How to Refresh Metal Garden Decor

3 Materials
2 Hours

Do you have decorative metal items in your garden that you absolutely love? Does it drive you crazy how quickly they wear and rust in the sun and rain? My Thrift Store Decor Team project for May is upcycling my favorite metal garden decor–dragonflies! Use these techniques to refresh any of your metal garden decor items.

Tired Metal Garden Decor

Here are my dragonflies that have withstood the Alabama weather for the last 3 years. The factory paint has faded and chipped and the metal beneath the paint is now quite rusty in many spots. But the size and scale are perfect for my deck. So I am giving them a refresh for the summer! Here they are last July after our new deck was completed.

With metal decor that has rusted, it is important to try to remove as much of the rust as possible. This prevents further erosion of the metal.

Where to Start the Refresh of Metal

I started with an electric sander and sanded all of the flat spots with rust.Then I used my Dremel with the sanding wheel attachment to get to hard to reach spots.

You don’t have to remove all of the rust but get as much as you can.

As always, after sanding, wipe down your project piece with some soapy water or TSP to remove dust and any debris particles. Prepping your surface for paint is so important. You paint adheres better to a clean and slightly rough surface.

Time to Paint the Metal Dragonflies

We are ready to spray paint. My go to spray paint is Rustoleum 2X for coverage and ease of use. I selected Poppy Red from my on hand stash of spray paint from previous projects. I also used this gorgeous Cosmo from Colorshot, another great coverage, easy to use paint. And of course, I started with a liberal coat of Rustoleum 2X white with primer to give the project a good base. If you are using vibrant colors, always prime with white so that your true color pops.

I used Frogtape to tape off the edges on my dragonflies so that I can make a colorful border. Taping off any area that you don’t want painted saves time as I won’t need multiple coats when I trim the edges in another color.

You can see more details on how I sprayed these over on the blog.

After the paint dried, I removed the Frogtape.

Add Some Detail

I used contrasting but vibrant colors to edge the dragonflies. And I highlighted some of the detail with craft paint and a thin paint brush.

The final step is to spray a few thin coats of polyurethane over the entire dragonflies. This helps protect the metal and paint further from the harsh Alabama weather. Maybe I can get another 2 seasons out of these dragonflies. We will see.

The Final Decor

I placed the refreshed dragonflies on the wall where they were originally. Did you know you can buy hooks to hang items on your vinyl siding? How handy are these?

One dragonfly is trimmed in teal and the other is trimmed in blue.

They really brighten up this corner.

And our view is a little bit more colorful all day long.

Here is a video of the complete process:

Items Used in this Project:

  • 3M safety glasses
  • RZ mask
  • Frogtape
  • Sandpaper
  • palm sander
  • 3M mini sander
  • Dremel with sanding wheel attachement
  • Rustoleum 2x spray paint White with primer
  • Rustoleum 2x spray paint Poppy Red
  • Colorshot spray paint Cosmo
  • small paint brushes
  • craft paint
  • Min Wax Polycrylic Spray Urethane
  • Hooks for Vinyl Siding

Other Projects

You can use this same process for any metal garden decor. My next project is a group of plant stands that need reviving. I will also be painting some galvanized metal containers, vintage items, and garden chairs.

Here is the same process on a the vertical herb garden I created last month. You will often see her in the background of any deck projects and photos.

There are so many things you can refresh for your summer garden, deck, patio or pool area! Don’t let a little faded paint and surface rust keep you from using what you already have!

Thrift Store Decor Team Projects

Head over to the blog to see the other fabulous 9 projects from this month’s Thrift Store Decor team! Browse through and leave the girls a comment on what you like! We love to hear from you.

My Repurposed Life Farmhouse Bar Stool

House Of Hawthornes DIY Nautical Farmhouse Planter

Sadie Seasongoods Making Boho Vases from Clear Glass Vases

Domestically Speaking DIY Frosted Seaglass Vase

Petticoat Junktion Spray Paint A Trumeau Mirror

Our Southern Home How to Strip and Bleach Wood Furniture

Organized Clutter Round Wooden Box Sunflower Table

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia DIY Welcome Porch Sign

Reinvented Delaware Lampshade Makeover Idea for a Front Porch

Shop at Blu That’s me! You’re Here!

Suggested materials:
  • Spray paint   (on hand)
  • Sand paper   (on hand)
  • Sanding tools   (on hand)
Shop at Blu
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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