Spray Painting, Protecting & Revitalizing A Vintage Patio Set

There’s just something about eating outdoors that I love. I’m especially tickled to have a patio right off my kitchen in my new home in the Sonoran Desert. The wrought iron lattice dining set which I brought with me from Santa Barbara was long overdue for a face lift. Time to grab the paints, sanding block and rags and spring into action. This is all about painting, protecting and revitalizing a much loved patio set.

We get a lot of sun here in Tucson and it shines even stronger in the warmer months. This vintage patio set from the 1950’s was given to me by my mother who had gotten it from a friend when she lived in Sonoma, CA. It was originally pale yellow, then I painted it hunter green for my mom and now it’s brilliant blue. It was peeling in many spots and 7 years had passed since I last painted it. I really wanted to get it done before spring rolled around.


The steps I took to spray painting, protecting & revitalizing this vintage patio set:

1- Sand where needed. I spot sanded the chairs & did a more thorough sanding of the table surface.

2- Vacuum to remove all the flecks of paint  & any surface dirt.

3- Wash with a solution of 1/3 white vinegar to 2/3 water.

4- Rinse off & let dry.

5- Apply primer where necessary. I primed the chairs in the spots where I sanded & lightly coated the table with primer (except for the top which I thoroughly primed).

6- Spray paint the chairs & the table. I did 3 coats on the chairs with a 4th on the backs where the sun hits more. The table I gave 4 coats & a 5th on the top.

7- Spray a protective coating. I did 2 coats on the chairs & 3 on the table.

A detail of the patio set before painting

A close up to show how the chairs looked before painting.

Close up of the vintage patio set

You can see the table before painting & 1 of the chairs after painting.


100 grit sanding sponge

Primer, also in a spray can.

Spray paint. I used brilliant blue gloss & cans for this project. This is my favorite spray paint because it covers so well.

Ultra cover spray coating. After all, why do all that work & not protect it. Plus, it has a UV protectant which I really need here in sunshine central.

My tips for spray painting, protecting & revitalizing (& transforming too!):

* Do it when the temps are not too hot & not too cold. Between 55 – 85 F is good.

*It’s best to paint out of the hot, direct sun. Find a more shaded spot.

*Avoid painting on a windy day. If you’re painting in the garage, be sure to open the door for adequate ventilation.

*Create a chamber if you can. I used 2 very large boxes (which you’ll see in the video) to protect my driveway & garage floor. I set up my saw horses with a sheet of plastic over them to catch some of the back spray. Some use drop cloths for this.

*Sand & prime if necessary. I’m in a dry climate which is less prone to rust so I went easy on the primer. I find primer to be very useful when I’m spray something metal like this because it’s an extra measure of protecting & the paint seems to glide right over it.

*Be sure to wash whatever it is you’re painting. You don’t want to paint over dirt &/or flecks of paint.

Cleaning the chairs after sanding

 Doing proper prep & washing the chairs after sanding.

*Shake the can well to mix the paint. Just like paint in a can you want to get the pigments blended. I initially shake the can about 100 times. A bit of arm exercise thrown in too!

*Wear a glove when spraying to protect your hand from turning into a painted work of art. You can also use a tool like this one to make the job a little easier.

*Hold the can about 12″ away from what you’re spraying. You don’t want to be too close or too far away.

*Apply multiple light coats, rather than 1 or 2 heavy coats. The paint will drip right off.

*Let the paint thoroughly dry before applying the next coat.

*Apply a protectant coat. It’s not expensive & really helps to protect the paint.

Revitalizing A Vintage Patio Set

It’s time consuming to prep & paint, but the results are so worth it!

I’ve found that anything with a lattice pattern takes more coats of paint because you loose a fair amount of it in the cut outs. In order to thoroughly coat the lattice, you need to spray up and down, back and forth and then slightly at an angle. It’s hard to explain but you’ll see me demonstrating this towards the end of the video.

I love this vintage set and plan to get many more years use out of it. The brilliant pop of blue on my patio is a striking contrast to the magenta/pink Bougainvillea Barbara Karst. Is there a spray painting project in your future?

Enjoy your garden & thanks for stopping by,

Signed by Nell Foster


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  1. Looks great! I love the color with your garden, the vintage-ness of the set, and love your blog, especially garden-related info!

  2. I have a similar set I bought AR an estate sale I need to paint how many cans of paint did it take?

  3. Just beautiful! If I can ever get my hands on vintage pieces like this at a reasonable price, I would do just this. They are practically indestructible if properly cared for. Great job and thanks for sharing. Love the color! So hapoy!

  4. Thank you Naomie! this set has been moved quite a few times & has spent many yeas in the sun. It’s still beautiful & I love the color too. Thanks for stopping by, Nell

  5. Hi Jean – I used about 1 & a half cans of primer, 9 cans of the blue paint & 3 cans of the sealer. Hope that helps! Nell

  6. Thank you for all the tips I’m going to be doing this this weekend I cannot wait. I love the blue that you use can you tell me which brand of blue to buy? You have a lot of great videos I can’t wait to watch and learn from you thank you

  7. Thank you Joanna! I love spray paint because you can freshen up old pieces &/or give something a totally new look. I use Rust-Oleum 2X & the color is brilliant gloss blue. Nell

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