Chalk paint is so easy to use, I love to paint it on any furniture I’m redoing and even accessories too. One question I get over and over again is- can you paint patio furniture that will be outdoors with chalk paint?
outdoor chalk paint
Yes, you can use chalk paint on outdoor furniture. A few years ago, I painted my outdoor bistro set with Dixie Belle’s Fluff chalk paint and it’s held up great since then! That table and chairs have sat outside painted for two summers and two winters and look as good as new! Here are some things to take into consideration if you want to use chalk paint on outdoor furniture.
prep – pressure wash
First of all, make sure to do proper prep especially if there is flaking paint. Remove any lose paint with a wire brush so that the new paint won’t just flake off too.
With outdoor furniture, it’s a great idea to pressure wash the furniture first. Because this outdoor set had sat in the rain and sun for months, the stain partially came off with pressure washing. Plus it’s such an easy and fast way to get everything clean.
I love my pressure washer! We have one in both Utah and Florida because they’re indispensable. Here’s a link to the pressure washer use.
prep – clean
You’ll also want to give the furniture a really good cleaning! If there’s any grime or dirt on it, the paint won’t stick as well and the outdoor elements may make it so the paint peels off on those spots. To clean my furniture before I paint it, I use White Lightning or TSP.
Mix 2 Tablespoons of White Lightning or TSP in 1 gallon of hot water. Use a rag dipped in the solution to clean the entire surface of the furniture you’ll be painting. Wipe the piece clean with a damp rag to remove any residue. Let dry prior to painting.
Whenever I’m painting furniture with chalk paint, I always do a minimum of 2 thin coats of chalk paint. The same will be true with outdoor furniture. For tips on getting a smooth finish and not seeing any brush strokes, check out this post here.
Above, I painted a little cart with Sea Glass chalk paint. The cart is usually in my She Shed, but I pull it out for most of the summer to use as a buffet next to my outdoor dining space.
I also used Sea Glass on the outdoor chairs I’ve been working on. I was originally going to sand and have a wood finish, but after a few hours of sanding and not being anywhere close to a smooth wood finish, I decided to paint instead.
When furniture sits out in the elements, it can get damaged. My chairs had cracks and divets. Personally, I like to give the chair one coat of paint. Then the cracks are obvious. To fill them, I use wood filler. Once it’s dry, sand the wood filler until smooth, then paint over it. The cracks will disappear and the chair will be as good as new!
Honestly, the number one step to take with this project is the top coat. After painting the furniture the color of your choice, make sure to cover it in a few thin coats of Gator Hide to really protect it and seal it. If you’re painting a light color of furniture, make SURE to go thin with the Gator Hide because it can yellow if it’s applied too thickly.
This step will protect the painted item from rain damage as it is a water repellant. Apply the Gator Hide with a brush or blue sponge. Let the furniture dry 48 hours before placing something on top. Use in a well ventilated area.
Before I re-did these outdoor chairs with chalk paint, they sat in my backyard. It was a little crowded with the whole set out back, so I thought a few would look cute on my front porch.
And look how nice they look by the front door?!
The chairs came with white cushions, but I left them off so you could see the pretty blue green color. I spent most of yesterday painting these and I’m so thrilled with how they look!
I put them up front with my freshly Halloween pumpkins. I love that they’re in the same colors as the rainbow door mat!
The chairs are part of a set I got in March. They didn’t weather well and aren’t available anymore so I can’t link them.
I’ll keep you posted on how the painted finish does. I have high hopes!
Another option for painting outdoor items is to just paint the cushion. Again, this is something I’ve done and I LOVED being able to customize the cushion color. To paint fabric, add a little bit of water to the chalk paint. You want to dilute the paint, but don’t want to add too much water that it is runny. Paint on one very thin coat with a paintbrush. I used the color Soft Pink.
Allow the first coat to dry. Because the paint was watered down, it’ll take 1-2 hours to fully dry. Once dry, check the cushion and see if there are any rough edges where the paint is too thick. If so, sand those down.
Continue with a second coat of paint. When it’s fully dry, the cushion shouldn’t crack. However, I have found it much stiffer and a little crunchy feeling. They held up really nicely outside though!
Using the same steps above, outdoor pots work nicely painted with chalk paint! I love painting inexpensive terra cotta pots in lots of fun colors and then bringing them outside. Mine have lasted nicely especially when I use a top coat. Without a sealer, the pots tend to discolor or get dirt stains so make sure to not skip that step!
In my experience, furniture and accessories have held up nicely outdoor with chalk paint. Even when left outside all winter long. Sometimes, if I’m really worried about durability, I’ll use spray paint rated for outdoor use. But if you use the above tips, chalk paint should work nicely and stay looking great.
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