While yard ornaments are made to hold up to the elements, their paint eventually chips, fades, or peels, requiring a revamp with some fresh color. The most important factors to consider before repainting any type of yard ornament are that it must be as clean and dry as possible for the paint to adhere and that the paint used should be an exterior paint compatible with the specific material you're painting, such as plastic, metal, or concrete.
Cleaning the Yard Ornament
Use a soft-bristled brush or a rag to clean general dirt and debris off any plastic, resin, metal, or concrete yard ornament. This also allows the chance to determine which areas are most in need of paint if there's a chance you might not paint the entire piece. Use a garden hose with a medium- to high-powered spray to get dirt out of the nooks and details on the ornament. Scrub it with the brush while spraying to help remove even more dirt without soap.
Video of the Day
If the object has mildew or moss that won't come off with gentle scrubbing, use an eco-friendly moss and mildew remover following the directions on the label. Rinse the ornament and allow it to dry completely. Concrete and similar materials may absorb some of the moisture if they're not sealed, so allow those to air-dry several days before painting. It's better not to use chemicals on concrete you plan to repaint, as it may affect the paint's ability to adhere since unsealed concrete absorbs liquids.
Use a wire brush to remove rust spots from metal ornaments. Set the ornament atop an old tarp if possible to catch the rust and paint flakes, which makes it easier to dispose of the debris without a mess.
Repainting Plastics and Resins
Spray paints specially formulated for outdoor plastic work well on plastic and resin yard ornaments as well as some outdoor furniture. Look for a paint formulation that requires no sanding or priming; the paints that require a primer or sanding aren't bad, but they require a little more work to get the job done.
While spray paint is easily used to paint an entire yard ornament the same color, it's also handy for small details. Spray a little of the paint into a disposable cup and then dip a paintbrush into the wet paint and apply it wherever you like on the ornament. Another option is to spray paint the entire piece and then use acrylic craft paints to add details once the spray dries.
Painting Metal or Concrete Ornaments
Choose either a spray or brush-on paint that works well with the yard ornament's composition. Spray paint works well on most metal, but it doesn't always adhere properly to concrete. Exterior acrylic latex house paint also works on both materials. If you're using a brush-on paint for bare concrete areas, make a base coat by thinning the paint with an equal amount of water. Once that coat dries, regular house paint or any exterior-worthy acrylic paint does the trick.
For metals, if you've sprayed the entire thing one color, feel free to add details in another color with any acrylic paint or with another shade of spray paint applied with a brush.