DIY: How to Paint a Vintage, Wrought Iron Chair
My Deck Chairs Needed Restoration
My four wrought iron chairs used to be ivory white when I got them for Mother's Day sometime in the last century. If they were sold on Etsy, they would definitely be classified as "vintage."
About ten years ago, I gave my oldest daughter the chairs when she and her husband moved into their first home. Of course, she did not like the ivory color—white really shows environmental dirt and mildew—so she spray-painted them black. Not knowing any better, she did not sand the original paint before applying the new paint. You can guess what happened after—the black paint flaked off! After years of repainting, she gave up and returned them to me. Luckily, there was only a little bit of rust that could be sanded off easily.
Here is the correct way to refurbish wrought iron chairs the right way.
How to Refurbish Wrought Iron Chairs
- Remove any loose paint and surface rust.
- Sand all surfaces thoroughly.
- Paint the chair with a paint roller.
- Give it a touch-up using spray paint (if necessary).
What You'll Need to Refurbish These Chairs
Time required: Several days
- 1-quart Rust-oleum oil-based, flat black paint can
- 2 Rust-oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover spray paint cans
- Sanding block or sandpaper
- Orbital sander (optional)
- Wire brush
- Paint scraper
- Drop cloth (if painting indoors)
- Paint roller (3-inches wide)
- Refills for roller
- Paint roller pan and a liner
Step-by-Step Instructions for Restoring Wrought Iron Chairs
1. Remove any loose paint and surface rust.
Preparation is key for any paint job. If you are patient and take your time sanding the surface to a smooth and clean feel, you'll get a much more durable and beautiful finish.
- Use a paint scraper or wire brush to remove loose or peeling paint.
- Scrape or sand off any rust that you can see.
I found that I could quickly get the loose old paint off the chairs by using a pressure washer.
- If you do not have a pressure washer, adjust your spray nozzle to the thin, jet spray.
- Turn your water tap on full blast.
- Allow the chairs to dry thoroughly.
2. Sand all surfaces thoroughly.
- Use an orbital sander, regular sandpaper, or sanding a sanding block (mine's sitting on the seat of the chair) to rough up the surface of any original paint that can not be removed.
- You don't have to get every bit of paint off of the chairs.
- You do have to remove all the flaking paint.
- The goal is to get a smooth and even surface.
3. Paint the chair with a paint roller.
- Lay down a drop cloth to prevent paint from getting on the ground. This will save you some cleanup time.
- Paint the chair using a 3-in paint roller with a thick nap. I found that this gave me maximum control, especially in the bends and crevices.
- Apply two coats of paint.
I used oil-based, rust preventative paint, specifically the . I recommend using canned paint over spray paint because for these wrought iron chairs, most of the spray will just go through it rather than on it. Rust-Oleum can of flat black paint
I used a one-inch brush to get the parts that the roller could not cover, but be careful with this technique. You want to avoid over-saturating your brush because it can lead to paint runs.
Oil-based paint takes a while to dry (8 hours between coats for me). I easily painted all four chairs in one day—although it did take me all day.
4. Touch-Up Using Spray Paint (If Necessary)
After allowing the paint to cure overnight, touch-up any missed spots using spray paint. It is not possible to get all the nooks and crannies with a paint roller, and it takes too long using a small brush. I used by Rust-oleum which worked very well and dried quickly. I highly recommend it for touching up and smaller paint jobs! Painter's Touch Ultra Cover Flat Black Spray Paint
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
My paint is not flaky. The black rubs off when you touch the metal. We had them professionally power coated about 4 years ago, but they rub off black on everything now. What should I do to stop my wrought iron furniture paint from rubbing off? The furniture is in great shape. Tulsa, OK
Maybe spray or paint with a clear coat paint. I would also get in touch with the company that painted the chairs.Helpful 10
© 2014 Mickie Gee