You bought a stroller on the cheap or a used one off e-Bay or Craig’s List. The thing looks nice, and it does the job. But the fabric on the stroller has sun-faded a little, detracting from the buggy’s original aesthetic appeal. Maybe the stroller’s frame has lost some of its initial shine, too. What do you do to spice things up and make the stroller look like new again? Can you spray paint a stroller’s frame? Can you spray paint a stroller fabric?
Related: 24 Stroller Hacks for Moms and Dads
These questions are the primary focus of this post. Stay with me and see if we can breathe some new life into that sun-scotched stroller fabric and give that stroller frame a fresh coat of paint.
How to Dye a Stroller Fabric
The beauty about dyeing a stroller fabric is that it’s an extremely easy process. You don’t even need to remove the sun faded fabric from the stroller. And this mini project takes under 10 minutes to complete if you exclude any heat treatment that’s done afterward to make the dye dry and set in.
Get a suitable fabric dye from Amazon or wherever. Make sure to know what kind of material your stroller fabric is because not all stroller fabrics behave the same way when dyed. For example, some fabric dyes are designed to work best with natural fabrics such as the cotton canvas covers you see on Bob strollers. Watch this video and see how one dad dyed their baby’s stroller.
Get the Right Fabric Dye for Your Stroller
If you use a dye such as the Rit Liquid Dye for denim on any synthetic stroller fabric, you won’t like the result you get. This dye works best on cotton stroller covers and not very well on velvet covers or any other kind of synthetic cover.
Not only will the paint job look bad, but the synthetic fabric won’t soak in much of the dye, and the little that gets absorbed will come off sooner than you imagine. So read the manufacturer’s user manual to learn what fabric is on your stroller.
One more thing: I found that dyes for light fabrics work best in most cases. Dyes for darker fabrics aren’t bad per se, but they tend to make the fabric pretty stiff. Besides that, it’s harder to apply a thin coat with such a dye.
Water Down the Dye as Per the Product’s User Instructions
The next step is to water the dye a little. Read the product’s user instructions and thin the dye with water as required.
Use Baby Wipes to Apply the Thinned Dye
Using baby wipes, apply the dye on all the faded areas. You want to start from the top going down. Start dyeing the stroller’s sun cover before you begin working on the seat cushions. Because you don’t want dye to drip down to the cushions after you’re done dyeing them.
Don’t worry too much about the dye distributing to areas that don’t need it. You’ll be able to wipe it off before giving the dyed any kind of heat treatment. The same goes for any fabric paint that ends up on logos.
Use a Dryer to Heat-treat the Stroller Fabric
Once you’re done dying the fabric and cleaning up any dripping paint, it’s time to heat-treat the treated areas and make the color dry and set in. You can easily do this with a hair dryer. Grab a dryer and make sweeping motions all over the dyed fabric.
Air-dry the Fabric for 24 Hours, Rinse off the Dye, and Repeat
After blow-drying the stroller fabric for reasonable amount of time, let the material air-dry for at least 24 hours. Then, toss the fabric in the washing machine without soap/laundry detergent to rinse off any dye residue.
After rinsing, you’ll likely notice that the material still needs a little more color added to it. If this is the situation after the initial treatment, repeat the stroller fabric dying process. Repeat the process as many times as seems necessary.
What if the fabric won’t come off of the stroller, use a damp cloth to wipe it down before air-drying it and repeating the process if needed.
How to Spray Paint a Stroller
One concern I had when researching how to spray paint a stroller at home was paint fumes. I thought it was a bad idea because which parents wants their baby to inhale fresh paint fumes during what should be a safe, happy adventure? No one, that’s who. Others thought they’d have to deal with spray paint smell, which some thought would never go away.
I later learned that spray painting a stroller is OK provided you do it right. You need to apply light coats instead of thick ones, and after the spray paint job, allow the fabric enough time to dry and for any fumes to air out. I’ve spray painted quite a few things at home, and I can’t say fumes have ever been an issue after airing out things.
How to Spray Paint Stroller Frame
Things you’ll need when painting a stroller’s frame or chassis:
- Masking tape
- Paint fume mask (a dust fume mask should work just fine)
- Old newspaper sheets to cover the area around the project
- A clean cloth
- Hand gloves
Follow the following steps to spray paint your stroller frame.
Step #1: Remove Everything That Doesn’t Need Painting from the Frame
The first step is to detach any part that you don’t want to paint. The wheels, the sun canopy/hood, the seat cushions, the shopping basket, and everything else that’s removable. You want to end up with just the stroller’s skeleton.
Sand Down the Frame If It Has Scratches
Stroller scratches aren’t uncommon. If the pram’s chassis has scratches or rust, sand it down thoroughly to smooth them out. But if you’re OK with how the chassis looks, skip this step. There are all kinds of sanders out there, and you can use wood sanders to sand metal.
You can use a palm-sized option such as an orbital sander to complete this task. Or you can use manual sanders if you don’t have any power sanders.
Before Sanding Down Metal, Clean it
Before sanding down the aluminum or steel frame, clean it. Use soap and water for this or any cleaning solution that doesn’t contain chlorine or bleach. These two substances can harm stainless steel and other metals. Also, stay away from any kind of abrasive cleaners since these can cause additional scratches.
Once you’ve sanded down the entire buggy, use mild soap and water to clean up whatever came off the frame. Because no paint sticks to dirt and dust of any kind.
Mask Up Parts You Don’t Intend to Paint
You want to spray paint the frame, not the foam on the handlebars, screws, and plastic parts. So use masking tape to fully cover these parts.
If the rear stroller wheels aren’t detachable and you don’t want to unscrew them, use a plastic bag to cover them and seal the bag with masking tape.
This step won’t be loads of fun, but it’s a necessary step when painting a stroller frame. Important: when masking up the frame, do a good job. Make sure to not cover any portion of the chassis that needs to be painted, or you’ll end up with an unevenly painted stroller.
Apply a Primer/Undercoat to the Frame
Take the frame outside or to a well-ventilated area if the weather outside doesn’t permit. If painting inside, open the windows and doors to improve air circulation. For even better ventilation, crank up the fans.
Also, when spray painting the chassis indoors, place old newspaper or cold clothes on the floor around the project to protect the flooring. Put on a face mask to protect yourself from pain fumes. Wear goggles if you need to.
If you sanded down the frame, you need to prime it fully. Priming a frame helps the final coat to adhere to the surface better and to last longer. But if you didn’t sand down the chassis, go ahead and apply a standard paint coat or a primer.
Applying the primer shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes in most cases. Keep the spraying end of the bottle about 6-8 inches away from the surface you’re painting.
Wait for 1-2 hours for the first coat of paint to dry.
Apply 2-3 Finishing Coats
After the primer/first coat dries, apply the first finishing coat. Let this coat to dry for about 1 hour and apply the second coat. Wait 1 hour and apply the third coat and allow it an hour to dry.
Leave the Frame in the Basement or Garage to Dry for 3-4 Days
The frame needs 3-4 days to dry off completely. If the basement doesn’t have moisture issues, keep the stroller there. Alternatively, leave it out in the garage to dry if it’s cool and dry there. If you don’t dry the chassis completely, don’t act all surprised when the paint chips off when folding the stroller.
Finally, Replace the Parts
Now that the chassis is nice and dry, replace all the parts you’d removed and that’s it.
How to Spray Paint Stroller Fabric
Can you spray paint a stroller? Yes, you can use a fabric-specific paint to spray paint a baby stroller and give it a fresh look. You can easily get that high-end but faded and rusty stroller you bought off Craig’s List for $50 looking like new.
A mom I’m friends with bought one from CL and had hubby polish the frame up and use WD40 to clean every rusty area. It looked good, but the seat and hood had lost all color (literally) and didn’t look appealing at all. He then spray painted it, and it ended up looking like what you see below:
What you need:
- Fabric paint for upholstery: Simply Spray Upholstery Fabric Paint comes highly recommended. It’s non-toxic, but the fabric might feel a little stiffer afterward. The paint is available in multiple colors, too. Get 2 bottles of this paint, 1 likely won’t be enough to paint the seat and the hood.
- Newspapers to cover areas you don’t need to spray paint.
Step #1: Clean the stroller. Here’s a good post on how to clean a baby stroller. And here’s another on how to get mold and mildew off a stroller. Then, dry off the stroller fabric in the sun or air dry it completely.
Step #2: Cover the areas that aren’t fabric with old newspapers.
Step #3: Spray the paint, keeping the bottle a reasonable distance from the fabric.
Where globs of paint instead of a real spray get onto the fabric, use napkins or your fingers to spread the glob out and work the paint into the material.
Step #4: Let the canopy and seat air dry for 72 hours. Keep the stroller in the basement or garage (I assume they’re not draughty). Replace the hood and seat.
You may find that the color starts to fade off after some time. Luckily, your tot is growing and developing and soon won’t be need the buggy any longer. But if you still need to apply a fresh coat after 2-3 months of daily rides, go ahead.
You can certainly dye or spray paint a stroller fabric. And if the frame needs some work, strip it of every detachable part. Smooth out the scratches if necessary (clean it before sanding) and after sanding. Then, mask up every area you don’t wish to spray paint, apply the paint, and let the frame to dry for 3-4 days. Finally, replace the canopy, wheels, and seat and you’re done!
I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/esther.moni/">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="https://ke.linkedin.com/in/esther-moni-3841b573/">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKcVb3NNDrURDH8C0KiAE1g/">nascent youtube channel.