Friday, July 19, 2013

Spray Painting Metal Folding Chairs


We’ve been using metal folding chairs at the kitchen table since we moved in last September.  They were really intended to be a temporary solution until we could afford some wood chairs and a banquette style bench on 2 sides of the table.  The table is tucked away in a cozy corner in the kitchen next to the stairs and we have already enjoyed many meals and chats around it.  But using chairs instead of a bench is much more limiting to the number of people (especially kid-sized people) that we can squeeze in around the table.  We have the space for more!!  I have already picked out a style of bench for Glenn to build for it that I think will look just right, and I can mentally picture how it will look.

However I am beginning to see that the banquette is a fairly big project, and I’m afraid it’s going to be pushed back bit by bit on our Priority List.  There are just too many other important things that have to come first.  Like trim in our bedroom and the new area.  Mudroom closets to hang coats this winter so all of our coats won’t be crammed onto a flimsy, tilting plastic rolling rack.  New ballet shoes and tights.  Work boots for Luke.  A few new things for school.  Pointe shoes. Clothes for some of the kids who are growing way too fast.  And so on!  I’m sure you know what I mean.

But back to our metal folding chairs!

Several years ago I painted the 2 little kid-sized metal folding tables and chairs we bought at Big Lots.  They came in bold primary colors and didn’t really go with the neutral colors of our home.  I painted them a nice soft white and recovered them in some sturdy, padded vinyl fabric.  See..


IMG_9412    IMG_1701


So although I knew I could paint the chairs in our kitchen, I had held back up till now because I kept thinking they were temporary.  Well, I finally realized that whether they stay in the kitchen for a few more years, or are replaced and become our extras for large crowds, I still want them to be pretty. 

It was easy to unscrew the back rests from the frame.  I laid them on drop cloth, cut around them leaving a generous 2-3 inches to fold over and staple to the back.  Did I remove the original fabric and staples?  No, of course not.  There just wasn’t a good reason to go to all that trouble.  Winking smile


I used Glenn’s hand stapler for the whole project, using 1/4 inch staples. 

IMG_1453  IMG_1455


The seat cushions were a little more complicated because they were secured with plastic screws which could only be removed by breaking off the tips.





This meant we had to get replacements.  We took one of them with us to Lowes and found them in the section which had auto upholstery tacks. It was easy to find the replicas and they were fairly inexpensive at 80 cents apiece.



Here’s a closer look at one.




I took the chairs outside, set them in a huddle on a big sheet I use for painting, and then gave them a coat of primer, followed by 2 or so coats of Heirloom White Rustoleum spray paint.  For eight chairs, I used 2 1/2 cans of primer, and 5 cans of spray paint.  I didn’t paint the seats or backs, other than making sure the edges looked good.  And although I painted the undersides of all the chairs, I didn’t try to get the complete coverage I wanted for the legs and sides. 




While the chairs were drying, I cut out the pieces for the seats.  I used one of the seat cushions for my first cover, and then just cut out the other 7 by laying it on top of the drop cloth and cutting around it.  Easy!




When the chairs were dry, I used clear furniture wax to protect the paint finish.  In the past, I’ve used spray polyurethane, but I didn’t have any this time.  I thought it was a good opportunity to see how the furniture wax would work on metal.  Guess what?  It worked great!  I especially like that the finish isn’t too shiny and glossy like it would be with polyurethane.  Instead it is more matte, but still keeps the paint from chipping.

Although I don’t usually like Glenn to take pictures of me while I’m doing projects, I didn’t mind this one so much because it’s not close up. Smile Plus I thought it might be fun to see that I don’t do anything very professionally, just cram myself in the middle of a project where I can work on things as quickly and efficiently as possible.



Glenn was a huge help on this project!  He removed all the staples from the old fabric so he could put the new upholstery screws in place.  Then I wrapped and stapled the new fabric onto the cushions and pressed them into place on the chairs. 



We finished them and I took a few pictures. 




I couldn’t find a recent shot of the table and chairs by themselves that gave a good view for a before look, so I used this one from last year.  I took it before we moved in, so things are a little bare.  


IMG_3080      IMG_1460


Here’s a different view, in case that wasn’t good enough. Winking smile




I still might stencil an “O” on the seats to add a little pizzazz, but for now they are so much nicer to look at than before!


They’re temporary!  But pretty. 



And isn’t this a sweet little creamer?


Have a great weekend!




I’m linking to MMS’s FFF


  1. Great idea to pretty up your chairs! The last picture you posted is very sweet... it is very pretty creamer!

  2. Thank you, Cynthia! Aren't little creamers and sugar bowls fun!?

  3. Great, as always. I know exactly what you mean about that priority list! I try not to hate it. I'm going to be asking for paint (Living and dining room) for by birthday. :) I'll be calling you! LOL

  4. Me too, Sharron! It's not nearly as fun to buy a sump pump as it would be to buy the wood we need for our mudroom closets. Somehow.
    Call me anytime - I'll be right over to help! Is it BYOPB?!

  5. Who would've thought metal folding chairs could look so great?! Love it!

  6. Isnt it amazing how the color of something can make such a difference?!

    Thanks, Sis!

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