Outdoor Chair Makeover with Fabric Spray Paint
I’m a big fan of Rust-Oleum Spray Paint, it’s an essential part of my DIY toolkit. When they launched their Rust-Oleum Outdoor Fabric Spray Paint I got a bunch of DMs asking if I tried it or if I was planning a project with it. The answer is “YES!” I recently gave these outdoor chairs a major makeover, and I am quite pleased with how they turned out. Keep reading to get all the details on the process, Do’s and Don’ts, plus my recommendation for the perfect project for this outdoor spray paint.
I was looking for some chairs to try these fabric paints on, and was coming up short at the thrift stores (thrift tip: you’ll have more luck finding outdoor furniture in the off-season!) I found this yellow one at Goodwill for a couple dollars, but I still need to find a round cushion for it. I spotted the other two at my In-laws house. My MIL said she found them on the side of the road and was happy to offer them up for a makeover. All the pillows were from Goodwill for $2-$3 each. I’m glad I grabbed the matching set because I ended up using them to recover the chairs.
The Spray Paint
Rust-Oleum Outdoor Fabric Paint: This spray is specifically meant for existing outdoor fabric, it is not intended for indoor fabric. It dries soft & flexible because it’s water-based unlike traditional spray paint. It’s got great adhesion to fabric with water repellency and after applied has weather and UV resistant properties. It comes in 9 colors, and I used the colors Medium Gray and Khaki.
Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer: Use on any rusty, metal surface to instantly convert rust to a flat black, paintable surface. The best part? It protects and prevents future rust. This oil based formula creates a bond with a rusted surface that can be easily painted (I ended up not painting and leaving it the black color).
First, I removed the cushion so I could tackle the prep work on the chair frames.
I prepped the chairs by hosing them down and wiping off the cobwebs, and then sanding the rusted areas flat. If there is any chipping paint, brush the chipping areas with a wire brush.
Next, I sprayed the metal chair base with Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer to stop the rusting, and create a smooth, paintable surface. I ended up really loving the black as is, it looked like wrought iron! After covering all the rust the chairs looked brand new! It took 2 cans to paint the 3 chairs with two coats.
Time to transform the cushions! I pivoted mid-project because the sunflower fabric was not actually outdoor fabric, so I used fabric from a worn outdoor pillow from Goodwill to reupholster it. I cut the back off the pillow, removed the stuffing, then wrapped it around the seat. Using a staple gun, I attached the fabric to the bottom of the chair. It’s important to pull the fabric tight as you work your way around.
After I cut off the excess fabric, I flipped it over to spray with the Outdoor Fabric Paint. I was going for a classic look, the Medium Gray was perfect. Like regular spray paint, multiple light layers is key. AND the Rust-Oleum nozzle is clutch for getting a consistent spray and avoiding drips! I did three coats to cover the pattern on the fabric with a little extra on the dark parts of the flower.
I wanted to try something a little different with the other pillow and created an ombre effect with two colors Medium Gray and Khaki. I sprayed half of the pillow with 3 coats of each color. In the middle, I pulled the can about 12” away from the pillow and overlapped the colors for the ombre effect.
The Do’s & Don’t:
Do use on weathered cushions/outdoor fabrics with existing water repellency.
Don’t use this product on new pillows or cotton pillows meant for indoors.
Don’t use with stencil or design projects.
Don’t use on outdoor rugs with a lot of foot traffic.
Do use a dark color if your fabric has a dark pattern.
Don’t need to use a primer, the Rust-Oleum primer is discontinued.
How does it hold up?
I have had the pillow sitting outside for a couple weeks, and the paint has not faded or changed at all. I’m really impressed! The rain rolls right off the pillow! It is also softening up more with use, and I think it will continue through the summer.
My Project Recommendations:
In my opinion, the perfect project for this Outdoor Fabric Spray would be outdoor chair cushions that have an outdated pattern or are stained/worn from being outside. We’ve all seen sun-faded cushions where the shape of the chairs is great, but the color of the cushions make it all look dated. Spraying the chair and the cushion a solid color can totally update the look and give a set you are considering getting rid of a new life! I wouldn’t recommend tackling a large project like an entire couch, or an umbrella. The product would work but the cost of how many cans you’d need to cover that surface area might not be worth it.
Have you tried this yet? Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments!
This project was made in partnership with Rust-Oleum, thank you for supporting my amazing sponsors!
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