How to Paint Rusty Metal Furniture

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Here’s the easy to follow steps for How to Paint Rusty Metal Furniture. You can save it from the junk yard and make it beautiful again!

This little picnic table is so sweet. Who wouldn’t want to save it? Especially when it is so much easier than you’d think to repair and paint rusty metal furniture.

This table had been rusting away at my Grandma’s house for years. My dad thought it was beyond rescue. So, he added it to his scrap heap. But, I spotted it on a recent visit and realized I could save it pretty easily.

I had just a few days and limited tools, but it was still a quick and easy job. So, don’t worry, you can do it too.  Everything you’ll need can be found online or at your local hardware store.

The hardest part is scrubbing all of that rust away. But a little scrubbing isn’t too bad, right. Totally worth it when you see your new and improved metal furniture. So, let’s get to it!

DIY Steps for Rusty Metal Table Repair. Works on most outdoor metal furniture too. It's so easy to save that metal furniture from years of rust and weather damage. #rusty #repair #metal #table
Here’s a look at what this table looked like when I found it.
Here's the easy to follow steps for How to Paint Rusty Metal Furniture. You can save it from the junk yard and make it beautiful again!
And, here it is after I replaced the wood, removed the rust and painted it!

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Cost to Repair and Paint Rusty Metal Furniture

This little table was rescued for about $30 in paint. I’d imagine a full-sized table or larger piece of outdoor furniture can be rescued for about $50 or $60. So much better than buying new furniture!

Here's the easy to follow steps for How to Paint Rusty Metal Furniture. You can save it from the junk yard and make it beautiful again!
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How Long Will this DIY Take?

This rusty metal furniture makeover can be easily done in a weekend, including dry time for paint and poly.

Materials Needed

DIY Steps for Rusty Metal Table Repair. Works on most outdoor metal furniture too. It's so easy to save that metal furniture from years of rust and weather damage. #rusty #repair #metal #table
Before you paint rusty metal furniture, start by scrubbing away the loose rust with a stiff brush.

Steps to Clean and Paint Metal Outdoor Furniture

Step One

Remove and discard the old wood. If the old screws or bolts are rusted too much, you may need to cut them off with an appropriate saw and blade.

Step Two

Grab that stiff brush and bucket of soapy water (Dawn works fine) and scrub every inch of that metal. Remove as much rust as possible. It’s really important to remove the loose and flaky bits before you paint rusty metal furniture. Then rinse it clean.

Step Three

If you have holes in the metal to repair, use something like Bondo. It dries very hard and is used by mechanics in auto repair.

I have a tutorial for how to use Bondo to fix damaged wood furniture and the steps are the same with metal. Just mix and apply. I didn’t need to patch any holes this time.

Optional: If you want the metal to look perfectly smooth again, you can use a wire wheel on a drill OR an angle grinder to smooth the rusted metal.

DIY Steps for Rusty Metal Table Repair. Works on most outdoor metal furniture too. It's so easy to save that metal furniture from years of rust and weather damage. #rusty #repair #metal #table
The bottom of this table was covered in rust after years of sitting outside unprotected.

Step Four

Paint rusty metal furniture time! Completely spray the frame with the Rust-oleum Rusty Metal Primer. Then use the Paint & Primer in One Rust-oleum to give your furniture a new look. I used 4 or 5 cans total. Be sure to follow instructions and drying guidelines for the spray.

DIY Steps for Rusty Metal Table Repair. Works on most outdoor metal furniture too. It's so easy to save that metal furniture from years of rust and weather damage. #rusty #repair #metal #table
Halfway through spraying this rusty outdoor furniture frame.

Need to Repair Wood on Outdoor Tables Too?

Cut your wood to match the length of the old boards. You can always ask your local Home Depot or Lowe’s to cut it for you, if they offer that service.

I normally would have used Pressure Treated Lumber. But my dad grabbed normal Common Board for this table. That still works, you just have to be sure to seal the wood with an exterior grade sealer.

Sand the boards on all sides with 120-grit sandpaper. Drill holes for the new bolts. Use the frame or old boards as a guide for placement. Make sure to remember where each board goes. The holes may not line up to each spot.

DIY Steps for Rusty Metal Table Repair. Works on most outdoor metal furniture too. It's so easy to save that metal furniture from years of rust and weather damage. #rusty #repair #metal #table
Applying urethane on my temporary work station. 🙂

Since I was using Common or Whiteboard outside, I was sure to apply 4 good coats of a strong exterior urethane. I’ve used this urethane on lots of outdoor projects, like my DIY Backyard Bench. And it holds up really well in this killer Texas sun.

Attach the boards with the new hardware and you’re good to go.

DIY Steps for Rusty Metal Table Repair. Works on most outdoor metal furniture too. It's so easy to save that metal furniture from years of rust and weather damage. #rusty #repair #metal #table
This little picnic table is the perfect play place for the kids.

That’s it! That’s how easy it is to repair and paint rusty metal furniture!

How to Paint Rusty Metal Furniture

Here's the easy to follow steps for How to Paint Rusty Metal Furniture. You can save it from the junk yard and make it beautiful again!

Materials

  • Stiff Bristle Brush
  • Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Primer
  • Rust-Oleum Paint and Primer, in one

Instructions

Steps to Clean and Paint Metal Outdoor Furniture

  1. Remove and discard the old wood. If the old screws or bolts are rusted too much, you may need to cut them off with an appropriate saw and blade.
  2. Grab that stiff brush and bucket of soapy water (Dawn works fine) and scrub every inch of that metal. Remove as much rust as possible. It’s really important to remove the loose and flaky bits before you paint rusty metal furniture. Then rinse it clean.
  3. If you have holes in the metal to repair, use something like Bondo. It dries very hard and is used by mechanics in auto repair. I have a tutorial for how to use Bondo to fix damaged wood furniture and the steps are the same with metal. Just mix and apply. I didn’t need to patch any holes this time.
  4. Optional: If you want the metal to look perfectly smooth again, you can use a wire wheel on a drill OR an angle grinder to smooth the rusted metal.
  5. Paint rusty metal furniture time! Completely spray the frame with the Rust-oleum Rusty Metal Primer. Then use the Paint & Primer in One Rust-oleum to give your furniture a new look. I used 4 or 5 cans total. Be sure to follow instructions and drying guidelines for the spray.

Notes

This little picnic table is so sweet. Who wouldn’t want to save it? Especially when it is so much easier than you’d think to repair and paint rusty metal furniture.

This table had been rusting away at my Grandma’s house for years. My dad thought it was beyond rescue. So, he added it to his scrap heap. But, I spotted it on a recent visit and realized I could save it pretty easily.

I had just a few days and limited tools, but it was still a quick and easy job. So, don’t worry, you can do it too.  Everything you’ll need can be found online or at your local hardware store.

The hardest part is scrubbing all of that rust away. But a little scrubbing isn’t too bad, right. Totally worth it when you see your new and improved metal furniture.

Cost to Repair and Paint Rusty Metal Furniture

This little table was rescued for about $30 in paint. I’d imagine a full-sized table or larger piece of outdoor furniture can be rescued for about $50 or $60. So much better than buying new furniture!


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Here’s How to Cut a Dresser in Half to make 2 new pieces of furniture. 

How to cut a dresser in half to make 2 new pieces of furniture. This is how I built Toy Storage and a Vanity out of this $25 Dresser. How to cut furniture in half.

Check out the incredible makeover on this Office Chair I rescued from the curb.

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And this DIY L-Shaped Backyard Bench can give your backyard style that’s also super easy to clean.

How I built my L-shaped DIY Outdoor Bench for $130, awarded 2nd place in the IG Builders Challenge, season 3

You might want to check out this DIY Outdoor Sofa from 2×4 Wood too.

Here's the easy to follow build steps, printable plans, and how-to video for this beautiful DIY Outdoor Sofa from 2x4 Pine Lumber with Cedar. Wood outdoor sofa or bench with a back woodworking plans.

Or this DIY for How to Restain a Door without Removing it!


Feeling inspired? Now you know how to paint rusty metal furniture. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!

18 thoughts on “How to Paint Rusty Metal Furniture”

  1. how did you get the rusty bolts off? I am redoing my picnic tables and I am trying to replace the bolts but they are rusted so they just keep spinning and I dont know how to keep the top from spinning so I can loosen them.

    • Without seeing it, it’s hard to say the best way to go. But here are a few ideas. If there aren’t any nuts, try hammering from the back side. If they’re just spinning the threads or the opening might be rusted enough to hammer the bolt out.
      Or, if you can cut part of it off with a bolt cutter, that might help.
      Or, try clamping on to the bolt with strong pliers and pulling while unscrewing. You might need something like a rubber band between the bolt and pliers to make it really hold on tight to that bolt.
      Or, a drill bit for metal might be the last resort. Maybe a combo of drill bit and bolt cutter. Good luck!!!

  2. What a great job at restoring it to it’s former glory and I am the same with sick plants I hate to see them just left and feel the need to rescue them

  3. Lovely restore Stephanie. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease and time can do. The table will be good for many more years

  4. I was pinning this for The Pretty Pintastic Party and I fell in love with this beautiful table. I had to read the entire post. 🙂 Awesome repair and such a great table. I love it!

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