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There are so many old and sad vinyl chairs in thrift stores all around the world, just waiting for a can of spray paint to come to the rescue.
Let’s join together and give them a second life!
Here’s the how-to:
This is the third or fourth time that I’ve spray painted an old vinyl office chair. In the past, I’ve used a spray paint specially formulated for vinyl called Dupli-Color at Autozone. It worked really great, but the bottles were a little on the pricey side, if I remember right. Now Rustoleum makes a vinyl spray paint too that you can often find in hardware stores. This time though, I used a less expensive and easier to find paint from Rustoleum that has primer built in and is (most importantly) formulated for bonding to plastics.
Before I spray-painted the chair though, I cleaned the vinyl really well. It gives me the creepy crawlies to think about the decades of germs and gunk potentially living on that chair. I like to use a hardcore degreaser called Krud Kutter that really helps to get the vinyl to ground zero. I wiped it down with water and wet cloth after the Krud Kutter too though, just to make sure all the cleaner was off the vinyl before painting.
Anytime I’m spray painting a chair, I put the legs in a garbage bag and tape around the base of the seat, rather than wasting practically a whole roll of tape on tricky legs.
After two coats of white paint on the whole chair, it was time to tape out the stripes. I used a thick 2 1/2″ wide tape for this. To make the spacing even, I just ripped off a small piece of tape to put down as a place holder for the empty space. Easy to do and makes this a no-measuring project.
The only tricky part is getting the curves right, but just try hard to keep your spacing even and the tape should be flexible enough to handle the curves and slopes.
Here’s where I should have sprayed the whole thing with the white spray paint again. Remember my trick for perfect stripes? This would have been perfect here, but I spaced it and skipped that step (too many spray paint fumes?). Dumb move – I had to go back and do touch ups later. It wasn’t too bad though. I just sprayed a little paint into a plastic cup and touched up the bleed-throughs with a small brush.
After the touch ups (which I wouldn’t have had with my extra step), I had a pretty perfectly striped chair.
I left it outside for a day or so to fully dry and after about three weeks of daily use, I think this plastic spray paint works and feels just like the vinyl spray paint. I think it was a fine short cut.
Everyone who’s been over the house has asked about the chair. It’s a bit of a statement piece, which is fun for a kitchen space. Best of all, the chair is crazy-comfortable! And I was so glad to get to reuse a chair that probably would never have been bought at the thrift store.
In fact, I made my thrift store rounds yesterday, looking for something for a project, and I saw no fewer than five of this exact chair or something very similar. They’re everywhere!
Grace needs a desk chair in her bedroom, so I might go pick up another one and see what we can come up with. Maybe a big, huge-scale buffalo check? Or ombre? Block printed? Think of all the color and pattern possibilities!