Can You Paint Plastic Garden Furniture? Here’s How [UK Edition]

If those plastic chairs you’ve got hidden in the back of your shed could do with a makeover, you’ve come to the right place. We live in a throw away culture, but don’t throw out your old plastic chairs and tables – spruce them up with a lick of paint, and they’ll be good as new.

You can paint plastic garden furniture using brush-on paint as well as spray paint. Spray paint is often preferred because it’s easier to use and dries much quicker than the alternative. Repainting is inexpensive and allows you to revamp your old plastic furniture.

In the rest of this article, I’ll look at the best paint for plastic garden furniture. I’ll also provide a step-by-step guide on how to quickly and easily paint your neglected plastic furniture and give some paint recommendations for the best results.

What’s the Best Paint for Plastic Garden Furniture?

You’re probably wondering whether you can use that old can of paint from a previous DIY project. You can use any colour for this project, as long as it’s suitable for use on plastic surfaces. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure you have all the tools you need.

plastic chairs and table in the garden

The best paint for plastic garden furniture is spray-on paint. Spray-on paint offers good coverage without you waiting long for it to dry. It’s very efficient and takes hardly any time at all. Plus it will provide you with a much more even result than traditional brush painting. 

Using spray paint is simple and effective. Also, it will take just a few minutes to cover one piece of plastic garden furniture. Spray paint also holds up well to the elements and is relatively inexpensive (source: Paint Spray Tools).

If you don’t fancy the finish that comes with spray paint, you can use traditional brush paint. The only downside to this is that it will take longer to paint evenly, and you may have to wait much longer for the paint to dry thoroughly. 

If you aren’t a seasoned professional, you might end up with streaks. Still, it’s much quicker and more effective to use spray-on paint on smaller projects (source: Gardening Adviser).

Another great thing about spray paints is that they often come with primer. You can spray this through the nozzle at the same time as the paint, leaving an even, fresh finish. This means you won’t need to apply primer to your plastic garden furniture before painting (source: Painted Furniture Ideas).

How To Paint Plastic Garden Furniture

I’ll now look at the steps to take when painting your plastic garden furniture. This is a relatively simple project that beginners and experts can complete. Thankfully, it’s pretty quick, so you won’t spend all day doing it either.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll talk about painting plastic garden chairs – but the steps are applicable to any plastic furniture including tables.

1. Ensure Your Plastic Chairs Aren’t Scratched or Broken

This is an important step, especially if you’ve kept your chairs in storage for a long time. You’ll need to make sure that the plastic isn’t dented or scratched – if it is, buff out the scratches if you can.

However, if your chairs are wobbly or broken, you’d be better off purchasing a new set of plastic chairs to paint. Although spray paint will revamp your chairs and give them a new lease of life, it won’t look good if they’re broken, and scratches can’t be easily covered with paint (source: Family Handyman).

2. Prepare Your Workspace

Working in a well-ventilated space is crucial at this stage. You don’t want to inhale your spray paint, so working outside or in an airy garage is your best option. Don’t try to do this inside the house; you’ll inhale the fumes (and get paint everywhere).

Get all your tools ready and lay out some tarp or newspaper underneath your plastic chair to protect the ground. Here are the tools you’ll need for the project:

  • Spray paint can
  • Cleaning solution
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Masking tape (if using more than one colour)

You shouldn’t need more than this to paint your plastic furniture (source: Krylon).

3. Clean Your Plastic Chairs

You’ll need to give your plastic chairs a good scrub. Make sure to rinse off all debris, dust and dirt thoroughly. You may need to repeat this process several times to get them squeaky clean. IF you’re outside, use the hose. I do!

If you don’t clean your plastic chairs sufficiently, the paint will trap the dirt particles beneath it. This will leave uneven bumps you won’t be able to remove without stripping the paint and starting over.

woman spray painting the furniture

4. Start Spray Painting the Chairs

This is the fun part – spray painting the chairs is an easy step, and won’t take much time. You can use any colour you wish, and you can also use more than one. 

If you decide to use two or more colours, use the masking tape to mark the design you wish to follow. You can practice on a piece of paper if you’re feeling creative. 

For the purposes of this tutorial, let’s assume you’re using a single colour. Follow the steps below to spray paint your plastic furniture:

  1. Turn the chair upside down, so the legs are in the air. It’s usually much easier to paint the legs and underside of the chair first. Still,  you can skip this step if you’re not painting the legs.
  2. Hold the can about 13 inches (33 cm) away from the furniture. If you get too close to the chair, you won’t get even coverage and might run out of paint faster.
  3. Spray evenly in long, uniform lines. Always try to overlap each line you paint to get the best coverage. 
  4. Wait for the chair to dry. It should dry in around 20 minutes or less with the right spray paint. Whatever you do, try to avoid allowing the chair to dry in direct, intense sunlight since this might leave cracks in the paint and cause it to peel (source: M Brett Painting Company Inc). 
  5. Once the legs are fully dry, turn the chair back to its original position. Follow the same process to paint the seat and the back of the chair. 
  6. Once again, wait for the paint to dry. If you feel it needs more coverage or it’s not quite the depth of colour you were looking for, repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the result.

Product Recommendations for Painting Plastic Furniture

If you fancy revamping your plastic furniture, you’ll need to buy the correct paint for the job. As I mentioned earlier, you can use traditional brush-on paint using a paintbrush – but spray-on paint works much better. 

Here are a couple of products from that will give your plastic furniture the overhaul they need.

Best Overall Paint for Plastic Garden Furniture

Krylon Fusion All-in-One for Indoor/Outdoor Use

The Krylon Fusion spray paint is an excellent choice for plastic furniture. It’s a bit expensive, but durable and creates the perfect finish. Also, the colour is deep and gorgeous – perfect for revamping your outdoor furniture set.

Be mindful of the warnings on the label since spray paint can be toxic if ingested or absorbed into the skin. So, wear gloves and a mask if you’re planning to use it.

Best Budget Paint for Plastic Garden Furniture

Rust-Oleum Spray Paint in Bramwell

If you’re on a budget, the Rust-Oleum spray paint is the best option. It comes in a natural green colour and gives you a beautiful matte finish. It only needs one coat, so if you’re short on time, this is a good choice.

You can also use this spray paint indoors, which is excellent if you don’t have any outdoor space. It’s straightforward to apply and doesn’t crack easily.

If you want to paint your plastic furniture, the process is simple, even for beginners. Plastic is easier to spray paint than wood, so you can even do it for a fun afternoon activity with your kids. Have fun!

John Wag

Father, grandfather and proud Yorkshireman. I Love antiques, militaria, collecting coins, banknotes, and anything historical. Enjoy brewing my own beer and other pottering around the house, too!

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