DIY Spraying Painting Vinyl

There are so many old and sad vinyl chairs in thrift stores all around the world, just waiting for a can of spray paint to come to the rescue.

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Let’s join together and give them a second life!
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Here’s the how-to:

This is the third or fourth time that I’ve spray painted an old vinyl office chair. In the past, I’ve used a spray paint specially formulated for vinyl called Dupli-Color at Autozone. It worked really great, but the bottles were a little on the pricey side, if I remember right. Now Rustoleum makes a vinyl spray paint too that you can often find in hardware stores. This time though, I used a less expensive and easier to find paint from Rustoleum that has primer built in and is (most importantly) formulated for bonding to plastics.

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Before I spray-painted the chair though, I cleaned the vinyl really well. It gives me the creepy crawlies to think about the decades of germs and gunk potentially living on that chair. I like to use a hardcore degreaser called Krud Kutter that really helps to get the vinyl to ground zero. I wiped it down with water and wet cloth after the Krud Kutter too though, just to make sure all the cleaner was off the vinyl before painting.

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Anytime I’m spray painting a chair, I put the legs in a garbage bag and tape around the base of the seat, rather than wasting practically a whole roll of tape on tricky legs.
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After two coats of white paint on the whole chair, it was time to tape out the stripes. I used a thick 2 1/2″ wide tape for this. To make the spacing even, I just ripped off a small piece of tape to put down as a place holder for the empty space. Easy to do and makes this a no-measuring project.
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The only tricky part is getting the curves right, but just try hard to keep your spacing even and the tape should be flexible enough to handle the curves and slopes.
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Here’s where I should have sprayed the whole thing with the white spray paint again. Remember my trick for perfect stripes? This would have been perfect here, but I spaced it and skipped that step (too many spray paint fumes?). Dumb move – I had to go back and do touch ups later. It wasn’t too bad though. I just sprayed a little paint into a plastic cup and touched up the bleed-throughs with a small brush.
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After the touch ups (which I wouldn’t have had with my extra step), I had a pretty perfectly striped chair.
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I left it outside for a day or so to fully dry and after about three weeks of daily use, I think this plastic spray paint works and feels just like the vinyl spray paint. I think it was a fine short cut.
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Everyone who’s been over the house has asked about the chair. It’s a bit of a statement piece, which is fun for a kitchen space. Best of all, the chair is crazy-comfortable! And I was so glad to get to reuse a chair that probably would never have been bought at the thrift store.
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In fact, I made my thrift store rounds yesterday, looking for something for a project, and I saw no fewer than five of this exact chair or something very similar. They’re everywhere!

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Grace needs a desk chair in her bedroom, so I might go pick up another one and see what we can come up with. Maybe a big, huge-scale buffalo check? Or ombre? Block printed? Think of all the color and pattern possibilities!
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  1. I'll never look at those ugly thrift store chairs the same again! What a perfect whimsical addition to your kitchen!

  2. You are amazing!!!! Can just come and hang out with you for one day….. Great job

  3. When I saw the post on the "either / or" space the other day, I totally adored this chair. I can't believe you did this-totally awesome as I see many ugly chairs and didn't know you could do something like this! Thank you for the step-by-step.

  4. Your whole table place amount not even look like the same place. You have done an awesome job creating this new home your own! I'm going to keep my sight start for a seat to paint!


  5. Great idea and I LOVE your "new" chair!!!
    Just perfect in your new little home :)
    And what you did with this old cabinet … stunning ♥

  6. Linda

    This is the best thing I've seen all day. Was wondering about this chair from your previous post; I'm so glad you showed how you did it. You are an inspiration, my dear!

  7. This looks a-mazing. I am wondering about the paint on the cabinet and desk top. Did you do it yourself, and if so, what type of paint did you use? Looks like high gloss lacquer. Beautiful!

  8. This is why we love you! <3 I predict a run on vinyl chairs at thrift stores all over the nation! I know I'LL be on the hunt! :)

  9. monika

    The "before" is so sad… You knocked it out of the park. Good job!

  10. Joi

    You did it again. My source of daily inspiration!

  11. Angie

    Love it! The thrift stores will thank you. I am sure all sorts of chairs like this are flying out of their stores now!

  12. That's one of the coolest chairs I've seen in a very long time….maybe EVER! You're so creative!

  13. I can't believe you made that yourself! You are an inspiration! Happy Nesting.

  14. So coool! I love the lacquer quality of the spray paint, high gloss and high style :)

  15. Omgoodness, that chair is amazing!! I love it!! I am keeping my eye out for that spray in Australia…thanks for sharing! Erin xxx

  16. Thank you SO much for this DIY! We have one of those typical black swivel office chairs, which I love for practicality, but hate aesthetically. Been wondering how to DIY it for awhile. Now, maybe's there's hope. Thank you, thank you!

  17. Wow, you seriously need to do a book called something like Spray Paint Decor. I would totally buy it!

  18. Mina

    Wow! I would've never thought of doing that! Awesome!

  19. How did you transform the floor?

  20. How did you transform the floor?

  21. How did you transform the floor?

  22. How did you transform the floor?

  23. CC

    I have vinyl kitchen chairs (got my dining set free through dumpster diving) and was thinking of ways to spruce it up. Even with them spray painted are they easy to wipe off (like vinyl is)? Also does the paint have any problems wear and tear wise? Especially on the seat.

  24. This is SUCH an amazing transformation of space (and chair). It's inspiring!

  25. lauren

    Love this so much! I can't wait to try it out. The tip on the perfect stripe is something I have needed for a long time now. Will always do this from now on. I'm stripe obsessed!

  26. Lisa

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I have a just the piece that's been passed down to me and it's waiting to be saved – tucked away in my attic and I can't wait to give it an update. YAY!

  27. Lisa

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I have a just the piece that's been passed down to me and it's waiting to be saved – tucked away in my attic and I can't wait to give it an update. YAY!

  28. Amanda

    I am in love with this chair.

  29. ann

    Has the paint continued to hold up?

  30. Chris

    I just spent the last hour catching up on all the amazing DIYs since you moved. Such inspiring ideas. Thanks for all the detailed DIYs and info packed posts.

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  32. Dawn Gustafson

    Wow!!! Love this. I found the beauty of spray paint many years ago but I haven’t tried anything so dramatic!

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  34. Loretto Cook

    Do you think this would work on leather?

    • Jake Martinez

      Yes it works on leather. I actually just painted a leather phone case I had with it and it came out really nice. I used three coats of the paint and then two more coats of the gloss clear and then left it outside in the AZ sun to cure for about half a day and its held up really good.

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  36. Lynn Capell

    Is the paint still holding up well on the vinyl? I am thinking about doing this on some mid century modern chairs that are an ugly brown color.

    • Jessica Searcy

      Hi Lynn, Did you end up doing this? I’m about to take the plunge.

  37. What’s up,I check your blog named “DIY Spraying Painting Vinyl – Little Green Notebook” daily.Your writing style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing! And you can look our website about love spell.

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  41. jae

    super cute idea! love this and will try it.

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