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How to Spray Paint a Metal Chair – Easy Ombre Upcycle Project

I am a big advocate of spray paint therapy – and this week I needed some.  

Both of my boys were sick and I had no time or physical space to get on with very much.  

So when I had an hour to myself I indulged in some much needed spray paint transformation therapy.  

I had a real session with a number of projects – this is the first that will show you how to spray paint a metal chair with a cheats ombre type effect.  

Super simple and super satisfying!  

Strictly speaking do you need a tutorial for spray paint therapy? No.  

Just shake, point and transform.  But my biggest bug bear with DIY blogs is not having step by step instructions so here is my process.  

Materials Needed – Spray Painting a Metal Chair

how to spray paint a metal chair
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
  • Metal Chair
  • Spray Paint in your chosen colours (I used Kobra HP Spray Paint in  Copper & Lake
  • Steel Wool (optional)

Step 1: Clean & Prep

how to upcycle an old garden chair
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff
smooth rusty spots on an old metal chair
Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

I have had this chair for years. Picked up by a bin on the street near my office (when I used to work in an office).  I brought it in at lunchtime and it sat next to my desk for the afternoon and then came home on the bus with me!  

It’s been in my garden as is ever since.  I always intended to do something with it but it just hadn’t happened.  

So the first thing I needed to do was give it a clean – I used baby wipes but you can just use a sponge and some soapy water or sugar soap depending on the state of your chair.  

I then used some steel wool to smooth the edges of one rust spot on the corner.  This won’t hide the uneven surface but it will help it to not chip as easily after its sprayed.

 If you want a totally smooth surface you’ll need to look into fillers.  For me this was a ‘I just need to transform something!’ kind of a moment, so I was not going to stop for filler!

Step 2: Spray Paint Colour One – Lake (Teal Blue)

cobra lake spray paint first layer
spray painting the underside of a chair
ombre effect spray paint tutorial

If you are going for a two tone effect like I did then start with your first colour from the top down.  I’m calling this an ombre spray paint effect but I think technically two tone is more accurate.  

But by ombre I am meaning there isn’t going to be a sharp line between one colour and the next, so there is no taping needed.  

Use lots of thin layers of spray paint rather than saturating it to avoid drips.  

For my first colour I used Kobra HP spray paint in Lake, which is kind of a teal blue green colour. 

If you can’t spray paint outside like I did, make sure when you are spray painting that you put drop cloths down to protect your floor and other items near your workspace. 

If you mess up and get spray paint somewhere you don’t want it there are ways to remove spray paint, but make sure to be quick about it and do it as soon as possible!.

Step 3: Spray Paint Colour Two – Copper

kobra spray paint tutorial
ombre effect spray paint tutorial
ombre spray paint on a metal chair
how to spray paint a chair tutorial

Like everyone else these days I am crazy about copper, so this was the colour I choose for the second colour of my ‘ombre’ effect metal chair spray paint project.  

I basically did the opposite of what I did with the first colour, spray painting from the bottom up until I had slightly overlapped onto where the blue was.  

There was no particular rhyme or reason to why I went as far up the chair leg as I did, it was just what looked good to me.  

This effect would look just as good with just a touch at the feet of your chair if you are for example trying to find a project for a partial can of spray paint (not that this took the whole can! Far from it!).  

Step 4: Leave to Dry

  Lastly all you need to do is leave it to dry – preferably outside for a few hours or overnight and you have your transformed chair. That’s it! Instant gratification.

That’s what spray paint was invented for right?

how to spray paint a metal chair

P.S. Don’t judge the chair by the state of the garden! 

Looking for more upcycle ideas to lift your mood?  Try our Pink Me Ups! Upcycle Ideas!

If you liked it, pin it!

how to spray paint a metal chair

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Sunday 28th of May 2023

How long did this last before chipping? I can't be bothered to prime my folding chairs but wanted to jazz them up abit with spray paint?

Kristen Hubert

Tuesday 20th of June 2023

It lasted a good while, it did eventually start to chip but we keep it outside so that was to be expected!

10 Summer Upcycle Projects to do in the Sunshine - Upcycle My Stuff

Monday 25th of May 2020

[…] and metal chairs can be spray painted or decoupaged and while you can do the same for wood, Adirondack style chairs really lend themselves […]

11 Fabulous Upcycling Projects using Copper Spray Paint - Upcycle My Stuff

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

[…] This is one of our tutorials.  We used two colours of Kobra spray paint to transform this rusty old garden chair that was found by a bin years ago.  We highlighted the legs with copper which we think really brings out the teal blue base colour.  A bit friendlier and more fun than doing it all in copper.  You can find the full tutorial here. […]

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