Fresh Approach To Plastic Furniture

from Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living
Update your patio furniture with a decorative paint job – there's sure to be a paint color that will fit into your lawn and garden décor.

There’s no argument plastic outdoor furniture is here to stay. It’s cheap, durable, stackable, and, oh yeah, about as exciting as a slab of concrete. Colors? Well, you’re usually limited to stark white or garden green. However, with paints that bond to plastic now available, the picture can be a lot more colorful.

These special paints offer a wide range of colors so your outdoor furniture can achieve a custom look. Take the furniture shown here. It’s purely functional, but with a base coat and some freehand brushstrokes, it becomes ornamental. And anything you can do with plastic furniture, you can also do with other outdoor plastics, from disposable nursery containers seeking a new lease on life to garage-sale finds that have lost their original luster.

We included freehand striping to give this project an extra-special look. But you can simply spray-paint the furniture and leave it at that, or you can add stencil designs of your choosing. Any way you choose, you’re bound to create something a lot more exciting and artistically inspired than the usual stack of white chairs.


Step 1: Find a well-ventilated area with low humidity and a temperature between 50°F and 80°F. Cover the surrounding surfaces with drop cloths and don a face mask to avoid inhaling fumes.

Step 2:
Remove all loose particles and dirt from furniture. For new or unweathered objects, wipe surfaces with a standard paint thinner. For aged or weathered objects, wipe surfaces with an ammonia-base cleaner. Apply the liquid to the wiping cloth, not the furniture.

Step 3:
Base-coat furniture. (We used Krylon Fusion spray paint.) Hold can 8–10 inches from surface and spray in a sweeping motion. Begin away from the surface and continue each pass off the other side. Overlap each pass by about a third.

Step 4:
Apply multiple light coats to avoid runs and drips. Depending on color, this may entail six or more light coats. Additional coats can be applied every 30 seconds. Krylon Fusion dries to the touch in 15 minutes and can be handled after one hour.

Optional Steps
If you wish to add stripes as we did with this project, you have two options: Mask off surfaces and spray additional colors over the base coat, or find a brush-on paint in colors similar to your base coat and make your own color mixes. (Krylon Fusion does not lend itself well to spraying into a jar and brush-painting.)

Step 5:
We selected Krylon Kids’ Room paint in order to match Krylon Fusion colors. Here are the approximate mixes we used in this project; adjust as desired while mixing.

  • Pink: 75 percent white, 20 percent pink, and 5 percent yellow
  • Yellow: 85 percent white and 15 percent yellow
  • Sage green: 75 percent white, 15 percent green, and 10 percent red
  • Cobalt blue: 40 percent white, 30 percent blue, and 30 percent red
Step 6: Hand-paint stripes on the furniture, layering as desired and letting the paint dry after each color. (A sketch may be useful in determining how you wish to layer colors.) Use good-quality artist’s brushes in smaller flat and round sizes, and start at the top and move down to avoid smudging paint with your hands. Second and third coats may be necessary depending upon opaqueness desired. Drying time takes from 15 minutes to one hour, depending on humidity and thickness of coat.

Cleanup and storage
If the paint you use is oil-base (like ours), you’ll have to wash brushes in turpentine. Store unused paint mixtures in air-tight containers placed upside down. Store furniture under cover where winters are cold.

Eliminate the guess work and see what your house will look like before you redecorate.
•DIY Ideas: How To Garden
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•Designing for Outdoor Living
•Planning a Comely Courtyard
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•Outdoor Fabrics and Rooms
•Outdoor Rooms

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