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. You’re 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. I also found an article from Krylon for painting outdoor resin chairs, and that was proof enough that I should give it a go.
I followed some of the tips from those posts, discovered a few of my own. and while it was challenging, it is possible to spray paint resin wicker successfully.
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 top coat 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 because, 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 it’s 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.
Products I used for this project:
Spray paint: Rustoleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover, in Black/ Satin (not shown in this picture).
Protecting the ground and the area around it.
I used several large card board moving boxes. 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’s 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 in 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.
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 that 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 a piece.
That’s $92.00 verses $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. You can also read my findings on best practices for using plastic spray paint, here.
Have a great weekend! xx Amy
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