Painting Life Back into a Great Set of Vintage Metal Patio Furniture

Painting Life Back into a Great Set of Vintage Metal Patio Furniture

This post is very dear to my heart.  This set of patio furniture had sat on my grandparent’s front porch for as long as I can remember.  As kids, we spent a lot of time playing outside, and sitting in these chairs.  Especially in winter, because it was always 1,000 degrees inside the house.  Grandma liked to keep the fire stoked:)  Anyway, when Grandma passed away, the family got to go through and buy what they wanted before the public came through, and I had to have these.  They bring back good memories every time I look at them.

Unfortunately, they had taken a beating, and multiple coats of paint, through the years.  They sat at my house for almost four years because I was dreading having to take the paint off all the way to the metal.  That would take weeks…

Before pictures.

Then, a friend told me about sand blasting, especially since they are metal.  It didn’t take me long before I had taken them in to a local monument (or headstone) manufacturer to get them sand blasted. For all four pieces, it took him two hours to get them done.  I was looking at weeks to get it done myself.  Here they are sand blasted.  No more rust, or four layers of paint! 

After I got them back, I immediately got to work on them.  I ended up putting 12 coats, 2 coats for each product on both sides, of all three paint products on them. Yikes.  I started with Rustoleum’s Clean Metal Primer, Ultimate Finish, and did two coats on the undersides, let them dry overnight, and then did two coats on the top sides the next night.  I loved how fast it dried in between the coats.

And then it was time to paint.  I really liked the white color of the primer, but since I LOVE color, I decided to go with Rustoleum’s Warm Yellow for the big table and two chairs, and Colonial Red for the little table.  I loved how the two colors go so well together, but are definitely different, especially since the little table doesn’t appear to be the same style as the other pieces.  I did two coats for each piece on the under sides and let them dry overnight. 

I did the same for the top sides the next evening…

I loved how they were looking at this stage. Also, because I was letting each side fully dry overnight, I didn’t get any cracking or bubbling that sometimes happens.  I was pretty happy about that. In the above picture you can see where the rust had pitted the surface of this table.  I actually think this one was the worst out of all, but I like all of the imperfections.

And I did the same for the last step. I put on two coats of Rustoleum’s Crystal Clear Enamel for the bottom sides, let dry overnight, and then did two coats on the top sides.  The last of the 12 coats!  I really hope this last step protects them from the elements.  Ultimately, these will go in my screened in porch we hope to be building in June, so they won’t be totally out in the weather, but I would like them to have an extra amount of protection. For shock value, here is a before and after picture. Vintage Metal Lawn Furniture before and after

Whew!  Also, I was going to mention that I did use one of those cheap sprayers you put over the can nozzles. I have to say I love that thing, and am thankful I tried it.  I believe my finger/arm might have fallen off if I hadn’t:) Here they are done.  This was the actual color of the pieces, taken without a flash, and in natural daylight.  I love how the green grass makes these colors pop!

Thanks for looking, and I love comments, so feel free to leave one if you want!


Linking up to Funky Junk Interiors, Between Naps on the Porch,  Tip Junkie, Domestically Speaking, Miss Mustard Seed and Thrifty Decor Chick.

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Furniture Feature Fridays

TDC Before and After

18 responses »

  1. OMG, Sarah. I know you are the only one who could see the beauty of these items. I laughed about the house being so hot. Great memories, sweetie. That was a big project, can’t wait to sit at them and enjoy the breeze and drinks. I am super proud of you and know Grandma would be too. She would loved to have seen them looking like they are now.

  2. I love the old metal sets. My maternal grandmother had that table and chairs and I would’ve loved to get them. I have been hunting down reproductions but have yet to find some. Thanks for the tip on sand blasting, and where you went to get it done. Great idea.

    • Thank you. I looked in the Yellow Pages under sand blasting and found them, so you might try that, if you find any furniture. Good luck on your search!

    • It is amazing how certain things can trigger happy memories. I love knowing I can use them, and remember the good times.

  3. OMG!! I have exactly the same pieces of old furniture that my sweet sweet daddy sat in for my whole life while living at home!! and they are in the same bad shape as yours were. and I’ve been thinking the exact same thing….waaay too much work for me to fix. but I had to have them …he passed 21 yrs ago TODAY…….so this must be serendipitous,…reading your blog. I WILL take them to be sandblastede and I WILL repaint them.,,,,,,,,,,thanky you…thank you!!!

    • I do hope you can get yours redone as well. I think it was serendipitous that you should see this post on the anniversary day. You will have to let me know when they are finished. I would love to see them.

  4. So glad you posted this. I have some metal furniture on the porch of our cottage at the coast. I noticed this weekend it was getting very rusting from sitting all winter with no tender loving care. I’ll have to find a sandblaster in our area as well! Yours looks beautiful!

    • Thank you! I have to say that sand blasting is the way to have gone for this project. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken me:) Good luck on yours!

  5. Oh, I am so jealous! MY grandparents had 2 chairs like this where I sat and learned how to “visit”, Southern Style. That was way back in the 50’s and 60’s…how I wish I had those chairs…enjoy.

  6. I have that same set that belonged to a neighbor who passed away. I have also tried to remove all the paint, but will end up taking them to a sandblaster too. Yours turned out just beautiful!

    • Thank you, Macey! They charged me by the minute, and I believe it was $1.25 for each minute. I can’t really remember the exact price, but it ended up being about $150 for the 2 hours. Sorry I can’t be more exact!

  7. I am hoping to get my hands on one chair from my husband’s grandparents home. It is pretty rusty, not sure it is salvageable. May take your idea and take to someone to sandblast. I have an old metal canner, approximately 2 ft long which is rusted. I would like to use it as a planter in the yard. Wonder if the same would hold true, getting it sand blasted as well?

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