table/seat set that I always loved, but now it is hopelessly discolored. I kept it, hoping to one day find a way to save it….and now I have it! I can hardly wait to try it out & maybe find a place for this treasured set on my balcony.
    Thank you & I look forward to finding more ideas on your blog!

    1. Hi, Rachel. I’m so glad you shared the story of the table from your childhood. I do hope painting it will help you enjoy it even longer. I’d love for you to subscribe to my blog for more tips on creating a treasured home!

  3. Love the idea of sprucing up old plastic chairs and giving them a new life. The red colour just pops up in your backyard and looks so inviting. Thanks for the post, I will definitely paint my boring plastic chairs which I’ve been meaning to throw away 🙂 Time to go shopping now.

  4. Hi Marty, I don’t have plastic chairs that need spray painting but I do have a very old yellow plastic clothes hamper that could use a re-do. Thanks for this, now I can do it!! 🙂

  5. This is perfect for some chairs i just bought. I like the chairs but not so much the color!! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Marty ! Can you paint vinyl straps on outdoor patio chairs & chaise lounge. The are the topical pool white chairs.
    Thank
    Lucy Orr

    1. Hi, Lucy. I’m not exactly sure because I’ve never tried it before. My thought is that the chalk paint wouldn’t adhere to the straps very well. You could always try it on the underside of the chair and see how you like it. Good luck!

  7. What a great tip…..I’ve never thought of painting dingy chairs (mine really need this!!!!)…..Let me share a tip I have about painting chairs…..paint the bottom first… Stools, tables, chairs, anything with legs….turn upside down and paint first….then flip it back over and paint. You don’t have to wait for anything to dry. (usually)

  8. Great job Marty. Especially love the colors. I have to say your table cloth looks vintage. Very similar to some I have. Love it all.

  9. I thought that this was a great idea. I have recently got into painting everything, so why not the garden chairs! I went to buy the spray and here in UK it’s actually more expensive per spray than the cost of a new chair ?

  10. I have always painted the underneath side of my projects first, too. Then you can turn it over and paint the top side while the underneath side is still wet and let them both dry at the same time. Saves time! Once dry, paint the underneath side again and flip over while wet and paint the upper side again and let dry. Much faster!

  11. Marty, your DIYs always inspire me so much! I’ve currently got a bathroom that I demo’d that I’m waiting to get finished up….. (inspired by you). Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, your readers. Be encouraged, my friend!

  12. I love this. My chairs look horrible and are boring white. I never thought of painting them. Thank you

  13. The previous owners of our house left some plastic Adirondack chairs in the back yard. I love the chair shape but they are brown! I am going to try this with a happier color!

  14. Paint the chair create a new change in the old chair and through this, you give a new look to the old chair. The method to ain the old chair that you mention in the above is useful and I also think to adopt when I pain my chair. Excellent Information.

  15. We definitely need to do this to our plastic chairs. They’re looking way too old and worn out at the moment and with Christmas fast approaching we’re going to need them to look sit-worthy.

    Oh, and Mr. Carson is such a cutie pie.

  16. I am so happy to find this blog. For 3 years I moved from one country to another and at the beginning it is kind of expensive to buy all new furniture for a big apartment. I remember finding two plastic chairs on the street, someone was throwing them out. I gave them a home on my sunny balcony but they look bad… Bad. The white is more grey. This spring I plan give them a new life. Thank you very much!

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