Jacquelynne Steves

Fabulous Metal Folding Chair Makeover

Fabulous folding chair makeover painting metal folding chair

I luuuuuuuuvvvvvvvv this project. There, I said it. I really do! It’s one of my favorite projects in recent memory…. I can’t take credit for the idea- I was inspired by a photo on my Pinterest board (and you can see the original post here.) I guess all of that time on Pinterest actually paid off! It’s so easy to do a fabulous makeover on an old metal folding chair- you probably have one in your basement or garage right now that’s just waiting for a little luv.

Anyway, we had this ugly chair- I mean, it was hideous. It was headed for the trash heap.

metal folding chair spray paint

All it took to go from yucky to Yow-za! was a can of spray paint and a bit of fabric. It was really simple.

Here’s what you will need:

  1. The ugliest chair you can find (the ugly part is not required, but it does enhance your sense of accomplishment and awe at your DIY mad-skills when you are finished.)
  2. Indoor/outdoor spray paint (I used Rustoleum, which worked really great.I chose my new favorite color- I have no idea why I am suddenly completely in love with Orange, but I am)
  3. Piece of fabric that is a couple of inches larger than the chair pad
  4. Glue gun
  5. Tools to remove the chair pad- depending on the type of chair you have, you might need screwdriver, pliers, hammer, etc.

First, I flipped over the chair and found the tabs on the underside of the seat that were attaching the chair pad to the chair. I loosened the tabs with a screwdriver and removed the chair pad. (If the chair had rubber tips on the legs, I would remove those, too.)

I placed the chair on a large scrap of cardboard outside. You definitely want to do your painting in a well-ventilated area. The key to getting a beautiful paint job is patience. I worked on this project over the course of several days (but it only took a few minutes each day). It really is best to do a lot of light coats of paint- don’t try to rush it, because you will get drips & runs which are really not pretty.

Here’s what I did- I would go out and give it a quick coat of paint, wait a little while, then go back and try to hit the areas that I missed. You need to paint it from lots of different angles- front, back, sides…. I would let it dry for several hours, then, because it was so humid, I would bring the chair inside to help “cure” the paint in the air-conditioning. Then the next day, I took it back outside and did a couple more coats.

spray painted metal folding chair


When I felt that I had done a good job covering the front, back, and upper side of the chair (don’t worry about the seat which will be covered with the pad), I allowed the chair to dry overnight to make sure it was good and dry. Then I flipped the chair over so I could get the back side of the legs and underside.

spray painting metal folding chair before


spray painted metal folding chair after


When it was good and dry, and I was sure that I had the chair completely painted, I added the bottoms to the legs (which I purchased at the hardware store, since my chair didn’t have any to start with.)



To cover the chair pad, I cut the fabric about 2″ larger than the pad which I removed in the first step. I wrapped the edges of the fabric around to the bottom of the chair pad and glued it in place. (I did not take a photo of this step, because the pad was, in fact, nasty, and I didn’t see any point in making you a witness to it.) The fabric I chose was my favorite pear print from my Fruitful Hands collection for Henry Glass Fabrics.

I replaced the pad on the chair and it was done. Wow! What a difference! It’s perfect for extra seating when you have guests- of course, it’s so cute that you might want to find a place for it in your office, bedroom, or den, and not just save it for your guests….











P.S. If you like this chair makeover, please share the idea by using the buttons below! Sharing is caring :) [Cheesy but true!]




  • Jill
    Posted July 3, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Wow! I’m on my way to buy some spray paint right now lol!

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted July 3, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Let me know how it turns out, Jill! Thanks for your comment :)

  • Christine
    Posted July 3, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    That is SO CUTE!! I could see an entire set of these with different colors and fabrics for the seat – an eclectic set of mis-matched chairs!! Thanks for getting the creative juices going!!!

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted July 3, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Oh that’s a great idea, Christine! I can start a whole collection of chairs- maybe I need to go get some more spray paint….

  • thunder
    Posted July 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    love your chair, came to explore from the aiming for accuracy quilt along. thanks for donating a prize.

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Welcome! I hope you enjoy my blog and that you will stop back! Don’t forget to check out the sewing and quilting button on the right side bar :)

  • Rose McCloud
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    OMG!! I am sooooo excited now. As a single mom saving money means so much!! So a few months back I got about 15 chairs donated from an old school that shut down to a youth organization I was working with. We didn’t have much use for them at the organization and so we gave them out. I needed dining room chairs at home so I took a few. I have six UGGGGGGGLY chairs. This tax season I began redecorating my home, new beds, new living room set and my dining room table is in great shape oak wood but I needed chairs. I have been searching for chairs and can’t find any sets of 4 good chairs or styled the way I like for under $200…then I thought google chair projects and I find this…ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS…my mom said I could just cover the table with a cloth to accent the color I make my chairs….thanks so much for this saved me a great deal of money. :-)

    • Jacquelynne
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Hi Rose- I’m really glad that you found this project useful! Please send me photos when you’ve completed your project, I’d love to see how it turns out!

  • christina Treece
    Posted March 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Love it! Did you sand the rusted areas at all?
    We just bought an old 1940’s parsonage that has a lot of charm that we want to keep as original as possible but add some of our flare as well… The church we bought it from left behind a lot of these types of chairs.. of course my husband said trash them.. UGGG NO…. Good thing I saw the treasure in him ;) This is exactly what I was thinking of doing to jazz our chairs up and maybe even connect a few together and make a bench for the porch with bright colors! Of course they have some rusted spots on them.

  • Monica
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Did it take the whole can of paint for the one chair? I’m looking to purchase 6 folding chairs in bad condition, but I’m wondering if the amount of spray paint would be too much. I love your end result though!!

  • suzanne spence
    Posted June 1, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    A can of Spray paint is cheaper than a new chair and the Fact you did it.
    I’ve done this with chair metal and wood. Fast rewardeing and savings. you all have a great day.

  • Posted July 13, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    how many chairs can 1 can of spray paint cover?

    • Deborah Newton
      Posted July 13, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      When I painted mine, I did multiple thin coats and I used about 1 can per chair. I think it really depends on the condition of the chair and how mant coats you need.

  • Lisa Baker
    Posted January 2, 2019 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Love this project. I do wonder though did you have to sand off the rust spots prior to painting?

    • LadyD
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you should sand off the rust as well as any flaking paint. And when you get down to bare metal, your first coat or two of new paint should be a Rustoleum primer, after which you can paint any color you wish.

  • Paula Jagrowski
    Posted March 23, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    So, how do you keep the hinge parts from getting stuck after painting? I’m trying to figure out how to paint the parts that move so that they’re covered, but don’t become stuck in place with dry paint. Thanks!

    • Deborah
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Hi Paula! I used very light coats of paint and open and closed the hinges in between adding more coats of paint.

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