How To Spray Paint Metal Furniture

Apartment Therapy Tutorials

I recently came across this adorable little vintage milking stool at a pop-up shop, and couldn't wait to get it home. I've been looking for a small step stool to live in my kitchen and this one is sturdy and balanced enough (it's stronger than it looks) for me to use as a quick "leg up." When, I got it, the stool's paint was cracking and peeling, so I couldn't wait to get it home to put this glossy, new orange coat on it. 

The stool, before.

For this project, you will need:
1. A piece of metal furniture or lighting that you want to paint! Mine was a vintage metal milking stool.
2. A metal specific spray paint + primer. I used Krylon Dual Paint + Primer in Mandarin Gloss
3. Medium grain sandpaper
4. A wet rag or paper towels
5. A cardboard box or drop cloth + parchment paper (if painting a small piece)
6. Face mask (optional, but advised)


1. In a ventilated area, sand your metal piece with medium grain sandpaper to rid it of obvious paint peeling, rust, and to create a good surface for spray paint. If you think there is a chance that the original paint may be made of lead, wear a face mask and clean the up the paint dust as you go.

2. When you are finished, wipe the metal down with a damp cloth or paper towel. Get rid of all of the dust, oils, and sediment.

3. After laying down your drop cloth or cardboard box, and in a well ventilated area, spray thin coats over the entire piece and allow for adequate drying time. If you are using a separate primer and paint, do the primer first and follow directions on the side of the can. I usually do the bottom of the stool/table/lamp first so that I can focus on finishing the visible area perfectly. Repeat this spraying and drying process until you are satisfied with the color and opacity.

4. Allow to dry for a good 36-48 hours before using. Place the object onto parchment paper to prevent sticking (if small). 

There you have it! Good luck with your projects! 

(Images by Andie Powers)