How To Paint Rusty Iron Patio Furniture

10 Materials
2 Hours
These antique and rusty iron ice cream parlor chairs were passed down to me by mom and her mom passed them down to her. Nowadays, many people are actually trying to faux finish a rusty look on furniture or home decor to get the vintage vibe and trust me when I say I thought about just leaving them the way they were
STEP 1: The first thing I did was to cover the wooden seats that I planned to stain later. How do you find something to cover a circle?  I just took a sheet of 8 x 10 printer paper and placed it in the center of the seat then took two more sheets (stacked) and traced around the curves of the seat and cut.  Using painters tape to hold in place I didn’t need to worry a gust of wind was going to blow it all away in the middle of spray painting.
STEP 2:  Using the wire brush, brush over the rust on the furniture to remove any loose pieces of old paint or rust and brush off any debris accumulated in the cracks and crevices in small areas around the bolts.  There were a lot of tiny crevices to go over on these chairs because of the twisted metal on the legs and the back of the chair. Wipe clean with a dry rag.
STEP 3:  Spray the Rust Primer over the entire chairs or piece of furniture.  This coating will help prevent rust occurring again.
STEP 4:   Letting this completely dry for about an hour, I then spray painted both chairs with my color of choice which was the brown hammered rust-oleum spray paint.  The “hammered” gives a more rustic industrial look.
STEP 5:  Now, it is time to stain the wooden seats.  These were stained before but since it has been several years ago it was time to freshen it up.  The stain not only gives the wood a rich deep color that accents the wood, it also helps preserve the wood.
Sanding before staining wasn’t necessary for these chairs.  It was a pretty smooth surface.  Normally, I would use a sanding sponge or electric sander if needed.
For the stain,  I used what we had on hand which was the Canyon Brown Olympic Maximum stain + sealant.  If you can’t find this color and brand at your local Home Depot or Lowes, here is a comparable brand and color  (Similar-Dark Walnut).  I chose to use a special flat brush  paintbrush  (used mostly for crafts) instead of a cloth to apply the stain because I had more control around the edges between the iron and the wood.  The first coat of stain absorbed rather quickly into the wood so took less time to dry.  My second and third coat of stain was tacky for a day or two.  I believe it was because it needed more time to completely dry in between my applications.  If you plan to apply multiple coats, I would advise to wait 24 hrs. in between applications or whenever it is not tacky to the touch.
Once everything is dry, your’e finished!  Yay!  In the photos, it doesn’t look like a drastic difference but they really do have more of an industrial feel which goes with much of our home decor style.
Now the problem is where to put them!  I’m sure they will get moved around from the front porch...
to the back deck.
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Diane and Dean DIY
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  1 question
  • Nancy Nancy on Apr 02, 2018

    I inherited four of these chairs. My problem is that three of them are uncomfortable to sit in because the back rest is pushed backwards. Do you know of any way to straighten them back up?

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3 of 14 comments
  • MC Cronin MC Cronin on Apr 02, 2018

    Just beautiful

  • Kathy A Kathy A on Apr 24, 2018

    Looks great; I can see them being brought into the house for holiday meals when extra seating is needed!

    • Diane and Dean DIY Diane and Dean DIY on Apr 24, 2018

      Such a great idea, Kathy. We are always needing extra chairs for the holidays and I never thought about bringing these inside!