How to Paint a Plastic Chair

How to Paint a Plastic Chair

Level: Experienced

Weather and sun can fade your plastic patio chairs’ appearance over time, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw them out and replace them. You can use spray paint to renew and brighten them up. This is a simple weekend project for anyone with any level of DIY experience. Just follow these steps to get the job done right.

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    • Step 1: Clean the Chair

      Wash plastic furniture thoroughly, using hot water, all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. If furniture has been outside for a long period of time or has stubborn stains from mold or mildew, use a cleaner with ammonia. Spray it down from all angles using a garden hose. Dry each plastic chair using a towel and then let each sit to air dry completely.

    • Step 2: Prepare Plastic Chair for Painting

      Prepare before painting your plastic chairs by covering any non-plastic surfaces, such as metal legs, with painter’s tape. Choose a good workspace with plenty of ventilation, preferably outside, and cover the floor or ground with drop cloths or newspapers.

      Some plastic chairs may require a light sanding before painting, particularly if they have been painted before. You only need to lightly scuff the surface so that the primer and paint will adhere well. Use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge to go over the entire surface to be painted. Before sanding, test out your abrasive on an inconspicuous part of the chair to make sure that it doesn’t create visible and irreparable scratches. If you’re unsure, avoid sanding and just skip to priming.

    • Step 3: Prime the Chair
      PrimerOX Rust

      Use an outdoor primer formulated for use on plastic, such as True Value EasyCare® Premium Décor Spray Enamel. Start by shaking the can thoroughly and then spraying the entire chair, applying in a sweeping motion about 12 to 18” from the surface.

      Safety Alert!

      When using spray paint and primer, wear safety glasses and a dust mask for protection from paint mist.

      Let the primer dry for the amount of time recommended on the packaging. Priming your chair allows you to paint the chair using any kind of spray paint. This is helpful if you want to use a particular color not available in paints made for plastic.

      Helpful Tip

      You can also skip priming by painting with True Value X-O Rust Paint & Primer in One.

    • Step 4: Paint the Chair

      Apply a thin coat of paint using a can of X-O Rust Paint & Primer in One or EasyCare® Premium Décor Spray Enamel (satin finish is ideal for plastic). Hold the can at least 12" away and spray in a sweeping motion. Let the paint dry before applying another coat to the plastic chair. The amount of coats you will need will depend on the piece of furniture itself and your own personal judgment. When you’re happy with the paint coverage, let the furniture dry for at least 24 hours before using it. Remove any painter’s tape after the paint has completely dried.

      Great job! Your plastic chair looks revamped and ready for recreation.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

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