Someone I know was clearing out their garage and there was this old wrought iron stand - I think it had been a table in its day, anyway, that's what I thought I could use it for. A badly needed little table to stand outside in my tiny courtyard on which I could put some plants. It was, however, very rusty and while shabby - it wasn't exactly the *shabby chic* that I had in mind.
Bear in mind, nothing ever just needs a *lick of paint* - try telling that to someone who has taken on an old house, like me, bedazzled by the estate agent's enthusiastic - it just needs a *lick of paint* - ha, ha!
Anyway, back to cleaning this wrought iron stand. Here's what you do.
You must first remove all the rusty bits and fill in the pitted areas, otherwise the rust will just come through again.
Another important tip I learned is to make sure that the primer you use and the paint are manufactured by the same company, this way you will know that they are compatible and do the job properly.
I took the frame outside and scrubbed it with a wire brush and hosed it down every so often. You really need to get in the crevices and remove all the rust. I got inventive with nail files and all kinds of things to make sure I reached every nook and cranny. This all takes time, but , really, do it right the first time.
I then brought it inside and dried it quickly with cloths (I even used a hair dryer as well) - you don't want it to stand and drip dry. I then used a putty knife to fill in all the pits and dents with an automotive dent filler. Afterwards I sanded it smoothly.
Finally, I painted it with a rust-inhibiting primer and a couple of days later I painted it with the topcoat. A high-gloss enamel is best if it is going to be standing outside.