I also unscrewed the chair cushions off the base so that all I had to work with was the metal furniture.
Can I just share a close up of the hammered grey that is now gone? So much better black!
The next step was to sand down the metal to remove the shiny finish. I used a sanding pad and it was a breeze. You don't need to sand hard - just take off the shine so the paint has something to grab on to instead of slide off. After you sand, get some plain soap and water and wash off any remaining dust so you have a nice clean surface to work on. Make sure that you take proper precautions if the furniture is old in case there was any lead paint used on it. You don't want to inhale that in!
For the actually painting stage of the project, I got a couple of big cardboard boxes that I cut open to use as spraying and drying platforms. It makes it easier to keep any grass off the thing your spraying and keeps your grass from turning various shades of colors. I also highly recommend wearing plain latex disposable gloves while spraying to avoid getting a miscolored trigger finger! Simply spray in a uniform pattern and try to do each piece of furniture the same way so you don't miss any areas.
Here you can see some finished chairs that are drying - oh the black looks so much better!
To start recovering the seat cushions, you need to evaluate the type of fabric you are using and the kind of chair you are covering. For me - the fabric I chose was a really nice durable Chenille (Eddie Bauer from JoAnn's if you are interested) but that was a lot thicker that the previous fabric. Combine that with the fact that the cushions had to fit down into the chair frame rather than sitting on top. So no matter how tight I stapled - I ended up with bunches like this when I shoved the seat into the chair frame. If you end up in the same situation - keep reading. Otherwise, you should be able to staple your fabric on the cushion, screw back on and move on with life!
Next, I put the cushion in to the chair and used a large rubber mallet (covered with a clean dishtowel) to beat it down into the chair frame. Once the seat was in, I reached up under the chair and using either my fingers or a pair of needle-nose pliers pulled the fabric taunt around the cushion.
When I had the fabric where I wanted it, I went ahead and screwed the cushion back into place and then made sure that it didn't shift (which it always did) and cause any new bumps or wrinkles (which it always did).
Finally, when the cushion was secured and the fabric taunt, I finished my staples around the bottom of the cushion to keep the fabric in its new permanent place.
And there you have it! Those are all my tips and tricks for redoing a metal dining set.
What about you? Do you have any tips and tricks you would like to share with some other newbies in the comments section? Or are you a newbie who now feels empowered? Either way - let me know!