Painting rusty metal garden furniture

Painting my metal bistro set

The fun part of doing DIY around the house is getting to use paints that I have never used before. I like to try a range of different paints so I can give my opinions on them when I get asked. The past month I have been giving the garden a tidy up for Autumn and I have been painting a few pieces. You might have seen my tyre planter DIY post. This week I tackled my metal bistro set which had started to get wear and rust from being outside in the elements the past two years. The colour was starting to fade and spots of rust were appearing. I wanted to make it look more like the little french bistro sets you would see outside a cute tea shop. 

The Paint

I went into my local woodies on my lunch break in work. I was going to get some spray paint to spray my bistro set but when I was in the store I saw the Hammerite range. What appealed to me about this paint was that it said you could paint directly to rust. 

Now I will be honest and say that I did struggle to use the paint, however, I really liked the finish I got from using this paint. It is also high in VOCs, you will need to use white spirit to clean your brushes and it does smell. That is one of the downsides to the paint. It does, however, say it will last for 8 years! I liked the finish and I do think it will be long-lasting for outdoor metal. If you have metal railings, benches or table sets that you don’t want to throw out then this would definitely rescue them from the skip. 

I used 3/4 of a tin on my bistro set which was two chairs and a small table. I gave each piece two coats of paint and allowed four hours between coats. I really had to stir my tin of paint really well before applying. The first coat went a little spotty when I applied it, However, once it dried and I applied the second coat it had a lovely finish and I was happy with the coverage. I did struggle when using this paint as I found it a little thick and sticky. This could be because I am used to using satinwoods and chalk paints and not used to using paint for metal. 

Prep with a wire brush

Even though the paint tin says that you can paint directly to rust, I removed as much flaking paint and rust as I could with a wire brush. If you apply paint directly onto flakey paint then it will flake off eventually and ruin your paint job. You can get a wire brush cheaply in the hardware store. Mine was roughly €4 from Woodies. 

The finish

Once each piece was dry I thew a sheet over it to let it cure and protect it against the weather. Make sure to wait a few days before dressing your table up with pots and flowers as you don’t want to scuff or mark your new paint job. Even though I struggled a little using this paint I am really pleased with the finish of the paint. The table and chairs have been rescued from the skip and have a few more years of life left in them. They also brighten up my garden which is exactly what I wanted coming into Autumn and Winter.

Please do check out my Youtube video to give you a better idea of the finish of the paint and tag me in your DIY and home decor projects over on my Instagram too!

Thanks for reading,
Chat soon,



  1. Catherine Carton
    September 15, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    Agh, thanks Karen, a little cuppa in the garden before the proper Autumn comes. Raging I didn't paint this set sooner. x

  2. Karen Constantine
    September 15, 2017 / 10:03 am

    I love how it turned out! I'll be over for a cuppa soon!

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