How to Repaint Plastic Furniture

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After a harsh winter, your tables, lawn chairs, and more can be looking a little beat up. Save your outdoor pieces with a simple, one-step process.

Q: We have a bunch of scuffed, plastic stacking chairs as well as a plastic playhouse in faded, once-garish candy colors. The chairs are useful when we have family get-togethers, and my kids love the hideous playhouse, but I’d really like the back yard to look less like a junkyard. Is there any help for plastic? — Judy A., Ossining

A: Yes, of course there’s help — this is the land of Krylon, a company that thoughtfully came out with a spray-on enamel formulated for plastics a few years ago. One can only wonder why it took them so long.

In the past, repainting plastic or resin was a multi-step, cleaning-sanding-priming-fingers-crossed affair that was usually not worth the effort, given the unsatisfactory results. Because ordinary paints don’t adhere to smooth surfaces to form a bond, ordinary paint on plastic will usually chip and peel off even after careful preparation.

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Enter Krylon. I’m not big on product endorsement, but chatterers on line with no such qualms are enthusiastically endorsing the spray paint called Fusion for Plastic. It comes in about 35 colors, some of them quite subtly pretty, and can be sprayed directly onto clean, dry plastic surfaces. No prep necessary. The enamel dries to the touch in 15 minutes and is completely dry in about an hour. A second coat, if you need one, should be applied before the hour is up. Krylon claims the finish is “chip proof” after 7 days, and most of the users who reported on their projects were happy with the results, noting that the product does what it claims and is quite durable. (Some people are apparently even using it to paint the plastic interiors of their cars.)

Last year, Krylon introduced a brush-on Fusion for Plastic, which might be easier to use when you’re transforming the hideous playhouse into a thing of beauty. The color choice is limited so far to black, white, Espresso, Khaki, Red Pepper, Sunbeam, Patriotic Blue and Hunter Green, but any of those sound like an improvement over faded candy colors.

If you want to make your plastic objects look all shimmery and metallic, or textured, or like hammered metal, there are Krylon finishes for that, too.

As with all spray enamels, Fusion is flammable and contains hazardous gasses, so wear a good mask and take care when using it. Best work outdoors, especially if you have a quantity of spraying to do.

Although you may wince at the idea of using a less than environmentally friendly product, if you make your plastic furniture look good, there’s less chance it will wind up in the landfill, and that’s a “green” thing.

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