How To Paint Metal Furniture When Spray Painting Isn't An Option

It's the dead of winter when spraying furniture isn't an option, now what? Such was the case with a set of metal accent tables I wanted to upcycle for an upcoming market. Too cold to paint outdoors and unsafe to spray paint indoors, I was determined to get this furniture makeover done. So I used a safe alternative and I'll show you how to paint metal furniture when spray painting isn't an option plus how to prevent paint-bleed through the white paint.

How To Paint Metal Tables Without Spray Paint

How To Paint Metal Furniture When Spray Painting Isn't An Option

Recently I found this metal accent table set with lovely embossed lattice tops but I wasn't fond of the patina and the finish was damaged in some spots. They were the perfect candidate for a quick and easy furniture makeover and I knew those lovely details would pop after a fresh coat of paint.

Here are the tables before the makeover - perfect to use indoors in a sunroom or as metal plant stands.

Wrought Iron Accent Tables Before Makeover

And here they are after a fresh coat of white paint using the safe option for painting indoors.

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this furniture makeover. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Painted Metal Accent Tables

So what is this safe paint alternative that I used?

Painting metal accent tables with a brush

Chalk mineral paint applied with a paintbrush! It was so quick and easy to update these tables with two thin coats of white Dixie Belle paint in the color Fluff. Chalk style paint has little to no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) so whether you use mineral-based chalk paint or a chalky type paint, it can be applied on metal.

Once the second coat of paint was dry, I distressed the raised details with 220 grit sandpaper to make all those lovely details pop.

What to do to avoid paint bleed

If you notice the paint yellowing in some areas, like I did on these tables (you can see the yellowing if you look closely at the photo below), it is the dreaded paint bleed that can happen when painting metal furniture in a light color. To avoid this it is a good rule of thumb to prime the metal first.

How To Prevent Paint Bleed On Metal Furniture

There are two stain-blocking primers that I use most often and have great success with. One is Dixie Belle BOSS and the other is this water-based primer. If you've already painted the piece like I did, you can apply the primer over the paint bleed areas, let it dry, and repaint. That should do the trick. If you still have some bleed, apply a second coat of primer. But to save yourself a lot of time and effort, don't do what I did and skip the priming step.

Applying a clear coat on metal accent tables

Dixie Belle mineral chalk paint doesn't require a top coat because the paint dries rock yard after 72 hours. But the chances these tables would be used as plant stands were high so I recommend a clear topcoat. There are two options that I use most often. One is Dixie Belle Gator Hide, a water repellent clear coat that is great for things like dining tables, wooden chair seats, tops of dining sideboards or dressers, and kid's furniture. I didn't have any on hand so I used this clear coat instead and it dries to a matte finish.

Painting Metal Accent Tables Without Spray Paint

Spray painting metal furniture is definitely much easier and I've done several metal furniture makeovers that way. Like these the retro 50s vibe I gave these vintage coastal metal nesting tables. I also refreshed these vintage vanity chairs and this pretty metal turquoise plant stand. But when you are an apartment dweller or live in a cold winter climate and spray painting furniture outdoors isn't an option, this is a great alternative.

I'm happy to report that these white-painted tables sold immediately at the holiday market. I was sad to see them go because I would have loved to keep them but I already have enough accent tables around our house so they went to a couple who would put them to better use.

If you have any questions about this alternative to painting metal furniture, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this metal accent table upcycle, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your upcycled furniture board or paint technique board on Pinterest.

How To Paint Metal Furniture Without Spray Paint

Metal Accent Table Makeover With Chalk Style Paint

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  1. I think it was bleed through. I have that happen on un-primed metal with white chalk paint. I have been using boss or a water based poly before painting! You just added a little aging to your white paint!

    1. I totally agree, Carlene, that it was bleed through and yes, BOSS or a stain blocking primer would have stopped it. Thanks for the reminder that I should have noted that tip in the post!

  2. Marie as always you did a great job on these. I love that you did them without a paint sprayer. I have the hardest time with drips while trying to paint spray anything, so you give me hope at trying metal.

    1. This paint technique is so handy, especially in our climate where spray painting during the winter is almost impossible. Glad you found it helpful, Leanna!


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