Painting A Vintage Motel Chair

While growing up, my neighbor always had these type of chairs on her front porch. I used to love to go sit there with her and help her shell peas, so I got quite used to the feel of these chairs. There's a little "bounce" in them when you lean back :)
They are probably one of the most comfortable chairs ever designed (if not for that whole problem with them getting hotter than heck when left out in the summer sun).
So when I saw one at an estate sale for $10, I grabbed it up fast (actually I plunked my butt down in it before anyone else could lay claim to it). Fast forward to two years later and it was time for Betty Jo to get a facelift.
This is the final product.

Badminton anyone? What about a ham sandwich from the picnic basket?
Here's the before photo. A little too rusty and dirty to actually sit on.
Side by side beauty shots.
Supplies needed:

Vintage metal motel chair in bad need of a facelift

Cling wrap (Saran, Glad or whatever brand you prefer)


Painters tape

Spray paint - a rusty metal primer (less than 1 can)

Spray paint - in colors (at least one can of each color)
After spraying the primer on any really rusty areas, I just will-nilly painted everything white that was going to be white. I didn't care how much of the black got painted over because my next step was going to take care of that.
Next I used newspaper and tape to tape off any areas that I wanted to stay white.
For the curved arms and legs, I wrapped cling wrap around them and then just taped it off where it got close to the black parts (that would eventually be painted green).
I used two coats of each color. The whole project took two full days to complete because I let the white dry for 24 hours before taping it off for the green step. I didn't want to take any chances of the tape pulling off any of the fresh white paint.
And of course I had to drag out some of my vintage picnic supplies to dress it up. Lacey the labradoodle approves of the new look!
House Of Hawthornes
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2 of 9 comments
  • 3 Little Greenwoods 3 Little Greenwoods on Apr 07, 2015
    @House Of Hawthornes Love this bouncey chair! My great-aunts had a whole porch filled with these when I was little and I would love to have a set for my front porch!

  • Ft.29298732 Ft.29298732 on Jun 30, 2020

    It looks gorgeous! I too love these old chairs & have 2 different types but both lean back & rock a bit. I love that part of them. Sit & relax is what these are for. I will send pics of mine once I move them from a house I moved to for 10 years but now I’m back in my original home that I moved to in 1973 w/a newborn baby. Got stuck at other house bc of the recession of 2008/09 & the financial repercussions! I’m home now! 🌷