This orange vintage plastic chair has been sneaking into many of my office-rehab shots lately.
My sweet, discolored gem.
It was a garage sale find much earlier in the summer that I paid $1 for (mainly because I negotiated with the previous owner to throw in a 12-pack of assorted Pier 1 votive candles). The candles I knew I would use. Plus, at about 80-cents each, that’s nearly a $10 value, woot. The chair, I wasn’t even in the market for and figured I could do without.
I have outstanding garage-sale-walkaway-willpower, by the way. Mostly because I have limited space and don’t like to collect junk.
Not that it wasn’t a great shape; the curvaceous form was all it had going for it. The plastic curved seat had great lines, provided plenty of butt and back support, and was a good size for either using resourcefully in the office (where it’s sat since the day it came home), or even tucked into a corner to serve as extra seating around the dining room table or to hold a throw blanket in the more-utilized guest bedroom. It’s flaws? Discoloration. (Very much lighter orange in the seat and back support) and had a tattered plastic edge, which I didn’t photograph in macro, but was just a little rough in real life.
This was no molded plywood form, like you’d expect from a pretty-pretty sleek-lined Eames model. It was just a cheap knock-off that an older couple had enjoyed for decades.
The leg framework felt chincier than any high-end mid-century model too. It was plenty strong enough to hold me upright, but the structure looked inexpensively manufactured. Exposed screws seem to catch your eye at any angle.
Nonetheless, I brought it home, let it take up space in the guest-room-pre-office where I had been hoarding most everything else that didn’t yet have a real home (and lit up a yummy pear votive, 1-down, 11-to-go). When I began planning Project Office, I figured I may as well work with what I had before going out and buying a new desk chair that both Pete and I would love. And paint fixes all, right? I didn’t want to bring a lot of attention to the chair, so I opted for a basic white that wouldn’t compete with the other pops of color I’m planning on bringing into the room.
The chair wasn’t repulsive, we just had to make it work to get by.
What better a time to try out the specifically-manufactured-for-plastics Rust-Oleum spraypaint that always catches my eye in the painting aisle. Plus, the alleged benefit was not having to use a primer paint, so paying an extra dollar for the “special” paint was still saving me the expense of buying a new can of spray primer.
The leggy legs needed a clean update too, mostly as an attempt to even out inconsistencies in the way the metal had been wearing and discoloring. An aluminum paint caught my eye, and despite there being about 10 different options for Rust-Oleum Aluminum, I went for the cheapest product and hoped for the best. Oh, and I can’t make this stuff up… Cody was howling in the background of the shot.
I started with the seat, spraying a light coat evenly to start, both to gauge how well it would cover, and to avoid dripping. I was pleased with the results, so I continued on with a second coat, which seemed to be all the chair needed. Zero drips, great adhesion, and while I guess I had hoped it would have been glossier (since one of those glossy plastic lawn chairs was shown on the spray can).
Also, I should note that there was no way I could get the legs removed from the plastic seat; someone must have glued them well at some point, because while I expected them to slip out or at least be forceably removable, they wouldn’t budge. It’s OK, I’m fine with the workaround.
Once the white seat paint was thoroughly dry, I wrapped it in a large plastic bag, leaving only the metal legs exposed. Upside down. On the city-supplied garbage can. And sprayed the exposed metal the same way I applied the white, with slow, even coats until the aluminum finish was consistent all around.
I figure accidentally spraying the top of the garbage can is no different from when people spray their house numbers on them for identification, right?
No one’s going to be swiping my robot garbage can now.
Dried, back home it went into the office, renewed, refreshed, and ready to take on post as our main office chair until we grow tired of it.
I’ve spraypainted plenty of plastics in the past without special no-primer-plastic-spraypaint, but I’d love insight on whether this variety has less wear and tear in the long run!
If you’ve used it before, let me know how your projects are holding up.