I love when the cold weather finally goes away and Spring rolls in because that means the garage sales will be going on every weekend! Hubby stopped at a local garage sale and scored a super cute patio bench for $15, but it was in bad shape. The finish and color had faded badly and the paint on the wrought iron had chipped and rust was beginning to peek through. It needed help!
How To Refinish an Old Patio Bench
This is a picture of what the patio bench looked like before:
I have refinished a few pieces of furniture, but never have I done anything with wrought iron. I was a little intimidated, to be honest, but it was actually very easy.
I started with sanding the wood slats on the bench. Most of the finish had worn off, so this part was easy. There was a gunk on the wood, so I sprayed a vinegar and water mixture (half and half) on it and let it set for about 10 minutes, then scrubbed it with a rag and it came off. The vinegar mixture helped cleaned the iron part, too, so I could assess the chipped parts. I rinsed the whole bench off with water and let it dry.
I then used a scrubby dish sponge to remove the loose paint chips and rusted areas on the wrought iron. You can also use an emery cloth or paint scraper to remove the rust. Note that you do not have to remove all of the paint, but it should be smooth and not chipping, so the new paint can adhere properly.
Once the wrought iron is ready, I used large pieces of tablet paper (from our homeschooling days) and taped off the wooden slats so I wouldn’t get green paint on them. (It can always be sanded off later, but I do not like creating more work for myself!) You can use a good old fashioned paintbrush and paint can of primer, but I opted for a spray can of paint with primer that was made to prevent rust and is safe to leave outdoors. I followed the directions on the can and sprayed the wrought iron sides with paint/primer. (Be careful not to spray too closely or it will drip.)
I then removed the paper and tape and stained the wood. It was VERY dried out, so it really absorbed the stain. It ended up darker than I had planned, but that’s okay! When it was dry, I wiped it with a cloth and then applied two coats of finish. Keeping the kids off of it was hard, but they had to or I would have ended up with ruined clothes and a ruined bench!
I love how it turned out! Like I said, it did turn out a bit dark and it actually looks black, but it works!
I loved the new bench, but felt like I needed something else for our summer barbecues and evenings on the back porch. I spotted an old pot that I had given to the boys to play with because it had chipped so badly and wasn’t safe for cooking anymore. It was awful!
I quickly and easily turned it into a ice and beverage holder by using the leftover paint/primer for the wrought iron. I covered the handles with paper and tape and sprayed the inside and outside of the pot. Once dry, I filled it with ice and it kept my drinks cool! Trash to treasure, y’all.. repurposing all the way!
The Rubbermaid Refill Reuse™ bottles are perfect for all of us. They hold 20oz of beverage, have a finger loop for easy carrying, have a leak proof lid seal, and fit in standard cup holders (hello road trips!) They’re also BPA free and dishwasher safe.
I love putting fruit in these when I fill them up, so they will be cold, flavorful, and refreshing when we pull them out of the fridge!
Hubby and Baby Brother were instantly fans:
- squirt bottle with 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water
- scrub brush or scrubby sponge
- clean water for rinsing
- sandpaper sheets
- foam brushes
- old rags
- drop cloth
- painter's tape and paper or cut up drop cloths
- spray paint with primer for outdoor use - make sure it's for all surfaces
- wood stain
- outdoor water seal for wood
- electric sander
- Spray the entire bench with a solution of half vinegar and half water. Let set for a few minutes and then use a scrub brush or scrubby kitchen sponge to clean it.
- Rinse with water and let dry.
- Using an electric sander and/or sandpaper, sand the old finish off of the wooden slats and make sure the wood is smooth.
- Using emery cloth, a paint scraper, or scrub brush, remove the chipped paint and rust from the wrought iron.
- Wipe bench down with a cloth to remove any dust.
- Place bench on a drop cloth to avoid messes and stains.
- Using painter's tape and paper or cut up drop cloths, tape off the wooden slats to protect it from the spray paint.
- Carefully spray the paint/primer on the wrought iron to cover completely, being careful not to get too close to avoid drips.
- Let dry, according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Re-spray any missed areas of the wrought iron and let dry completely.
- Remove the paper and tape and wipe down the wood with a rag or cheesecloth to remove dust.
- Read the directions on your can of wood stain.
- Use the foam brush to apply the stain on the wood.
- Depending on the level of color you prefer, let the stain sit on the wood.
- Using an old rag, wipe the wet stained wood off carefully.
- Continue with this process until you have stained and wiped the entire wood part of your bench.
- Let dry according to manufacturer's directions.
- At this point, you can sand and stain more, if needed, or spot treat it.
- When you are ready to apply the water seal/finish, wipe the wood down with a cheesecloth to remove any fine particles.
- Using a new brush, apply the finish according to manufacturer's directions, careful to not let it drip.
- Let dry and apply 1-2 more coats if desired.