Has this ever happened to you? You spot something on Craigslist, Offer Up, or Facebook Marketplace. It appears to be almost exactly like what you’ve been looking for but in the wrong color. Not going to be a problem because you can always paint it, right? So, you contact the seller and arrange to go pick up the item. Next, you are driving miles and miles to the seller’s location, (this should have been my cue to turn around). Finally, you arrive, you take one look at the item and realize that it’s somehow different from what you were expecting. Your inner voice is saying, “No, don’t buy it. It’s not going to work”. But due to all of your momentous effort and anticipation, not to mention your fear of offending the seller, you politely smile and say, “great, I’ll take it”.
This recently happened to me in my quest to find a pair of black wicker chairs for our sunporch update. What I thought was going to be green painted wicker chairs turned out to be green synthetic resin wicker chairs. AKA: fancy plastic and in my opinion, challenging to paint successfully, if even doable.
When I got the chairs home, my first thought was to take a photo, relist them on Offer Up, and hope the lady that just sold them to me won’t see my post and think I’m crazy.
However, I put the chairs aside for a few days, and in the meantime, google searched to see if I could paint synthetic resin (which is actually plastic) with plastic spray paint. I found this article, about how to paint resin pots from Tater Tots and Jello. In addition, I found an article from Krylon for painting outdoor resin chairs, and that was proof enough that I should give it a go.Following some of the tips from those posts, I discovered a few of my own. and while it was challenging, it is possible to spray paint resin wicker successfully.
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Spray painting resin wicker chairs
This is a summary of the steps:
Project time: 4-5 hours
Clean the furniture with a degreaser, ammonia, or paint thinner. Make sure the chairs are completely rinsed and dry before starting to paint.
2) Prep before spray painting
The spray-painting should be done either outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. The painting area should be tarped of with either a drop cloth, plastic, or large pieces of card board. We used several large moving boxes. Face and eye protection are also recommended.
3) Painting the chairs.
In order to spray paint resin wicker successfully, you will need to use paint products that adhere to plastic. The label should clearly say “bonds to plastic,” or something similar. Expect to use 2 to 3 cans per average-sized wicker style chair. Follow the directions on the label to apply the paint. I used this spray paint in a satin finish to paint the chairs.
4) Applying a clear coat sealer
While the spray paint I used does not require a topcoat sealer, I chose to use one. This sealer is from the same product line as the spray paint and it is also an interior/exterior paint. Expect to use about 1 can of clear coat sealer per chair. Make sure to follow the spray paint label’s instructions, especially in regard to how soon the sealer can be applied after the final coat of spray paint has been applied.
Note: for super added protection, I also applied DecoArt Soft Touch Varnish over the spray sealer. The reason I did this was that, like the name, the varnish leaves the surface feeling softer to the touch than without it.
5) Curing time
Allowing the paint to cure means allowing it to reach its maximum hardness. From what I’ve read, that’s about 7 days for oil-based paint and 30 days for latex. We’d all like to give our projects 7-30 days to cure completely, but realistically that doesn’t always happen for some of us. I let these newly painted wicker chairs cure for about 2 weeks. I like to think that keeping them for light use only and away from exposure to rain and direct sunlight for as long as possible within the first 7-30 is the best practice. Finally, refer to the product’s recommended drying and curing times for any additional information that might be available.
Exposure to extreme elements can wear away at almost any man-made surface, heck it will wear away at the earth itself. To prolong the life of your newly painted furniture, consider covering them or storing them away during the winter or during any extremely harsh weather conditions.
Before and after spray painted resin wicker
While the green was pretty, it just wasn’t the look I was going for in my sun porch update. I could have used them in the yard, but with a blue house leaning toward brown trim and accents, I didn’t see that working either, so attempting to spray paint them was my best option.
Related: How to spray paint a ceiling light fixture
Products I used for this project:
Spray paint: Rustoleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover, in Black/ Satin (not shown in this picture).
Sealer spray: Rustoleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Clear Coat Sealer/ Matte
Extra sealer coating: DecoArt Soft Touch Varnish (because I love the final finish I get from this product, you can read about it here.)
Protecting the ground and the area around it.
I used several large card board moving boxes. Personally, I like using the card board on the ground especially because it’s a harder surface which makes it easier to paint around the legs of the chair or whatever is touching the ground while painting. Plastic or canvas paint tarps would work, too. Consider putting some kind of hard surface on the ground for a little less aggravation.
Wearing a mask is a must because, of course, breathing in spray paint fumes is never a good idea.
Follow the directions on the product label for drying and curing times. Note that curing time is the process of the finish hardening to full strength before subjecting it to full use. Unless the paint color is very similar to the current color of the chair, several cans of spray paint per wicker chair will be needed to get into all the nooks and crannies involved in a wicker piece of furniture.
The spray paint I used allowed for the clear coat sealer to be applied within 1 hour (or after 48 hours). The product claims to be completely dry within 24 hours. As an added measure of protection, I followed up with a second type of sealer the next day and let that cure for about 2 weeks.
Dealing with the smell
Ugh! Spray paint is smelly, there are no two ways about it. I left the chairs out in the hobby shed for several weeks, which not only allowed the finishes to cure but also helped the fumes to dwindle.
Black wicker chair reveal
Here are the newly painted chairs on our sun porch. While the porch isn’t finished, yet, we are definitely making progress, and I’m keeping on track with the black and white sun porch plans.
Related: How to paint metal outdoor with a roller and paintbrush
Now that these wicker chairs have been painted, I’m glad I took the chance. But, if I had a chance to do it all over again, I would have taken a little more time to find wicker chairs that were already black, or confirm that they were wicker because while I don’t mind painting plastic or resin for my outdoor areas, I was hoping to have real wicker for the sun porch. And in my opinion, it took a lot more paint to cover resin wicker than it would have to regular wicker.
The cost: painting used vs. buying new
Having said that, I looked at the going price for 2 black wicker chairs, and it’s actually still more than what this cost me to make.
I paid $60.00 for the set of chairs and about $32.00 for the paint. From what I’m seeing online, the average price for one black wicker chair is about $150.00 apiece.
That’s $92.00 versus $300.00.
While it is a savings, for sure, it was also a lot of driving out of my way; stressing over how much spray paint I would need; driving back to the store for more spray paint; sweating profusely while I watched my great-niece paint the chairs and then sweating some more while I applied the sealer coatings.
Which is the better option for you? I’ll let you decide for yourself.
See More Sun Porch and Entryway projects
- Space-saving sun porch game room with wall mounted Pachinko machines
- Small sun porch budget makeover reveal – updated for $800
- Charming entryway-stairway updated with a painted stair runner
- How to restain outdoor wood furniture (without stripping original finish)
More project ideas using spray paint for plastic
- Best practices for using plastic spray paint
- Reviving plastic lawn chairs with spray paint
- How to spray paint a plastic laundry tub
- How to spray paint plastic planter pots (7 Easy Steps)
Have a great weekend! xx Amy
Cindy in Oklahoma says
I just did this a couple of weeks ago! Used Krylon fusion paint on 2 plastic wicker chairs from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot from years ago, 2 metal swivel chairs with mesh back and seat and a small metal table. Worked like a charm. As I was taping off the mesh it occurred to me I might be able to paint it as well since it was probably plastic, too. They are square pieces secured inside the metal side pieces. So… I gave it a try. I couldn’t believe it. These chairs are at least 10 years old and look practically new now. I think I purchased about 10 cans at about $6 each. I still have one full and one almost full can left for touchups. This adheres to plastic paint thing is fantastic!
I’m so happy to hear that you had success with plastic spray paint, too. It’s pretty fun when you can get a whole new look for an affordable price. Stuff is so expensive these days, right? Enjoy your “new” chair set and thanks so much for sharing your findings.
Those chairs look awesome! One would never know they were green. Thanks for sharing your helpful painting tips with us on Merry Monday. Pinned.
Thanks so much Erlene!!
So many great tips in this. I have to spray paint two chairs and now I’ll do them this winter so I’m not tempted to sit in them too soon! I’d luv to invite you to share this with us at Wall to Wall DIY Wednesday, which runs thru Mondays! Best, Ann
Good luck with your chairs. I bet you are going to love them once you’re done!! Thanks so much, Amy
Those chairs are lovely. I have been with you on that total disappointment after driving for over an hour and the piece is not at all what you thought. Solid wood is NOT particle wood, but I took it too and the next day donated the dresser to the Goodwill. You really brought a new life to those chairs and your space is so relaxing. Happy DIY’ing, Kippi
Kippi, that is so funny. You really have me laughing. Last I checked, particle board was definitely not wood. LOL. I have to admit, I think I have even bought items at the Goodwill, and then re-donated them right back several months later. All in fun I guess!! Thanks so much for stopping by – Amy
WOw, you could have fooled me. They sure don’t look at all like plastic. You did a wonderful job and it was very budget friendly too.
I was so close to not painting them at all and trying to resell or donate, but I’m glad I did it. Actually my great-niece did the painting part, God love her. Thanks, Mary
sharon dubosh says
how could you tell the chairs were resin? thanks!
I could tell the chairs were resin when I touched them. You could just tell it wasn’t a wicker/ natural material. You could tell it was man made. Resin is plastic, in this case it is not “rigid plastic”. I’m not a plastic expert by any means but from the research I did, I was able to tell that manufacturers have made these types of chairs with what they were calling “resin,” So most likely, if you have chairs like this and it’s not real wicker (or what seems like a natural material) and the material seems like some type of man made material, you should be able to use this spray paint technique with not problems. I hope that answers your question, but if not, feel free to email me back with more details. I’d be glad to help.
Thanks so much,
Hello,my husband and I used Black rustoleum over white resin wicker chairs. Weve been doing this for 2 years now. Every spring we have to touch up because the paint chips off. We never tried a sealer…do your chairs chip with the sealer on? Ours are outside on a covered front porch in Pennsylvania
The chairs shown in this post are in our sun porch which is an inside room, so they are not actually outside for comparison to yours. Having said that, if you do apply the sealer, I think you will find the finish to last longer than without.
Make sure it’s a top coat sealer that can be used for exterior purposes. If you are going to paint them again this year, here’s a couple of tips that might help.
– If some of the paint is chipping off, lightly sand the whole chair to get off all loose pieces.
– Then, making sure the chair is completely dry of water, gently rub the chair down with a tack cloth just before you apply the new coat of paint.
– Let the paint dry according to the spray can label.
– Once completely dry, apply several light coats of sealer according to the sealer label’s directions.
– If possible, let the chairs dry (cure) for a few days to a week partially indoors if you can, ie: the garage.
– Also, make sure the paint you are using works on plastic. The label should say “works on plastic”.
Finally, if there’s any way you could store the furniture semi-indoors for the colder months, this may also help avoid paint chipping moving forward.
Thanks for this post – I have a screened porch and am replacing the sofa & chairs this year after 15+ years. One piece I am trying to keep is a bar that has handy hidden porch storage (with a glass top and glass shelves inside). There are also 2 bar stools. The new furniture is much darker, almost black, so the old bar (being medium brown) would stand out-look odd. So glad to learn this stuff can be painted – if it ever stops raining, I can’t wait to gives this a try!
How exciting to be getting new furniture, congrats. And even better that you can re-use something you love to go with it. I hope it stops raining soon so you can give it a go. Good luck. I think you’re going to love it. And enjoy the new porch set up.
As always, let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks so much,
I bought rattan crazy weave mocha hanging chair from pier imports last year. I just hanged it outside and I see paint is coming off .
Can you please advise what to use for touchup.
Appreciate your help in advance.
I would use exterior craft paint that matches to the color of the rattan. Try to keep it dry for several days so it will cure. I hope that helps. Good luck
Ginny Stokes says
I used Fusion paint on resin wicker. It began to peel immediately. I power washed as much as I could and tried a spot with plasti dip spray. We’ll see!
I hope it works for you. If you have a chance to gently sand, or apply a deglosser before you paint that may help. Good luck 🙂